India Finally Lifts an Apples-to-Oranges Type Tariff, and U.S. Growers are Thrilled

As of June 22, 2023, India has lifted a long-standing tariff it had clamped onto – of all things – apples imported from the United States. And as strange as this might sound at first, when you hear the history behind this tariff, you begin to understand it and why certain Americans are absolutely delighted about its being lifted.

First off, who’s most excited about this decision? Well, aside from apple farmers and distributors, The U.S. Apple Association (USApple) is applauding the work of the Trade representatives who achieved this important victory. “We were honored to be part of this important announcement for U.S.-India relations,” said USApple President and CEO, Jim Bair, adding, “With this announcement, India will remove its retaliatory tariffs within 90 days.”

Retaliatory, You Say?

If you caught that rather particular term Mr. Blair used in reference to India’s tariffs on apples, “retaliatory,” then you’re more than halfway to figuring out why this political discourse wasn’t exactly apples-to-apples.

You see, prior to India imposing tariffs on American apples, America had imposed tariffs on aluminum and steel imported from India. With domestic production of steel having dwindled over the past several decades, caused largely by cheaper imports from Asia, the produce tariff was only one of many with which the U.S. attempted in order to recoup its losses.

So Why India’s Change of Heart?

Prior to the U.S. imposing tariffs on steel and aluminum from India in 2018, the country was the number two market for U.S. apples – and quickly growing. When India retaliated by bringing total tariffs on U.S. apples to 70 percent, sales fell to nearly zero, costing U.S. growers half a billion dollars in sales, and resulting in an apple shortage in India. India is now the world’s most populous nation, with a tremendous need for fresh fruit. With this important trade resolution, U.S. growers have the opportunity to be one of their biggest apple suppliers once again.  States Bair, “We look forward to once again shipping great apples to this valued trading partner.”

Ensuring Johnny Appleseed Is Happy

The safe and effective shipping of apples begins at harvest time. Harvesting at the correct time is essential to the production of quality apples. To ensure maximum storage life, apples should be harvested when mature but not yet fully ripe.

Apples are very susceptible to bruising and other forms of damage and therefore should not be handled any more than necessary. The effects of bruising and scuffing cannot be reversed. Damage from rough handling will accelerate deterioration, reducing the value of the product.

Keep It Cool, Baby

An apple continues to live and respire even after it is picked. Although respiration cannot be halted completely, the objective of postharvest cooling is to slow the process and thus increase storage life. Even if apples are to be stored for only a short period, it is still very important that the field heat be removed from them as soon as possible. Rapid cooling will not injure the apples.

The higher the holding temperature, the greater the softening and respiration rate and the sooner the quality becomes unacceptable. Apples respire and degrade about twice as fast at 4°C as at 0°C. At 15°C they will respire and degrade more than six times faster. The optimum storage temperature for apples depends on the variety, but all are within the range from -1°C to +4°C.

And Keep Like with Like

Apples generate ethylene and should therefore not be shipped with ethylene-sensitive commodities such as bananas, beans, or broccoli. Also, apples absorb aromas from onions, garlic and potatoes. So conscientious shippers like those at Prime Fresh Handling ship these items separately.

About Prime Fresh Handling

As leaders in perishables distribution logistics and delivery of fresh produce, our clients range from apple growers and distributors to wholesale and retail outlets, hotels, and cruise ships. In addition to handling apples, PFH is the authority on reliable international shipping and handling of and temperature-sensitive commodities such as fresh cut flowers and pharmaceutical products, to vaccines and fresh and frozen fish between any point of origin and destination around the world.

Our efficient transportation and secure storage methods ensure that time-sensitive perishable products stay fresh and undamaged throughout the entire shipping process. With dedicated state-of-the-art facilities in Europe, South America, and across North America, PFH leverages industry-leading technologies such as vacuum cooling, sorting, re-packing, barcoding, labeling, and temperature and quality monitoring to guarantee consistent, safe, and fresh delivery.

In addition to Los Angeles, the company’s primary gateway cities include New York, Miami, Amsterdam, and Bogotá – all providing fast and easy access to all of the world’s major markets.

Contact Prime Fresh Handling


For information, contact PFH General Manager, West Coast: Cristina Moscoso at 323-328-8650, via email at, or visit

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