A series of comments are being received on the federal docket regarding foreign trade barriers. Here is an excerpt of the comment from the Northwest Horticultural Council and Mark Powers. I selected Australia, China and Japan for excerpt here...
Comment from Mark Powers, Northwest Horticultural Council
This is comment on PROPOSED RULE: Request for Public Comments National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers and Reports, etc.
The Northwest Horticultural Council submits these comments to assist the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TCSP) identify significant barriers to U.S. exports for inclusion in the National Trade Estimate Report on Sanitary and Phytosanitary and Standards-Related Foreign Trade Barriers. The NHC’s comments apply to apples (0808.10), pears (0808.20), and cherries (0809.20).
SPS barriers are increasingly employed in many export markets and these complicated technical issues require significant resources and political will to combat effectively. Thank you for taking a close look at some of the most significant SPS trade barriers impacting the export of Pacific Northwest apples, pears and cherries.
NORTHWEST HORTICULTURAL COUNCIL
Pacific Northwest apple growers, packers and shippers have been working to obtain market access to Australia for their fruit for over fifteen years. Australia prohibits the importation of apples from the United States due to a number of expressed phytosanitary concerns. Chief among those concerns is fire blight, a bacterial disease of apple and pear trees known to occur in Pacific Northwest fruit growing regions.
The USDA Agricultural Research Service, in coordination with New Zealand plant scientists, published research which shows that there is no risk of fire blight transmission if exports are restricted only to mature, symptomless commercial apples.
The data associated with this research was submitted to Australia in December 2000. These findings were confirmed by World Trade Organization (WTO) rulings against Japan in 2003 in a similar case against Japan and its import prohibitions against Pacific Northwest apples related to fire blight. (Japan has since removed its fire blight restrictions on U.S. apples).
Australia continues to prohibit the importation of apples from all origins in what might be viewed as a policy designed to protect its domestic apple industry from economic competition.