Skip to main content

Almond Byte, May 2023: Tariff Impacts, Transportation Update, Decree 248

Highlights from the May 2023 Global Update from the Global Technical and Regulatory Affairs team at the Almond Board of California.


Economic Impact Analysis of Retaliatory Tariffs on Exports of California Almonds

California almond exporters have been increasingly frustrated about favorable tariff conditions for Australian almonds while U.S almonds continue to suffer under retaliatory tariffs. Australia has a free trade agreement with China, reduced tariff treatment with India, and may soon have a zero tariff going into the E.U. Dr. Steinbach of UC Davis, using demand elasticity analysis, concluded that retaliatory tariffs cost the U.S. almond industry almost $875 million in exports or more than 325 million pounds of shipments between April 2018 and April 2022. He estimated that the withdrawal of retaliatory tariffs imposed by China, India, and Turkey could increase U.S. almond exports by about $175 million or 90 million pounds annually.

Recently, ABC analyzed trade data to determine the impacts of retaliatory tariffs in key markets combined with Australian trade advantages. Based on that analysis, it was determined that if US market share had stayed the same before the implementation of retaliatory tariffs in China, India, and Turkey in 2018, and Australia’s trade agreements with China and India, the value of US almond exports to those countries from 2018-2022 would have been higher by more than $550 million equating to an additional volume of 155 million pounds. This analysis will be summarized into a white paper that will be shared with policymakers for ABC’s annual trip to DC coming up in June. For more info, please contact Keith Schneller.

Transportation Update

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union negotiations continue with the two sides announcing a tentative agreement on a number of significant issues. However, there are still issues that will need to be resolved before a deal is signed. Additionally, dock workers at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach continue to undertake “job actions”, including those leading to a previous shutdown of the ports for a few shifts. There may also be separate negotiations underway with ILWU Local 13 (LA/LB) with the Local seeking to double the manning on container handling equipment. The uncertainty of the situation continues to cause consternation among importers as more and more shift operations to the East Coast. However, there is optimism that the sides are inching closer to a deal, and many of the imports are expected to return to West Coast ports.

The California Air Resources Board unanimously approved a new rule to phase out sales of diesel-powered medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2036. This is the first such combustion-truck sales ban in the world. Drayage vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICE) that are on the road now can continue to operate through their “useful life.” Those limits mean that when a drayage truck hits 800,000 miles, it can no longer be listed in the registry of drayage vehicles. The alternative is if it reaches 18 years after its model year, even if it has not reached 800,000 miles. The Advanced Clean Trucks rule aims to reduce California's GHG emissions by 40 percent and reduce petroleum use by 50 percent by 2030. Please contact Brock Densel.

China Facility Registration Update

On April 14, FDA resumed managing the General Administration of Customs China’s (GACC) CIFER portal for U.S. facility registrations and has helped clear the CIFER queue of several handlers’ change requests. These were waiting for FDA review before moving them on to GACC for final review and approval. An estimated 15 of the 70 handlers initially approved by GACC at the end of December 2021 still need to upload mandatory documents in CIFER in order to finalize their accounts. Firms have until the end of June 2023 or risk being delisted. ABC continues to explore ways to help those “new” companies waiting to register their facilities so they can also export products to China. Be sure to confirm that any products being shipped to China are included under your facility’s GACC account. If not, the shipments will not be cleared without the inclusion of the specific product under your account which can take days or weeks to finalize.

Please note GACC sent out a notice recently warning facilities from registering on “fake” online portals. It seems there are many companies offering assistance to register, but the only official portal is USDA’s most recent update on Decree 248 is here. For more info, please contact Keith Schneller.