Free-trade deals mean all the more to mango marketers, who rely heavily on smooth political relations, consistency in phytosanitary regulations and a competitive drive to offer the best products in a particular market, mango marketers say.
It’s particularly important when the item on the market in the U.S. is imported from a number of countries, they say.
Some progress has been made in ensuring trade deals are hammered out and work right, said Richard Campbell, director of tropical fruits at Coral Gables, Fla.-based Fairchild Tropical Botanic Research Center.
“The main problem that’s always an issue is the fruit fly quarantines. I think we’ve come a long way toward making that process smoother,” he said. “The (U.S. Department of Agriculture) switched to a proactive role, to do preventative work so that we don’t export problems to the U.S. We try to stop those problems before they happen.”
That means more work for the growers, but it’s also a part of doing business across international boundaries, Campbell said.
“I think that seems to be somewhat painful to the growers; you have to monitor your orchards closely,” he said. “And it does put more pressure on exporting countries. They’ll shut off your orchard for export if they find fruit flies. It’s a painful process, but it does give us another control point for quality.”
The National Mango Board, Orlando, Fla., monitors trade issues closely to keep the flow of mangoes moving, said William Watson, executive director.
“We are always keeping our eyes and ears open to trade issues, which could impact mango movement,” he said.
Pakistan recently was approved by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to ship mangoes into the U.S.
“It’s anyone’s guess as to how this will shake out, since it’s their first year of having such access,” Watson said. “We wish them well.”
Board member Flavio Muranaka, owner of Petrolina, Brazil-based exporter Amexport, said international trade remains difficult, because the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization talks in 2007 failed to address vexing trade issues.
“With this we had hard times to export,” he said, citing an inability to ship mangoes into Mexico as an example.
“As we do not have a deal with them, we can’t export to Mexico from October to January, and, as I know, Ecuador and Peru send mangoes to them during their season,” Muranaka said.