U.S. apple exporters hope for Chinese import ban lift
U.S. apple producers are hoping China will start issuing import permits for Red and Golden Delicious varieties again in time for the next export opportunity in January 2013.
Washington Apple Commission's international trade specialist Chris Scott, confirmed media reports that the country had stopped issuing new permits from Aug. 9.
Scott said Chinese authorities had said the decision was made because bull's eye rot had been detected in U.S. shipments exported earlier this year, but it was difficult to accurately trace claims.
Chelan Fresh Marketing export manager Marc Spears said China accounted for 10-15% of the company's annual exports.
"It's not a good situation because it's a big market for us. There will be high demand in the U.S. because East Coast volumes are down; it might not be a disaster but we need to get it fixed so we are ready to export from January to May next year."
Yakima Fresh export manager Randy Eckert said his company was currently waiting to gain Chinese certification for its cold atmosphere storage rooms and was planning to export to China from January next year.
"We are hoping things will get rectified as soon as possible."
He added some decay of around 2-3% was to be expected in fruit shipped towards the end of the season from June to August as apples destined for China would have been in transit for three weeks.
Eckert said while China was an important new marke,t his company exported worldwide to South and Central America, Europe, the Middle East and other parts of Asia.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Animal Plant Health Service are currently in discussions with Chinese authorities to get import permits issued again.