almond trees in spring

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California Almond Growers Brace For Fallout From Chinese Tariffs

KCBS Radio Morning News
July 30, 2018 - 9:53 am
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(KCBS Radio) - California almond growers are expecting a massive harvest this year, but many farmers fear they'll be among the casualties of the trade war with China. 

 

Almonds are expected to be one of the industries hardest hit by China's retaliatory tariffs on American exports. President Trump imposed $34 billion of tariffs on Chinese products after voicing displeasure about the consistent American trade deficit. 

"We (California) produce about 82 percent of the global production of almonds. And we export about 70 percent of that to Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Europe," said Richard Waycott, the President and CEO of the Almond Board of California. 

The price of California almonds has fallen by more than 10 percent in the past two months, according to the Wall Street Journal, reflecting expectations of steep tariffs that will drive up the price of nuts by 50 percent. 

Waycott said he can't predict what will happen next. "What we see is a general uncertainty developing in the marketplace, where buyers are just a little bit shy in terms of wanting to commit. That translates into our industry not having the commitments - especially for the new crop, which we're starting to harvest next week." 

What's concerning, said Waycott, is "that it's not clear how we're going to achieve the objectives the administration has stated, and how quickly they'll come about."

China is one of the largest importers of U.S. almonds, but buyers there are now increasingly looking at Australia and Africa as sources.

Reported by: Jennifer Hodges

Written by: Diana Shook