Imported American fruit and nuts are becoming particularly prominent in Indian retail stores and households as the trade promotion arms of American growers of apples, almonds, walnuts and pears step up efforts to sell more American produce in India.
India is among the top three export markets for US apples and California almonds. As such, the demand for such produce has remained strong in India, especially among middle-income households.
However, in June 2019, India imposed retaliatory tariffs on 28 items imported from the US, including almonds, apples and walnuts because of duty hikes by the US on steel and aluminium exports from India. Additional duty on shelled almonds was up 20%, while that on imported American apples was up 25%.
This has led to a dip in the imports of these items. India imported almonds worth $701 million in 2019, down 8.8% from a year ago. It imported apples worth $59.1 million in the same year, a 64% drop, while walnut imports fell to $14.2 million.
The US wants India to remove these tariff hikes as part of the limited trade deal that both sides are negotiating.
However, it is to be seen whether the two countries reach any conclusive trade agreements. This is particularly so as US trade representative Robert Lighthizer will not be part of Donald Trump’s delegation to India. However, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross is part of the delegation that is set to arrive on 24 February.
According to livemint.com, the visit comes at a time when trade bodies representing American fruits and nuts growers have stepped up efforts to promote the produce in India.