U.S.: APHIS proposes allowing European apple and pear imports - FreshFruitPortal.com

U.S.: APHIS proposes allowing European apple and pear imports

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U.S.: APHIS proposes allowing European apple and pear imports

U.S. authorities are seeking comments from the public in response to a proposed rule that would allow fresh pome fruit imports from eight European countries.

The nations in question are Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Poland Portugal, Spain and the Netherlands; all industries that have had to deal with greater supply on the market since the Russian embargo began in August, 2014.

"The new import requirements would replace the existing preclearance program with a systems approach that includes appropriate pest risk mitigations," the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) said.

"The U.S. would only accept commercial shipments of fresh apple and pear fruit from these countries if the shipments are accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate, with additional declaration followed by port of entry inspection.

"The proposed risk mitigation measures for fresh apple and pear fruit consist of orchard and packing house certification, inspection of registered orchards twice a season, orchard pest control and sanitation, post-harvest safeguards, fruit culling, traceback, sampling, and cold treatment against Medfly in countries where the pest is known to occur."

European officials have responded positively to the announcement, with the hope it will pave the way for a market opening in September.

A joint statement from EU Health and Food Safety Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, welcomes the draft rule, claiming it helps mitigate the losses of the Russian embargo.

"It will be of significant benefit to European Union farmers, many of whom lost their main export markets overnight as a result of Russian sanctions imposed in 2014," the statement says.

"The eventual opening of the U.S. market will not offset the full impact of the sanctions, but it will certainly help the farming community by at least providing another commercial outlet for their produce.

"Following this initiative, we are looking forward to the rapid completion of the remaining legal and administrative steps in order to deliver further tangible benefits for the EU fruit producers. Opening the market for the 2016 harvest i.e. by September 2016 could be feasible, if all parties continue their efforts."

The projected value of exports to the U.S. is estimated at around $11 million.

Finding ways to simplify market access has been on the table since 2007 and gathered pace when Russia first introduced its European fruit import ban in 2014.

The proposed rule is scheduled for publication on the Federal Register and to be available for public comment on Wednesday, Jan. 20.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com



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