U.S.: APHIS proposes rule to allow Chinese apple imports
The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has proposed a new rule to allow imports of fresh apples from China into the continental United States.
The agency has recommended a systems approach including registrations and inspections of operations, the bagging of fruit, safeguarding, labeling and that consignments be on a commercial scale.
Under the framework, this approach would suffice in areas where Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis) is not known to exist, while growers in areas where the pest may be present must fumigate and refrigerate their apples.
The move follows on from a pest risk analysis (PRA) released more than a year ago, which found measures beyond standard port-of-entry inspection were required to mitigate the plant pest risks posed by Chinese apples.
APHIS will be considering all comments received on or before Sept. 16, 2014.
According to a post on the Federal Register, no more than 10,000 metric tons (MT) of fresh apples would be expected for import from China annually, which would be the equivalent of about 5% of U.S. imports and 0.44% of the U.S. domestic fresh apple supply in 2012.
"Most of China's fresh apple exports to the United States would likely be shipped to West Coast ports, primarily ones in California," APHIS said.
"California is also the largest market for Washington apples, and any effects of the proposed rule may be borne mainly by Washington and California apple growers, in particular, U.S. apple growers of the Fuji variety.
"U.S. apple growers of other varieties and in other areas may also experience limited effects in terms of increased competition."