(Dec. 31, 1:40 p.m.) An agreement to move the effective date of the California desert grape marketing order from April 20 to April 10 has been agreed to in principle, according to a lawyer representing Chilean exporters.
The agreement has been reached by U.S. and Chilean government and grape industry officials, but rulemaking to make the change official is still pending, said David Holzworth, general counsel for the Santiago-based Chilean Exporters Association.
A spokesman for the California Desert Grape Administrative Committee did not return a message.
“It has been all agreed to on a government-to-government basis and on an industry-to-industry basis,” he said. “What we are waiting for is publication in the Federal Register of the proposed rule.”
Government and industry officials agreed to support the April 10 date, but Holzworth said the USDA believed it was necessary to have a notice to comment on rulemaking. As of Dec. 30, the proposed rule to change the date had not been published.
Holzworth said Chile has agreed to support moving the date from April 20 to April 10 to add some certainty to future seasons.
“As far as the date goes, the parties have reached an agreement to support the April 10 date,” he said.
Currently, standards imposed by the California desert grape marketing order require all imported grapes to meet minimum U.S. No. 1 standards by April 20. California desert grape growers have been attempting to move the date to April 10 from April 20 for more than three years. California growers have been concerned that heavy volume of Chilean grapes — particularly crimson seedless — arriving before April 20 can have a negative effect on their market.
Previously, Holzworth said the agreement to move the date to April 10 would be in place for five years.