The tea leaves are not looking good presently. We have learned that China did seek to renegotiate terms of a trade agreement that had already been discussed. Headlines are accurate inasmuch CCM has been contacted by USDA regarding the trade mitigation package being extended and seeking counsel on how it could be improved. USDA is preparing for success and failure on the trade talks. In 2018 prior to the tariff increases U.S. citrus, dominated by California, was sending increased volumes to China. A comparison of 2018 vs. 2019 Jan- March time frame clearly shows the scope of impact. January: 19,687 in 2018 vs 10,740 MT in 2019. For February 22,365 vs. 9,5321MT in 2019; and for March industry exported to China and Hong Kong 27,632 MT in 2018 vs. 19,866 in 2019.
Assisting the industry in an attempt to expand other export markets CCM believes is helpful but not sufficiently helpful given existing dynamics. Stimulating demand in the domestic market to a greater degree against massive off shore imports can create a stronger foundation for selling dislocated exported quantitates. The last round of tariff increases by China did not affect California citrus.