President Trump agrees to end import ban on lemons from Argentina

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Lemons from Argentina are expected to reach the US marketplace this summer. (KFSN)

Lemons from Argentina are expected to reach the US marketplace this summer. Added competition should lead to lower prices but the Trump administration's lifting of the import ban has left a sour taste in the mouths of Valley citrus growers.

"They've taken steps to protect the timber industry and some of the others, the dairy industry being another one. And then to turn right back around and kick the US lemon industry to the curb is very hypocritical," said Bob Blakely, CA Citrus Mutual.

Argentina is the world's top lemon producer. President Mauricio Macri has long wanted the US to lift the US ban on Argentine lemons. Last week at the White House he renewed his long friendship with President Trump.

"We know each other well and we like each other a lot and it's a great honor to have you and your representatives with us Mauricio," said President Trump.

Blakely said growers worry safeguards aren't in place to fight the spread of diseases which could cripple the state's three billion dollar citrus industry.

"Besides the pest and disease issue we're looking at a very real economic threat to our industry as well."

The decision came a day before citrus leaders were set to talk with top USDA and trade officials in Washington DC.

"It was certainly disrespectful at the least," said Blakely.

Lemons make up 25-percent of the Central Valley citrus crop.
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