The USDA has purchased over 450,000 boxes of California table grapes, worth over $10 million. The measure is aimed at softening the effects of the current trade war with China, which has led to the Asian giant increasing tariffs on a range of US imports, including a 53% levy on fresh grapes. Export volumes of California grapes to China are down 42%, while, in value terms, they have fallen 41% compared to 2017, according to USDA data.
President of the California Table Grape Commission, Kathleen Nave, said, “The tariffs on table grapes have been painful but the real harm has been caused by the fact that tariffs on multiple competing commodities, such as cherries, stone fruits, and apples, caused more fruit of all kinds to be sold in the domestic market. The USDA purchasing program comes at a good time for table grape growers and is appreciated.”
The government will distribute the purchased grapes to food banks and other food programmes around the country from December.