Canadian producers fear U.S. will flood market following Chinese tariffs


MONTREAL — Canadian fruit growers fear that U.S. produce destined for China may be diverted closer to home and flood their market following the imposition of new tariffs.

Ontario Apple Growers general manager Kelly Ciceran says the 15 per cent tariff on fruit such as apples, cherries, peaches, raspberries and cranberries will likely lead to more U.S. produce hitting Canadian stores, putting pressure on prices.

The Chinese government announced Monday tariffs ranging between 15 and 25 per cent on 128 items, including fruit, nuts, pork, wine, steel pipe and aluminum scrap in retaliation for an estimated US$3 billion in U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum.

Ciceran says prices will depend on how much of savings are passed on to consumers by retailers.

The Winery and Grower Alliance of Ontario CEO Aaron Dobbin says there may be an opportunity for some Canadian wine to be sold to China, but additional U.S. wine could also be shipped to Canada.

He says the United States has a $450-million trade surplus with Canada on wine and is always looking to increase its market share.

The Canadian Pork Council says producers aren’t expecting a big impact from the 25 per cent Chinese tariffs because there is a lot of pork available around the world.

Executive director John Ross says tariffs could change flows of exports but is unlikely to have an impact on prices.

He adds that fresh Canadian pork isn’t currently permitted into China and some cuts of meat favoured in that country, such as pig feet, aren’t very popular with Canadian consumers.

The Canadian Press