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Northwest fruit industries lost more than $150 million

Staff writer |
Last winter work slowed down as crops were left in crates and warehouses due to disputes. Northwest agriculture experts said the cost of the slowdown was high. The apple and pear industries lost $100 million and costs hit $50 million for Washington potatoes.

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Those industries said it’s still costing them now. Overseas customers are afraid of not being able to get products on time again. For example, Japanese customers are not buying as much frozen fries from the U.S. They’re spreading the risk, and the more they buy from other countries, the less they buy in the US.

Northwest farmers are watching bills closely in Congress that would try to keep trade moving through ports in the event of a labour dispute, as last winter dozens of ports in the western U.S. were in a dispute with longshore men for months.

Eastern Washington U.S. Representative Dan Newhouse introduced a bill this week that would trigger an intervention if trade losses were too great.


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