Northwest Hort on Australia: a tough nut to crack

10/05/2010 02:36:28 AM
Tom Karst

PEARS

Phytosanitary Barrier
Japan currently prohibits the importation of pears from the U.S. due to alleged concerns regarding the bacterial disease fire blight. Japan is concerned that this bacterial plant disease might be transmitted to the country’s domestic crops. The U.S. position is that mature, symptomless fruit produced under commercial conditions have not been shown to transmit the disease. Research substantiating the U.S. position was completed in 2007 and is in the hands of USDA/APHIS.

Potential Increase in Exports

Resolving the phytosanitary barrier in Japan would result in an increase of less than $5 million in sales.
Pesticide Maximum Residue Level Sanction Policy

During the past year the U.S. Trade Representative has met with Japanese officials to negotiate changes in the penalty structure for MRL violations. Penalties for violations include initially elevated inspection rates for shippers of the commodity that can be expanded to 100 percent hold and test for the entire commodity group if a second violation occurs. The USTR negotiations resulted in a written agreement that provided substantive relief, but following recent MRL violations it is apparent that Japan has decided to ignore that agreement. We urge USTR to remain engaged on this important issue with Japan.

Potential Increase in Exports

Reaching agreement on an MRL sanctions policy with Japan will not necessarily increase the amount of exports from the U.S. It will help to reduce risk exposure and maintain access to this $55 million to $82 million annual export market for U.S. cherries.

PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

APPLES
Phytosanitary Barriers
The first shipments of apples from Washington State to the People’s Republic of China occurred in June of 1994. Only Red and Golden Delicious apples may be shipped directly to China. Two of the PRC’s phytosanitary barriers described below are neither technically justifiable nor WTO-consistent and should be immediately eliminated.
Fire Blight: U.S. has been seeking access for all varieties of apples since the early 1990s but discussions have been stalled due to China’s unfounded concerns regarding the bacterial plant disease fire blight. With the 2005 WTO decision in favor of the U.S. in its case with Japan on fire blight, and the separate case with Japan regarding varietals, China should now allow all varieties of apples entry.
Moreover, China allows market access for all varieties of apples from other countries, including New Zealand, even though such countries have fire blight.


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