“After conversations with authorities in Washington, I have come to the conclusion that the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Trade Agreement is positive for the California citrus industry,” states CCM President Joel Nelsen.
“The proposal calls for immediate reductions in tariffs on citrus entering Japan and Vietnam and sets into motion the complete elimination of tariffs within a matter of years.”
California citrus has long been disadvantaged relative to other exporters to Japan. The TPP agreement will help level the playing field. Most fresh citrus imported into the United States is subject to a tariff or 3% or less. In contrast, California citrus has been subject to tariffs of over 30% in Vietnam and Japan. Japan is one of the industry’s oldest off-shore customers and Vietnam is an emerging market.
Another area of concern for the citrus industry, as well as the broader fresh fruit and vegetable industry, has been dispute resolution language. “Most countries, and even some sectors of U.S. Agriculture, would like to establish tribunals in which our nation’s concerns would constantly be out voted. It appears though that the Administration has maintained our scientific process the integrity of protecting agriculture from invasive pests and diseases to the greatest extent possible,” says Nelsen.
“TPP will effectively lower product prices for importers and the retail customers. Optimally, these savings will be passed on to the end consumer, thereby increasing demand for CA grown citrus,” concludes Nelsen.