Fruit importing firm IG International expects US apple imports to fall by 70 percent after India announced a hike in customs duties on the fruit.
In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Tarun Arora, director at IG Group of Companies, said, "The US is the second largest producer of apples and we do not grow as many apples in India. For Q1 and Q2, we do not have enough apples ourselves so we used to bring it from the US."
He said, "We are trying to reallocate that volume to Europe and some of the other southern hemisphere countries like Chile. However, the problem is they do not have enough or it will probably increase the overall price by 20-30 percent on apples is what we are forecasting."
Earlier, India announced a hike in customs duties on as many as 28 US products, including almond, apple, pulses and walnut, in response to higher tariffs imposed by Washington on Indian products like steel and aluminium.
India imported a record 7.8 million 40-pound boxes of the fine quality 2017 Washington state apple crop as of mid-June last year. India would ultimately pass Canada as Washington's No. 2 export market, reaching 8 million boxes by the season's end, it said. Currently, Mexico is the No. 1 export market.
However, India had imported far fewer boxes of the 2018 crop. As of June 15, Washington state had shipped about 2.6 million boxes to India. It is expected to slow down even more with India slapping a 20 percent retaliatory tariff on apples, bringing the total duty to 70 percent.