U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA), chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade, received a positive response from U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), Ambassador Katharine Tai, following his recent bipartisan push to the Biden Administration to work to create more favorable trade conditions for Georgia pecan growers and shellers in international markets. In her recent letter to Senator Warnock and the bipartisan group of lawmakers, Ambassador Tai promised to work towards a “positive outcome” on USTR efforts to grow market opportunities for Georgia pecans. She made clear that the office is aware of the growing market for Georgia pecans across the globe.
“I understand the economic importance of the Indian market to U.S. pecan growers and the challenges posed by these tariffs,” Ambassador Tai wrote to Senator Warnock and his colleagues. “The Indian market has significant potential for U.S. pecans, especially in light of India’s growing middle class and demand for consumer-oriented agricultural products…USTR will continue working to achieve a positive outcome on this issue and other barriers affecting U.S. agricultural exports.”
Georgia is a leading pecan-producing state, accounting for about one-third of total U.S. production. However, a high pecan tariff imposed by India—100% for U.S. pecans exported to the country—has severely limited Georgia pecan exports. The high tariff has resulted in few imports and consequently little revenue for the country. Without a reduction in the current tariff rate, there is little opportunity for U.S. pecan export success in this growing international market.
“India’s pecan tariff on U.S. imports is a major barrier for the U.S. pecan industry. Reducing India’s tariff on U.S. pecans has been the industry’s top priority for several years. We appreciate Senator Warnock working with Ambassador Tai to make this a priority for the U.S. Trade Representative. If this effort is successful, it could have a significant impact on the Georgia pecan industry’s future,” stated Marianne Brown, Lee County, Georgia grower and Board Member of the National Pecan Federation.
A stalwart advocate for Georgia’s pecan growers, earlier this summer, as the chair of the Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade, Senator Warnock called on his Senate colleagues to quickly consider and confirm nominees for two agricultural trade leadership positions within the administration to address trade concerns and reduce trade barriers faced by Georgia farmers. Additionally, last summer, Senator Warnock led a bipartisan push in the Senate to reduce restrictive trade barriers and expand export market access for domestic peanut farmers and processors in a letter to USDA and USTR.