A trade war that started with tariffs on steel and aluminum soon moved to other commodities. Last week, Washington apple growers got a break from the politics. Marcus Bellissimo reports.
Just as local apple producers are cheering the end of tariffs on exports to Mexico, cherry growers in the region got a boost from Congress.
Washington’s Senator Maria Cantwell and Representative Dan Newhouse included a provision in a large disaster-relief and supplemental budget bill to give more cherry growers access to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Facilitation Program.
Cantwell said it should help about 2,500 cherry growers in the Northwest and the thousands of jobs they support.
China is the number one market for Washington state sweet cherries, and the industry has faced multiple rounds of retaliatory tariffs.
Washington cherry sales to China dropped from 3.2 million cartons in 2017 to 1.6 million cartons in 2018. Some estimate that tariffs cost the state cherry growers between $60 and 80 million in lost profits.
In August last year, the Trump administration announced a $12 billion Trade Aid Package for agricultural producers impacted by retaliatory tariffs – but did not include sweet cherries in the package.
The U.S.D.A. said it will provide an additional $16 billion to assist farmers impacted by the retaliatory tariffs.