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India's 70% Import Duty Hits US Apple Growers Hard

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In the wake of India's steep hike in import duty of U.S. apples hitting the farmers hard, a top Republican Congressman has appealed to the Trump administration to press the Indian government to reduce the tariff to the "pre-retaliatory rates."

In a letter sent to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Rep Dan Newhouse sought to elevate Washington apple access in India by decreasing the tariffs during his talks with the Indian delegation this weekend.

India is currently imposing a 70 percent tariff on U.S. apples - 50 percent Most Favored Nation tariff in addition to the recently imposed 20 percent retaliatory tariff. India is the second largest market abroad for American apples.

Apple is one of 28 American products that were hit by India-U.S. tit-for-tat tariff hikes.

In response to the United States lifting India's designation as beneficiary developing country under the GSP program, New Delhi had imposed tariffs on 28 U.S. products including almonds and apples in June.

Trade tensions between the two countries worsened with U.S. President Donald Trump complaining that these tariffs were no longer acceptable.

Newhouse pointed out that the increased tariffs on U.S. apples will substantially impact growers, packers, employees, and the thousands of jobs they support throughout Washington state.

"Washington is the largest apple producing state in the country, totaling $2.4 billion annually, and our apple growers are shouldering significant economic losses estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars as a result of various WTO illegal retaliatory actions of India, Mexico, and the People's Republic of China," Rep. Newhouse wrote.

Lighthizer is leading the U.S. side in trade negotiations with India as part of President Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's scheduled meeting in Houston on September 22.

The two sides are reportedly expected to reach an agreement on longstanding trade issues in the meeting.

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