Washington Apple Commission signs import deal with Indonesia

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The import agreement could be a precursor to Indonesian compliance with a World Trade Organization ruling and improved trade.

CAPITAL PRESS – DAN WHEAT – WENATCHEE, Wash. — The Washington Apple Commission has signed an agreement on Indonesian imports that may lead to improved trade relations.

The commission agreed to support imports through promotional activities to help expand sales, and the Indonesian Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exporter and Importer Association confirmed its desire to import a range of varieties and sizes of Washington apples throughout the year.

The agreement is effective for three years and was signed July 24 in Washington, D.C.

Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council in Yakima, said the agreement was an outcome of Indonesian and U.S. trade talks last week in Washington, D.C. He said the talks involves other commodities but that the apple portion could result in Indonesia complying with a December 2016 World Trade Organization ruling against Indonesia’s trade restrictions on U.S. apples. If that happens, a current several month Indonesian ban on U.S. apples could end, he said.

Indonesia has become more restrictive in recent years and has gone from three- to four-month bans to closures approaching six months, he said.

Washington sold 1.1 million, 40-pound boxes of apples to Indonesian customers this year from the 2017 crop, down from 1.5 million boxes from the 2016 crop. That’s been the typical range since 2012. In 1996 it was 4 million. Exports could easily be 2.5 million to 3 million boxes without restrictions, Apple Commission President Todd Fryhover has said.

“There is a long-standing history between these markets. The agreement to continue this relationship is an act of cooperation and it was an effort by both parties to establish a strong future of trade,” said Rebecca Lyons, Apple Commission international marketing director, in Wenatchee.

Washington produces more than 90 percent of U.S. apple exports and the commission promotes Washington apples in overseas markets.

Posted by: Dan Wheat, Capital Press, Published on July 30, 2018 9:40AM, Last changed on July 30, 2018 11:50AM

Picture: Dan Wheat/Capital Press File

Yolanda Penaloza loads trays with Red Delicious apples at Valicoff Fruit Co., Wapato, Wash., in 2016. Red Delicious traditionally sell well in Indonesia but import restrictions have hampered sales.