The Almond Board of California recently released the August position report that showed a sizeable decrease in almond exports from a year ago. In 2017, there were 168,566,752 pounds of almonds shipped in August. This year experienced a decrease of nearly nine percent, shipping only 154,227,371 pounds. As of August 31, the report also showed 189,498,340 pounds of crop receipts, a decline of slightly more than 12 percent from 2017.
“I believe that tariffs have a very significant role in what the almond industry is facing today,” said Almond Alliance of California President and CEO Elaine Trevino. “In China, we’re hit with a 50 percent retaliatory tariff and a 25 percent retaliatory tariff in Turkey, and of course everyone continues to watch what’s going to happen in India.”
Trevino noted that excluding Vietnam and Hong Kong, the Chinese market represents $500 million in value and Turkey is valued at roughly $147 million. “When you have those kinds of retaliatory tariffs in those markets it will have an impact,” Trevino stated.
Over the past 20 years, the almond industry has spent a considerable amount of time and money on expanding world markets. With U.S. almond exports being shipped to 100 countries around the world there is hope that other markets can help absorb the impact of the retaliatory tariffs. “Almonds are a demanded commodity and therefore I think the markets that have been open continue to grow and can hopefully assist during this difficult time,” said Trevino.
California remains in a solid position in the global market despite the tariff challenges, as the state is responsible for 80 percent of the world’s almond production. Trevino cites Australia as the next largest competitor, producing approximately seven percent of the almonds in the global market. Although Australia is preparing for significantly better trading conditions with China beginning in 2019, American almonds may still have an advantage. “That makes it difficult to compete in that market, but again it comes down to supply,” Trevino noted.