U.S. proposes new rules for Philippine mangoes, Japanese oranges

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U.S. proposes new rules for Philippine mangoes, Japanese oranges

U.S. mango and citrus industry representatives will have until June 9 to respond to proposals from plant health authorities over fruit imported from the Philippines and Japan.

If the proposals put forth by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are approved, it would mean four new mango-producing regions in the Philippines could ship to the world's largest economy, while more Japanese Unshu orange-growing areas would be granted access.mango_63710851 panorama

Current U.S. rules only allow the import of Philippine mangoes from the region of Guimaras, but the South East Asian country has sought recognition of new pest-free areas by APHIS.

After assessing information provided by the Philippines, APHIS has recommended the areas of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao be declared free of mango seed weevil and mango pulp weevil.

In addition, it recommends the Philippine island of Palawan be declared free of mango seed weevil. Under the existing regulations, such an amendment would not be sufficient for approval given mango pulp weevil is still present on the island, however APHIS is willing to change this with a pest-specific irradiation dose of 165 Gy.

This level of irradiation is just over half the levels in place in APHIS' Plant Protection and Quarantine Treatment Manual, however it is still enough to tackle the threat posed by Bactrocera fruit flies.

Japanese Orange changes

APHIS highlights that Japan has not sent any Unshu oranges to the U.S. in the last three years, but at the request of the country's government it has evaluated the possibility of changing its approach to citrus canker from Japan in a way that is more consistent with domestic policy.

The proposal aims to remove restrictions on exports that currently only allow shipments from canker-free zones, such as the islands of Honshu and Kyushu, and parts of Shikoku.

However, as a condition the fruit would need to undergo surface sterilization to effectively make shipments free of leaves, twigs and other plant material.

"Our proposed removal of the requirements for Unshu oranges exported to the United States to have been produced in specified canker-free areas and jointly inspected by the NPPO [National Plant Protection Organization] of Japan and APHIS in the groves and packinghouses would parallel the changes we made in 2009 to the domestic citrus canker regulations and thus harmonize these regulations with our domestic regulations," APHIS said.

Low economic impact

APHIS mentioned that the Philippines average fresh mango exports to the U.S. of 42,000lbs per year in 2010 and 2011, which it says represents a "negligible" share of total imports.

"Given the Philippines' current very small share and the proximity of major Latin American sources, the additional quantity of fresh mango that may be imported from the Philippines because of this rule is unlikely to make an appreciable difference in the total quantity imported," APHIS said.

In terms of Japanese Unshu oranges, the service said 2,400 metric tons (MT) of the fruit was exported worldwide in 2012 at a value of US$4.5 million.

"Canada was the main destination, accounting for 83 percent of Japan's exports (2,000 MT). Unshu oranges have not been imported from Japan into the United States for the last 3 years," APHIS said.

"Between 1996 and 2009, the United States imported about 200 MT of Unshu oranges from Japan annually, valued at about $340,000, only during the months of November and December. They were typically sold at a premium in ethnic specialty stores and through small-package direct delivery to customers who celebrated the New Year's holidays."

Under the proposed rule, Japan would be able to export 500MT of Unshu oranges to the United States, however APHIS described this as an "ambitious goal".

Photo: www.shutterstock.com








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