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Apple growers in Canada have halted plans to file a formal complaint regarding the alleged dumping of U.S. apples north of the 49th parallel. Backed by the British Columbia Fruit Growers’ Association, Ontario Apple Growers, Quebec Federation of Apple Producers, and the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers’ Association, the Canadian Horticultural Council took steps in 2005 to gather material to support a claim of dumping against Washington State growers.

The complaint is now on hold.

“Market conditions changed enough for the 2005 crop year that we held off on launching anything official,” said Joe Sardinha, president of the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association. “We continue to closely monitor the situation on a crop year by crop year basis.”

Following three years of good prices, B.C. apple growers saw the average price for all varieties of apples fall to just 10 cents a pound for the 2004 crop, well below production costs estimated at between 18 and 20 cents a pound. Prices strengthened slightly for the 2005 crop, and Sardinha said prices are poised to strengthen further this year. Hailstorms in early July have cut overall crop volumes by as much as 20 percent for some packing houses. This has bolstered pricing even on older varieties such as Red Delicious and McIntosh by an average of 2.5 cents (Canadian) a pound.

“We do have some optimism, and I hope that the prices will be strong enough that we’ll be back into a profitable situation. And that transcends the [Canada-U.S.] border, too,” Sardinha said. “It’s a much more stable market when you don’t have that excess volume.”