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CONGRESSMAN BISHOP FIGHTS FOR PECAN INDUSTRY

By   /   September 18, 2013  /   Comments

Special to the Journal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, stood in support of Georgia’s pecan industry in regards to unfair tariff discrepancies. In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, Congressman Bishop called for fair pricing of pecan imports from the United States to India.

“There is a disturbing discrepancy between import tariff rates which have been applied by India to various tree nuts. U.S. growers have visited India, met with potential buyers and participated in trade shows, yet they continue to find the current tariff rate a major barrier to U.S. pecans entering India,” wrote Congressman Bishop. “As part of the upcoming discussions with India’s Prime Minister, I would be grateful for your efforts to urge India to lower their import tariff rates on U.S. pecans. With lower rates, India could be as important of a market for U.S. pecans as China.”

“The opportunity to export pecans to India with a reduced tariff could contribute millions of dollars to the rural economy of Georgia and the other 14 pecan producing states,” said Randy Hudson, President of the Georgia Pecan Growers Association.

Commercially produced in 15 states, pecans are the only native tree nut grown in the United States. Approximately 80% of the world’s pecan production is located in the United States. U.S. growers produced 125,000 tons of pecans in 2011, with almost half the U.S. market exported to other countries. Congressman Bishop’s district, the Second Congressional District of Georgia, is the largest pecan producing Congressional District in the nation.

To view the letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, please click here.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

The Honorable Michael Froman
United State Trade Representative
600 17th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20508

Dear Ambassador Froman:

As the Member of Congress representing the largest pecan-producing Congressional District in the United States, I would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention a major problem facing American pecan growers with respect to trade with India.

There is a disturbing discrepancy between import tariff rates which have been applied by India to various tree nuts. Other U.S. tree nuts, such as almonds and pistachios, enter India at a tariff rate of 10 percent or less, while U.S. pecans face a tariff rate of 36.26 percent. U.S. growers have visited India, met with potential buyers and participated in trade shows, yet they continue to find the current tariff rate a major barrier to U.S. pecans entering India. The industry believes that the potential for U.S. pecan exports to India compare to our current pecan exports to China which totaled over 22,000 tons in 2011. With an annual growth in GDP of 8.5 percent and a rising middle class, India represents to the pecan industry a very large potential market.

As you may be aware, pecans are the only native tree nut grown in the United States and are produced commercially in 15 states. Approximately 80% of the world’s pecan production is located in the United States. U.S. growers produced 125,000 tons of pecans in 2011, with almost half the U.S. market exported to other countries. Our pecan growers have successfully used the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program to expand exports, especially to China, which is currently the largest foreign market for U.S. pecans.

As part of the upcoming discussions with India’s Prime Minister, I would be grateful for your efforts to urge India to lower their import tariff rates on U.S. pecans. With lower rates, India could be as important of a market for U.S. pecans as China.

With warmest personal regards, I remain,

Sincerely,

Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.
Member of Congress

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