Cherry exports double

By:  KNDO Staff

A trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea certainly seems to be benefiting local growers.

Northwest Cherry Growers have already shipped more boxes of cherries to South Korea, than they did all of last year. In fact, exports have doubled.

Senator Maria Cantwell was in Seattle Friday discussing the impact of the Korea Free Trade Agreement, which was created March 15, 2012.

The agreement got rid of a 24 percent tariff on sweet cherries, and now exports are booming.

B.J. Thurlby, a spokesman for Washington State Fruit Commission said we're only into the first 40 days of the season, but over 350,000 boxes of cherries have already been shipped.

There is still a good month and a half left of the season.

"Last year, Korea was a $16 million market for us, and we think it's going to be closer to $25 million this year," said Thurlby. "It absolutely is having a positive effect on the cherry growers here in the Yakima Valley."

Thurlby said more than half of the shipments have come from growers in Central Washington.

He said this means more jobs and more money coming back into the region.