Policy Priorities

International Trade

One-third of the apple crop is exported each year with a value of $1 billion. Maintaining competitiveness through international trade is a top policy priority for the U.S. Apple Association and its members. While not all growers export, everyone’s prices are affected by exports, so trade is critical to the healthy future of the entire industry.

Canada, Mexico and the United States combine to make up one of the most competitive and successful regional economic platforms in the world.

Apple export sales to the two markets total nearly $450 million annually. Mexico is our largest export market, followed by Canada. USApple strongly supported and advocated for passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). We thank lawmakers for supporting this landmark agreement.

USApple Position
USApple urges fair trade policies where U.S. growers have equal access to foreign markets before the U.S. grants access to our markets. USApple supports a science-based system for decisions regarding the importation of apples into the U.S. as the best defense against allowing foreign pests or disease threats to enter this country and jeopardize U.S. apple production.

In Fiscal Year 2020, the apple industry received more than $5 million in export market development funds from the Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program (MAP). These funds are matched by grower dollars to promote apples in more than 25 countries throughout the world.

Since this program’s inception in 1986, the U.S. apple industry has expanded fresh apple exports by nearly 150 percent, due in large part to the overseas promotions made possible by MAP. U.S. fresh apple exports average about $1 billion annually.

The Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops Program (TASC) is another important tool for the industry as it helps resolve phytosanitary and technical barriers that prohibit or threaten apple exports.

The Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) plays a critical role in administering export development program such as MAP and TASC. Full funding of FAS is essential if the agency is to maintain its overseas presence and effectively administer the agency’s export efforts.

USApple Position
USApple urges Congress to maintain full funding for MAP, TASC and FAS.

With USMCA across the finish line, the Administration is turning to negotiations with China, Japan, the European Union and the United Kingdom. The future of the U.S. apple industry will be determined in large part by improved access to foreign markets through negotiation of free trade agreements with overseas customers.

The apple industry gained market access to China in 2015. Growth was almost immediate, and China quickly rose to be a top market. The imposition of retaliatory tariffs in 2018 stalled growth and resulted in market loss. The industry is optimistic that ongoing negotiations with China will result in a resumption of trade and the removal of retaliatory tariffs. Negotiations and future trade deals must consider non-tariff trade barriers, which the industry faces in many of these markets. This is true particularly in Japan, the EU and the UK.

In preliminary discussions, EU officials are prioritizing expedited access to the U.S. market for their apples and pears. USApple has raised scientific concerns with this request dating back to 2016. Of particular concern is the inclusion of Poland in the EU request. Unlike the other beneficiary countries, Poland does not currently have access to the U.S. market because a formal pest risk assessment has never been conducted. USApple conveyed these scientific concerns to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service in 2016 but never received answers.

Adding to our concerns is the fact that the EU is not a reciprocal market. USApples have extremely limited access to the market due to the EU’s hazard-based pesticide policies – which the United States and many other countries have argued represent an “unnecessary and inappropriate” divergence from science-based risk assessments. Bottom line, if we don’t have access to their market they should not be given expedited access to ours.

Free Trade Agreements
Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) are important to help increase exports of U.S. apples. The U.S. apple industry supports FTAs when they will help gain greater foreign market access for U.S. apple exports and increase export sales opportunities.