Cantwell and U.S. Trade Representative Agree to Work Together to End Retaliatory Tariffs Harming WA Apple Growers

WA apple exports to India have fallen from $120M in 2019 to barely $3M in 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Yesterday, at a U.S. Senate Committee on Finance hearing about President Biden's 2023 Trade Policy Agenda, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) secured a commitment from U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai to work together on solutions to revive tree fruit exports from the State of Washington to India.

The tree fruit industry has suffered significant losses due to retaliatory tariffs implemented by India in 2019. Before the tariffs, India was Washington’s number two apple export market, valued at $120 million annually. In 2022, growers exported barely $3 million worth of Washington apples.

During a question and answer session with Ambassador Tai, Sen. Cantwell noted that in a congressional delegation visit to India in February, she raised the tariff issue directly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“To my great interest, [Modi] said the U.S. and India should consider a Free Trade Agreement,” Sen. Cantwell told Tai. “So I hope that you could respond and [say] what you think we should do next … The retaliatory tariff environment is hurting our farm economy and we need relief.”

“Senator Cantwell, I agree with you entirely,” Tai responded. “I have ideas that my team and I are working on, we would like to follow up with you. ... Thank you for the work that you have done here. I look forward to continuing to partner with you, whether tag teaming or doing things even more jointly to improve this situation.”

In January, Sen. Cantwell and U.S. Representative Kim Schrier (WA-08) led the entire Washington state Congressional delegation in a letter to Ambassador Tai and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo requesting help in getting the tariffs removed.

In February, Sen. Cantwell was part of a delegation of nine U.S. Senators who visited India and met with Prime Minister Modi.

In June 2022, President Biden signed Sen. Cantwell’s Ocean Shipping Reform Act, to provide the Federal Maritime Commission with effective tools to crack down on exorbitant fees that hike up shipping costs for Washington exporters.