Update: When this story was published on March 17 there were indications the stay would be for another 30 days, but an APHIS notice released on Friday has now set the extension period at 60 days.
It was one of the first actions relating to the fruit trade under the Trump presidency – a stay on a rule that had been decades in the making, which would have allowed immediate entry for Argentine lemon imports.
The stay meant the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had until March 27 to make a final call on the subject, but now the service has issued a second 60-day stay in the effective date for the rule.
The announcement comes after Argentine officials reportedly told news agency EFE the stay had been extended by a further 30 days.
Argentina is the world’s largest lemon shipper and the industry remains optimistic access will eventually be authorized.
In an interview with Fresh Fruit Portal late last month, Argentine Citrus Federation (Fedecitrus) president José Carbonell said it was common practice for new U.S. presidents to suspend any recent resolutions, emphasizing it did not equate to the U.S. turning its back on the agreement.
“It’s important to note the technical aspects which were the subject of discussion these last few years were clarified and resolved between the phytosanitary organizations of the United States and the Republic of Argentina, which are difficult to reverse,” Carbonell said at the time.