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USApple attends White House signing of U.S-China agreement

The U.S. Apple Association commended President Trump for signing the U.S.- China Phase One Trade Agreement. USApple Chairman Jeff Colombini was invited to the White House for the signing.USApple-Jeff-Colombini-White-HouseJeff Colombini

“It was a real honor for USApple to be invited by the White House to this important ceremony,” said Colombini, a third-generation California grower and president of Lodi Farming Inc. “Today’s agreement in which China is committing to large purchases of U.S. agriculture products is positive news. The U.S. apple industry very much wants to supply that market.”

The U.S. apple industry finally achieved full access to the Chinese market in 2015. Exports grew to 2.5 million boxes per year making China the apple industry’s sixth-largest export market. But, according to USApple, continued retaliatory tariffs — now at 50 percent — imposed by China on U.S. apples, on top of already existing 10 percent tariffs, preclude growers from getting back into the China market. This is a substantial concern for the industry as China was an emerging market and one the industry viewed as having significant growth potential. USApple is optimistic that today’s signing of the U.S.-China agreement will help pave the way toward removal of the tariffs.

“We congratulate the administration for negotiating and concluding this important agreement and look forward with expectation that China’s retaliatory tariffs on our apples will be removed,” said USApple President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Bair. “China doesn’t grow the new and exciting varieties we do, and we know their consumers want them, so we’re ready to roll.”

Prior to China’s retaliatory tariffs, Chinese importers were buying premium quality U.S. apples at top prices. “We were competing, and winning, with China,” continued Bair. “It was a real bright spot on the horizon. We are now hopeful that China will remove its tariffs, allowing U.S. growers to get back to doing what they do best — providing superior quality apples in a volume and range of varieties not available anywhere else.”