Rep. Austin Scott Leads Bipartisan Push to Lower India’s Tariffs on U.S. Pecans
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee, along with 34 colleagues, today sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer encouraging the Administration to prioritize reducing India’s tariffs on American pecans as trade negotiations continue.
“As you continue discussions with Prime Minister Modi’s Administration to reach a trade deal and potentially reinstate India’s Generalized System of Preference Status, we would like to stress the importance of removing existing barriers to the export of U.S. agricultural products, specifically pecans,” wrote the Members. “Lowering the tariff on pecans would provide the Indian people with more economical access to tree nut varieties, while providing a much-needed economic boost to rural America.”
U.S. Senator David Perdue (R-GA) has lead a similar bipartisan letter in the Senate with U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), James Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Below is the full text of the letter:
October 24, 2019
The Honorable Robert Lighthizer
United States Trade Representative
600 17th St NW,
Washington, DC 20006
Dear Ambassador Lighthizer:
We write to you about ongoing negotiations between the Office of the United States Trade Representative and the Government of India. As you continue discussions with Prime Minister Modi’s Administration to reach a trade deal and potentially reinstate India’s Generalized System of Preference Status, we would like to stress the importance of removing existing barriers to the export of U.S. agricultural products, specifically pecans.
As you may know, American pecan producers have faced many challenges due to rising imports from Mexico, Chinese tariffs, and Hurricane Michael’s impact on tree loss and 2018 crop production. Gaining access to new markets for pecans will help ease the pain while orchards are replanted and a trade deal is negotiated with China.
The growing middle class in India has demonstrated its desire for consumer-oriented agricultural products, like tree nuts, and the Indian market represents one of the most dynamic and fastest growing in the world. Unfortunately, the current high tariff (36 percent) that India charges on pecan imports makes it difficult for American producers to compete in this important market. In contrast, we understand that the current Indian tariffs on U.S. pistachios and almonds is much lower (10 percent), which highlights how disproportionately high the pecan tariff is. Lowering the tariff on pecans would provide the Indian people with more economical access to tree nut varieties, while providing a much-needed economic boost to rural America.
The pecan industry contributes over $3.57 billion to the economies of the 15 pecan producing states in the United States. Over the last ten years, exports alone have pumped an additional $1.25 billion in economic activity into rural America. Reducing trade barriers into India is an opportunity to strengthen the economy of rural America.
Thank you for your work to expand access for American agricultural products around the world.
U.S. Representative Austin Scott (R-GA-08)
U.S. Representative Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-GA-02)
U.S. Representative Filemon Vela (D-TX-34)
U.S. Representative Jodey C. Arrington (R-TX-19)
U.S. Representative David Scott (D-GA-13)
U.S. Representative Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (D-GA-04)
U.S. Representative Trent Kelly (R-MS-01)
U.S. Representative Rob Woodall (R-GA-07)
U.S. Representative Tom Cole (R-OK-04)
U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-AL-03)
U.S. Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-FL-02)
U.S. Representative A. Drew Ferguson, IV D.M.D. (R-GA-03)
U.S. Representative Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA-01)
U.S. Representative Jody Hice (R-GA-10)
U.S. Representative Rick W. Allen (R-GA-12)
U.S. Representative Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX-15)
U.S. Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL-01)
U.S. Representative Rick Crawford (R-AR-01)
U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham, M.D. (R-LA-05)
U.S. Representative Greg Stanton (D-AZ-09)
U.S. Representative Will Hurd (R-TX-23)
U.S. Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK-02)
U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04)
U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (D-N.M.-01)
U.S. Representative Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08)
U.S. Representative Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.-02)
U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ-02)
U.S. Representative Michael Guest (R-MS-03)
U.S. Representative TJ Cox (D-CA-21)
U.S. Representative Steven Palazzo (R-MS-04)
U.S. Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK-03)
U.S. Representative Lance Gooden (R-TX-05)
U.S. Representative John Ratcliffe (R-TX-04)
U.S. Representative K. Michael Conaway (R-TX-11)
U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28)