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Duties make US date suppliers less competitive in international market

Dates seeing a solid season

A healthy supply in dates is leading to a pick up in both sales and prices this season. “Supply is very good,” says Michael Sullivan, of Doral, Fl.-based Agricultural Marketing Services, Inc. “The weather was perfect for date-growing season so the volume and quality are excellent. I’d say supply is up about 20 per cent.” 

Strong pricing
Pricing is equally good for dates, notes Sullivan. “We had an increase this year on a 5 kilo box for example by a few dollars. It’s a $2 increase,” he says. Agricultural’s client base is largely Europe with Germany and Switzerland having the most demand. “Our sales are up about 10 per cent,” he says. “And there are some promotions for Christmastime and we’ve actually had to fly dates to cover the increase of these promotions. We ship mainly by sea.” 

The price of duties 
That said, U.S date suppliers are still contending with a heavy issue: duties attached to importing dates. “It’s just a very competitive market in Europe and we’re at a disadvantage against other countries who supply dates because of the duties that we have to pay. It’s about $4-$4.50 a box as duty,” Sullivan says. “And competition is coming mostly from Israel where they don’t have any duty.”

For more information:
Michael Sullivan
Agricultural Marketing Services, Inc. 
Tel: 305-591-2331

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