Mark Powers, Northwest Horticultural Council

India is already a major success story for Washington fruit exporters, but we’ve still got some work to do to reduce tariffs and trade barriers against our apples, pears and cherries. Without a reduction in India’s high tariff rates on tree fruit, our growers won’t be able to realize the full potential of the Indian marketplace.

 India is already the #3 export market for Washington apples. Yet the average Indian only eats about one apple a month! That’s very low by global standards and we know we can do better. Imagine what we could do if Washington apples weren’t subject to a 50 percent import duty?

 Indian consumers are longing for more top-quality produce. The Indian middle class has grown to 250 million, and they are seeking the world-class tree fruit that Washington grows. Our 4 million boxes of apple exports to India was a record last year, more than double the year before. Washington orchards are India’s favorite suppliers of imported apples, so we’ve already won that battle against our foreign competitors.

 Now it’s time to expand our reach to more Indian families by making Washington apples, pears and cherries more affordable – and that means reducing tariffs and trade barriers. Our upcoming discussions with key Indian government and business leaders will offer another critical opportunity to deliver our message on the taste, nutrition and quality of Washington tree fruit.

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