Chinese agricultural officials will visit California citrus groves in June in a development that should all California citrus growers to expo to China.

China closer to opening market for California citrusWhile the authority to resume trade with China has not yet been given, Joel Nelsen, president of Exeter-based California Citrus Mutual, said that may change after the June visit of Chinese officials. Chinese officials will visit to look at pest mitigation efforts that California citrus handlers are employing, he said. Nelsen on May 9 credited U.S. Department of Agriculture officials for their pursuit of the June visit by Chinese officials and for their work to reopen the market.

The USDA earlier hammered out an agreement with China’s regulatory agency to reopen the Chinese market, which has been closed since April 2013.

The supplementary agreement is a two-year pilot program that will be revisited for discussion after the 2014-15 season and before the 2015 season, according to a news release the California Citrus Quality Council.

The supplementary agreement stipulates that the California implement a number of preharvest treatments, harvest precautions and packinghouse inspection measures to reduce the risk of Phytophthora infections.