United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai’s announcement today that India agreed to remove retaliatory tariffs on walnuts, as well as additional US products, is welcome news. Trade representatives from the United States and India have been working together on a package of trade deliverables announced today during this week’s visit of India’s Prime Minister Modi for meetings with President Biden and a joint session of Congress.
“The California walnut industry has had a long-standing partnership with the India marketplace which is an integral part of the industry’s overall long term long-term strategic growth and market development plan.” said Pam Graviet, Senior Director of Global Programs for the California Walnut Commission. “Indian consumers and trade partners continue to recognize the premium quality of California walnuts and the nutritional value and great taste they bring to the Indian diet. Elimination of India’s retaliatory tariffs will benefit Indian consumers and businesses, as well as the California walnut industry,” she added.
The California walnut industry brought this ongoing issue to the attention of the Biden Administration early in the presidency and appreciate their tenacity and commitment which led to this agreement. We commend USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai and Ambassador Doug McKalip on negotiating this successful outcome for California’s walnut producers and processors. Ambassador McKalip recently visited California and had an occasion to tour walnut and almond orchards and learn firsthand the severe financial impact the 20% retaliatory tariff inflicted on the California walnut industry.
We also appreciate USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Daniel Whitley and the FAS personnel who helped the industry through this challenging period. The Market Access Program (MAP) continues to be a crucial element in enabling us to maintain our relationships in India and seek new market opportunities. We are grateful for efforts by federal, state, local elected officials, regulators, and their staff for diligently keeping this topic on the forefront of trade discussions.
Robert Verloop, the Chief Executive Officer for the California Walnut Commission said, “the California walnut growers have been severely impacted by a host of unprecedented events over the last few years; including the various trade tariffs, COVID pandemic-induced supply chain and transportation disruptions, global economic downturn, inflationary pressures, high dollar values, the complications brought on by the war in Ukraine and the persistent drought and heat wave that severely impacted our 2023 crop.”
“Tree nut growers, most of whom are multi-generational family farms, make a long-term investment in their crops. Walnut orchards can be highly productive for over 30 years; accordingly, the growers make decisions to produce the revered California walnuts with the expectations that we have fair and equitable access to global markets which represent more than 65% of our sales. The removal of this tariff is welcomed by our industry and provides a pathway to strengthening our trade relations with this important market and trading partner” added Verloop.
Ms. Graviet stated, “California walnuts are perfectly aligned to meet the global demands for more healthy, nutritious, and great tasting plant-based foods. The removal of the retaliatory tariff in India will enable our growers to help meet these demands in India. We thank our Indian trade partners and retailers for their ongoing support and commitment to California walnuts and look forward to building greater distribution and consumption of our walnuts.”