First the good news. The Administration is threatening to go over the EU producers regarding the availability of very inexpensive airplane parts being made available to manufacturers to the detriment of U.S. manufacturing. Taking a page from the China profile, USTR has indicated tariffs will be placed on imported agricultural product specifically listing oranges, lemons, and mandarins as three varieties of citrus in which tariffs would be imposed. Now for the bad; in January 2018 U.S. citrus exports to China and Hong Kong were 19,687 metric tons. For January 2019 the amount exported totaled 10,740 metric tons. California citrus is the major element of citrus exports. The EU is saying “yes let’s talk about trade dynamics but agriculture cannot be part of the dialogue.” CCM says then why bother to talk? Our message to the Administration is agriculture and the EU farm programs have to be part of the dialogue otherwise they can export with support and stop imports into the European Union.
Watch the news on the Japanese dialogues. The Japanese have already agreed to an immediate tariff reduction and gradual elimination over time. The problem is they agreed to this two years ago, cut a deal with other trading partners to this effect, thereby leaving our marketers at a competitive disadvantage. CCM is seeking the same agreement but accelerated tariff reductions in order to rapidly eliminate the present disadvantage. By the way, the existing tariff on oranges arriving between December and May is 32 percent!