US and Chile are big winners as Kashmir walnuts succumb to unrest

All the uncertainty and unrest in Kashmir has made the cross-continental journey of walnuts and apples from the US or Chile a better deal for many traders despite sky-high tariffs.

This is great news for US suppliers, who feared losing business as India imposed retaliatory tariffs on several commodities including walnuts and almonds after the Trump administration withdrew trade concessions for the country. Traders said imports would rise because domestic supply of walnuts has fallen by a third, while demand is strong. In the case of apples, a clear picture on the extent of supply disruption from Kashmir would emerge next month, they said.

“This year, walnut crop in the country is 30-35% less than last year’s 23,000 tonnes,” said Gunjan Jain, managing director of VKC Nuts. “The harvest from Kashmir valley was delayed and crop was even left to rot by farmers, due to supply disruptions caused by curfew-like restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir.”

High import duties of 132% on walnuts from the US and 110% for shipments from Chile will not slow down imports, as there was huge demand in the country, said Jain. “In 2018-19, we imported 6,500 tonnes of walnuts while this year from April-October, we have imported 8,000 tonnes. We will import another 8,000 tonnes till March end.”

Jain added that due to lower duty of only 33% for walnut kernel, imports were at 1,500 tonnes compared with 250 tonnes from last year.


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