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Hawaii fruit and nut exports could be impacted by Chinese tariffs

The tariffs announced by China earlier this month will possibly affect more than $9 million in fruit and nut exports from Hawaii. The Chinese government in early April announced tariffs on a slate of products including pork, fruit, nuts and others.

In total, the targeted imports are worth $3 billion. Farmers in the U.S. sent close to $20 billion worth of goods to China last year. China is Hawaii’s second-largest export partner behind Australia, according to Christine Hirasa, special advisor to the director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. describes how the state exported $124.3 million worth of merchandise to China in 2017 and $340.1 million worth of merchandise to Australia. But Hirasa said most of the exports to China consist of products brought to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland before being exported to China.

“The impact might be on the $9.4 million export of fruit and nuts which are likely produced in Hawaii,” Hirasa said. Unshelled macadamia nuts and fresh papayas are both among the state’s top 25 export commodities, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Both products are also on a list that details which commodities are targeted for tariffs.

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