In a release industry body Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) said it had been advised of the action by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, which has been requested by the U.S. Government to carry out the PRA.
As a World Trade Organisation member, Australia has an obligation to consider all import requests and develop import conditions that are scientifically justified and do not restrict trade, APAL explained.
The import risk analysis will involve a scientific assessment of the biosecurity risks and potential import protocols for U.S. apples.
It will consider whether such imports would pose any undue risk to the Australian apple industry and a draft is expected to be released for a 60-day public consultation period in March 2019.
APAL chief executive Phil Turnbull said the organization will lead an industry response to the import risk analysis to ensure Australia’s apple and pear industry is protected.
“One of Australia’s greatest assets is that it is largely free of the pests and diseases of many other apple and pear producing countries. Protecting this biosecurity status requires fresh produce imports to meet robust biosecurity protocols,” Turnbull said.
To ensure the Government’s import risk analysis takes into account the most up-to-date, rigorous scientific thinking, APAL will engage a biosecurity expert to conduct an independent investigation of the risks on behalf of the apple industry.
APAL work with this expert and a specially-convened Apple & Pear Biosecurity Steering Committee to coordinate a whole of industry response.