KAILUA-KONA — More than $9 million in fruit and nut exports from Hawaii could be affected by tariffs announced by China earlier this month.
The Chinese government in early April announced tariffs on a slate of products including pork, fruit, nuts and others, according to the Associated Press.
All total, the targeted imports are $3 billion. Farmers in the U.S. sent close to $20 billion worth of goods to China last year, with pork products valued at $1.1 billion. China was the third-largest market for U.S. pork in 2017, according to the Associated Press.
China is Hawaii’s second-largest export partner behind Australia, according to Christine Hirasa, special advisor to the director of the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
The state exported $124.3 million worth of merchandise to China in 2017 and $340.1 million worth of merchandise to Australia, Hirasa said.
But Hirasa said most of the exports to China consist of products brought to Hawaii from the U.S. mainland before being exported to China.
According to DBEDT data, the largest export category was fuel and oil at more than $62.7 million, followed by aircraft parts at more than $28.1 million.
“The impact might be on the $9.4 million export of fruit and nuts which are likely produced in Hawaii,” Hirasa said.
Unshelled macadamia nuts and fresh papayas — Hawaii Island staples — are both among the state’s top 25 export commodities, ranked 14 and 15 respectively, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Both products are also on a list published by Fortune that details which commodities are targeted for tariffs. That publication cites China’s Ministry of Commerce.
According to the census data, macadamia nut exports were valued at $9 million, in 2017, a 1 percent share of the state’s total exports that year.
Papaya exports, meanwhile, were valued at $7 million, a 0.8 percent share of the state’s exports.
The Census Bureau doesn’t break down the how much of those exports were destined for China.