American fresh apple and tree nut producers could see a bigger bite out of their export business starting next month if India follows through with its threat to impose retaliatory duties in response to U.S. imported steel tariffs.
India notified the World Trade Organization back in May it planned to implement tariffs on a variety of U.S. products, including walnuts, almonds and apples, in retaliation for President Donald Trump's duties on steel and aluminum imports. India is the second-largest destination of California almonds after the European Union and one of the top overseas markets for U.S. apples.
India targeted American apples with an additional 25 percent customs duty, which when added with the existing 50 percent levy will increase the import tax to a hefty 75 percent. India also is adding a 20 percent tariff on almonds and a whopping 120 percent levy on walnuts. India's new tariffs are set to take effect Aug. 4.
It comes on the heels of Mexico last month imposing its own retaliatory tariffs of 20 percent on U.S. fresh apples and several other agricultural and food products in response to the administration's imported steel duties.
China, meantime, rolled out new 25 percent duties on July 6 on $34 billion worth of U.S. products — including soybeans, fresh apples, certain tree fruits, citrus and cherries. The move followed the 15 percent tariff levied in April on U.S. fruit, wine and certain tree nuts, such as almonds, pistachios and walnuts.