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 2014. 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. Similarly, India had risen to the number two export market prior to the imposition of retaliatory tariffs. Trade with India has dropped considerably, and the impact is being felt throughout the industry.
In discussions with officials in the Obama, Trump and Biden Administrations, EU officials have consistently prioritized expedited access to the U.S. market for their apples and pears. USApple has raised scientific concerns with this request. 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 satisfactory answers.
Adding to our concerns is the fact that the EU is not a reciprocal market. U.S. apples 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.
In FY 2022, the apple industry received nearly $6 million in export market development funds from the USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP). These funds
are matched by grower dollars to promote apples in more than 25 countries throughout the world and have expanded fresh apple exports by nearly 150
The Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) plays a critical role in administering export development programs such as MAP.
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.