China ramps up checks on U.S. fruit imports

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China ramps up checks on U.S. fruit imports

Chinese authorities have reportedly expanded checks on imports of U.S. fresh fruit, as trade ties between the two countries continue to deteriorate.

The development comes a month after China implemented an additional 15% tariff on numerous U.S. fruit and vegetable products, in retaliation for the North American country imposing tariffs on China.

News agency Reuters reported that since last week, Beijing has dispatched quarantine experts to major ports including Shanghai and Shenzhen to make more thorough on-site checks for disease and rot.

Reuters says the information comes from a source based in Shanghai with direct knowledge of the matter.

“China has resumed the practice of inspecting every batch of U.S. fresh fruit,” the source was quoted as saying, adding that inspectors had previously checked only around 30% of shipments. China had dialed back the checks in November 2017.

Since Monday, all U.S.-originated fruit shipments have been subject to up to seven days of quarantine check on arrival in Shenzhen, according to an industry source based at the port in China’s south.

Previously, customs officers in China had let shipments through while they conducted sample checks.

Several containers of oranges and several batches of apples from the U.S. have been intercepted over recent days, Reuters reported.

Tensions between the two countries increased further on Friday and it emerged U.S. officials had handed Beijing a list of demands including a US$200bn cut in its trade deficit and an end to state subsidies on strategic industries, The Guardian reported.

A U.S. trade delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had been in China for two days of talks with Vice-Premier Liu He.

A statement released by the official Xinhua news agency described the talks as “frank, efficient and constructive” but added that there remained “significant disagreements over certain issues”.

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