Cherry Growers in 2020 Pt 2

Cherry Growers in 2020 Pt 2

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today’s Fruit Grower Report, I’m Bob Larson. After the signing of the USMCA and Phase-One China agreement, some say their trade vision for ag in the new year could be as good as 2020.

Northwest Cherry Growers president BJ Thurlby says USMCA brings much needed certainty to our relationship with Mexico and Canada, but China is less certain …

THURLBY … “On a good year, maybe 15-20 percent of our fruit might go to China, and this is prior tariff. So, now with the tariffs, it’s really a challenge because there’s only so many people in China that can buy $12-per-pound sweet cherries, which is once you get the tariff on them, and then you try to sell them at retail, I mean that’s where we’re at.”

So, Thurlby says we’ll see …

THURLBY … “You know, movement the last two years here has been stagnant. That would be a polite way of saying it, so when we saw this new Phase-One situation we were wondering what really was going to happen there. And, I’ve been on the phone with Washington D.C. in the last several days and what’s really going on there is it’s focusing on a lot of other areas outside of agriculture.”

Bottom line, Thurlby says it really comes down to one thing …

THURLBY … “Right now, what we’re waiting for and what we’re hoping to hear, and I think this is kind of the case with all of agriculture, but certainly with tree fruit grown in our neck of the woods, is we need to hear the words “the tariffs are gone” and when we hear that then we are going to be, you know, I think really in a good position.”

In the meantime, Thurlby says China is finding less expensive fruit from other parts of the world.

He hopes to see the tariffs lifted by June.

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