SPOKANE — China has its sights set on exporting its fruit to the United States. And that’s OK with growers in Washington, who harvest the bulk of America’s apple crop.
Having the world’s No. 1 apple producer as a competitor may seem counterintuitive, but growers say opening U.S. borders to Chinese apples means American farmers should in turn be able to get a foothold in the country’s lucrative and growing market.
“We need to export apples,” said Mark Powers, vice president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, a Yakima-based group that handles trade disputes for apple growers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.
The Chinese consume most of their nation’s apple harvest, and the expanding market there is particularly attractive to growers in the Northwest because the U.S. already produces more apples than Americans can eat.
Washington grew a record crop of 129 million bushels last year.