Canada pledges to speed up Polish apple access
While Poland's #FreedomApples campaign was aimed at the U.S., it is the country's northern neighbor that has made faster moves for allowing imports from the world's biggest apple-shipping nation.
Poland's produce sector is set to lose €500 million (US$671 million) worth of exports to Russia due to its ban on EU food imports, with industry and government scrambling to find outlets around the world to avoid a flood of apples on European supermarket shelves and rotting fruit in the fields.
A release from the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Ottawa said Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) Vice President Paul Mayers had promised Polish Ambassador to Canada Marcin Bosacki that he would speed up certification of the process of apple certification.
"During the discussion with the Ambassador and the Head of the Department of Trade and Investment Promotion Rafal Pawlak, which took place on 21 August 2014., representatives of the CFIA declared also a goodwill in allowing further work on other agricultural products export to Canada, especially vegetables and poultry," embassy spokesperson Olga Jabłońska said in the release.
"Both sides agreed that the embargo on food import introduced recently by Russia is a major challenge both for Polish and Canadian food industries.
"The new situation requires not only closer cooperation between the two countries, but also the one between Canada and the EU."
Jabłońska highlighted the embassy started its campaign to allow access in 2012.
"Poland is the world's largest exporter of apples. In 2012/2013 it outstripped China by selling over 1.2 million tonnes of the fruit all over the world," she said.
"Today's meeting has increased the chances that Canadians will soon be able to taste excellent Polish apples."
While no such promises have come from the U.S., Kevin Shea from the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) met with Poland's Ambassador to Washington Ryszard Schnepf on August 21 to discuss the matter.
"As a result of economic embargo implemented by the Russian Federation, Polish producers lost an important market for their exports. Last year 55% of Polish apple exports were sent to Russia," said a release from the Polish Embassy in Washington said.
"During this meeting the sanitary standards and required procedures stipulated by APHIS were discussed, as well as the possibility of fulfilling these requirements in the shortest time possible, so that Polish products can promptly be exported to the United States."