India has formally removed retaliatory tariffs on some U.S. farm products that made commodities such as almonds and walnuts from California less competitive.
Duties on almonds, walnuts, apples, chickpeas and lentils were lifted Sept. 6.
The tariffs were eliminated two days before President Joe Biden’s meeting last week with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the Group of 20 economic summit in New Delhi.
The Almond Board of California applauded removal of the duties.
“We are very happy to see the retaliatory tariffs removed, which will both help increase demand in India and reduce the cost to consumers there,” said Julie Adams, the almond board’s vice president of technical and regulatory affairs.
“The almond industry has been working hard along with government officials to reduce the impediments for exports of California almonds to India,” she added.
Tariffs on American goods increase the price that importers pay, making U.S. products more expensive for consumers abroad.
The higher value of the dollar also has hurt U.S. exporters. With grower prices for almonds and walnuts on a downward trend in recent years, India’s repeal of the retaliatory tariffs provides U.S. exporters improved access to a key market.
India remains a top export destination for California agricultural products, including tree nuts, cotton, dairy and processing tomatoes. The state shipped $1.03 billion worth of farm exports to India in 2021, according to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Valued at $854 million in 2021, almond exports to India represent 46% of all U.S. agricultural exports, according to the almond board.
In her statement, Adams said the almond board will “continue to discuss further opportunities to improve export conditions related to tariffs and technical barriers.”
India imposed 20% retaliatory tariffs on certain U.S. agricultural products in 2019 in response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on steel and aluminum.
Contacted for comment on the duties being lifted, the California Walnut Commission shared its June 22 announcement on the then-pending removal of the tariffs.
In a statement, Pam Graviet, the commission’s senior director of global programs, said India remains “an integral part of the industry’s overall long-term strategic growth and market development plan.”
“Indian consumers and trade partners continue to recognize the premium quality of California walnuts and the nutritional value and great taste they bring to the Indian diet,” Graviet said. “Elimination of India’s retaliatory tariffs will benefit Indian consumers and businesses, as well as the California walnut industry.”