The pits: How the US tariff job prohibited imported flowering cherries

The pits: How the US tariff job prohibited imported flowering cherries

BEIJING (Reuters) – For the public relations officer, Rachel Li, the top dollar was not paid for “beautiful” cherries imported from the United States.

Cherry worker makes sorting at logistics base in Zibo, Shandong province, China June 3, 2019. Picture taken June 3, 2019. REUTERS / Stringer

“I heard they are full of iron,” said the 33-year-old age-old in Guangzhou, “I feel it's healthy, luxurious eating eating them.” Or did it, that until Beijing hooked high-sky tariffs on US cherries and importers, leaving unexpected store shelves and consumers like Li trying to set different fruit.

Across China's metropolises, the desire of a growing middle-class for state-of-the-art cherries is now significantly new to a symbolic accident of a trade battle, the Chinese branch-carbon with the United States. A firm has grown to nearly $ 200 million in 2017 since zero in 2000 has fallen to more than a tenth of its peak peak, reflecting customs data.

With imported tariffs for US cherries set at 50%, Beijing has mitigated regulations that allow imports from Central Asia – a region that happens directly as an integral part of an infrastructure project 'Belt and Road & # 39; President Xi Jinping, an interdepartmental initiative worth hundreds of billions. dollars.

“It is timely for China to do the fiddle with those people and do so in a way that takes economic connections and offers a new market for partners 'Belt and Road',” Even Pay said, analysts senior agriculture company in Beijing Chinese policy.

Ministry of Commerce of China did not immediately respond to fax was seeking traffic.

May was the last month for which figures were available at the time of writing, usually the first month in China's imported cherry season. Uzbekistan supplies went to almost half of the total in May, and the Reuters calculations, from zero in the previous year, showed that the US share of the imported cherry pipe went to 38% from almost 80%. May 2018 – and a monopoly in May. 2017.

However, imports of total cherries into China have decreased by volume due to US shipment: an 187 disaster in May 2019, compared to 337 tonnes in May 2018 and 1,505 tonnes in May 2017.

Uzbek cherry sells at about 70-80 yuan per kilogram (kg) at retail level, according to four fruit traders, not more than half of 160 yuan ($ 23.28) per kg said Rachel Li that she remembers her happily for her sweet US cherries.

No matter the price, however, the amounts being shipped are so small that said she didn't see imported cherries for weeks. Reuters was searching for U cherries at a supermarket and smaller groceries in central Shanghai on a recent week's void.


For Victor Wang, Chinese representative of Cherry Northwest Growers, he is now trying to keep one above the water.

Wang said he had taken 17 years of government marketing and lobbying to help s.S. Some of the most popular results in China are made – at one time their suppliers were exporting more to China than across the border to Canada. But it all changed in 2018, when two rounds of Chinese tariffs contributed 40 percentage points to import charges.

“With such large costs after tariff tariffs, and strengthening the impact of dollars, the market cannot be developed – we now keep it better,” said Wang.

Wang said, making life more difficult, the society is struggling to announce US results this year. He said there were many partners in Chinese media and businesses, including the Alibaba e-commerce giant of China (BABA.N), they refused to provide cover or run promotion.

Alibaba confirmed that the promotion of cherry U. but he rejected any proposal relating to tension U.-China. He stated that the reason for this was “market related factors”, including seasons, holidays and unspecified business opportunities.

“There is no speculation attached to the current unjust geopolitical climate,” the retailer said in a statement sent to Reuters.

(For graphic on Chinese cherry Imports by origin, May 2017-2019 'click


Just as US supplies failed, the need for cherries from Belt and Road 's partners, Uzbekistan and Turkey, has eased the pre – shipment pre – shipment treatment before 21 days, making exports easier. by allowing redemption as a pest control measure.

That opened a trading window that was not lost to businessmen as Zhu Jianfeng, general manager of Zhejiang Fishing E-Commerce Commercial, said he has been investing in unspecified projects in Uzbekistan for years and that “have very close ties. ”With the town government.

For the first time this year, Zhu company imported 300 tons of cherries from Uzbekistan, with plans to increase the amount to 5,000-10,000 tons in 2020.

Zhu acknowledged that Uzbekistan had a lack of processing technology, saying that the cherries were sent in air and had a shelf life of up to five days; In contrast, US cherry lasts for up to two weeks when transported by air. Zhu said that he intended to help upgrade the Uzbek industry by increasing investment in production lines.

Back in Guangzhou, Rachel Li said that she wants to health and luxury to change three fruits from cherries to avocados. While market data suggests that she is likely to buy from Peru, Li said she had stopped to pay close attention to where the results were.

Reporting by Yawen Chen and Shivani Singh; Additional reporting at Beijing Newsroom; Edited by Kenneth Maxwell


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