Jeff Colombini, a prominent California grower and board member of USApple, expressed deep concerns over growing trade tensions initiated by the Trump administration.
He spoke at a press event organized by Farmers for Free Trade. Colombini was Good Fruit Grower‘s Grower of the Year in 2013.
President Trump has talked of a trade war with China and of ending the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Here’s the release from USApple:
Acampo, Calif. (April 26, 2018)—Speaking today on behalf of the U.S. Apple Association (USApple), California grower and USApple Secretary Jeff Colombini
Jeff Colombini. Image courtesy of USApple.said escalating trade tensions will only hurt U.S. agriculture producers. Speaking at a press event in Acampo, Calif., alongside other California growers and state agriculture leaders, Colombini discussed the importance of maintaining the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and duty-free access to the Chinese market.
“NAFTA is critical to the economic health of both the California and U.S. apple industries,” said Colombini, president of Lodi Farming, Inc., located in the northern San Joaquin Valley.“Under the agreement, the apple industry has quadrupled its exports to Mexico and doubled its exports to Canada with combined purchases of nearly $450 million per year.”
According to USApple, growers have benefitted greatly under NAFTA. Prior to the agreement, Mexico imposed a 20 percent tariff on U.S. apple imports. Now, with duty free access, Mexico is the U.S. apple industry’s largest export market, followed by Canada. Maintaining NAFTA without interruption, including current dispute resolution provisions, is a top priority for USApple.
Colombini also spoke about the impact of China’s retaliatory tariffs on agriculture commodities, including a 15 percent tariff on U.S. apples.