Washington growers caught in crossfire of Trump tariffs

SEATTLE — Mexico slapped Washington-grown apples with a 20 percent tariff today in retaliation for President Trump's tariff on imported steel. The president of the Washington State Apple Commission said 80 percent of this year's crop has already been sold but the tariff will affect the remainder.

"I think in principle what we are going to see is the remaining crop is going to be affected with lower prices," said Todd Fryhover.

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Fryhover said Mexico is their largest export market, worth upwards of $215 million.

Washington potato growers are victims, too. Much of Washington's crop is turned into frozen French fries, which now also have a Mexican tariff of 20 percent.

Washington is the nation's third-largest exporter of agricultural products.

"It brings in about $10 billion in revenue on an annual basis," said Washington State Agriculture Department spokesman Hector Castro.

So as President Trump raises tariffs on U.S. trading partners. Washington state is an easy target as our trading partners look for places to retaliate.

Governor Inslee responded, "We wish Mexico had not taken those actions, but we wish we had an administration that would work together with the world rather than causing losses in our agricultural community."

Washington's growers hope the trade war will be short.

"Obviously, we're free traders we depend upon export a third of our product travels to 60 countries around the world including Mexico and Canada. So, as we approach this new crop year, a return to a zero tariff would be beneficial to our industry," Fryhover said.