Washington state’s bipartisan U.S. Congress delegation is asking federal representatives to improve apple trade conditions with India.

Timed to coincide with a trade forum in Washington, D.C., between the world’s two largest democracies, the state’s federal lawmakers sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, asking them to seek the removal or reduction of India’s tariffs on apples.

India once was Washington’s No. 2 apple export market, worth $120 million annually, according to the letter. During the 2021–22 season, that dropped to $3 million. 

“The damage inflicted by the retaliatory tariffs on tree fruit growers, their employees and communities is clear, and a solution is long overdue,” said the letter, released by Kim Schrier, an Issaquah Democrat.

India levies a total tariff of 70 percent on U.S. apple shipments. The country had a long-standing 50 percent tariff but added an additional 20 percent in 2019 as retaliation for then-President Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum. Those are also still in place.

by Ross Courtney