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World Trade Situation and Policy Updates
India Plans to Tap $13 Billion Global Organic Food Market
India has launched a National Program for Organic Production [NPOP] to realize the vast potential in organic agriculture with an eye on the $13 billion global market for organic food and beverages [OFB]. There is an increased emphasis on sanitary and phytosanitary measures under WTO regime, so the Indian government has launched an NPOP and established a national steering committee to monitor it. They said the committee would link producers to the export markets, enhance market access and price premiums and assist resource poor farmers with little access to external resources. With heightened awareness on health and environmental issues in developed nations, retail sales of OFB worldwide were projected to grow at 5 to 10 percent in the next 5 years. NPOP intended to tap India's inherent advantage in the sphere due to a strong tradition of organic farming by further restricting use of chemical inputs. NPOP would target, among others, the United States and Germany, the world's two largest markets for OFB, with a volume of 4.2 billion and 1.2 billion, respectively.
Chile Approves Imports of Apples and Pears from all Counties in Washington State
Chile recently agreed to allow imports of apples and pears from the entire state of Washington. Prior to this decision, Chile banned entry of U.S. pears and only allowed apple imports from 26 counties in California and 11 counties in Washington. This new market opportunity is expected to result in combined Washington apple and pear sales of $200,000 to $500,000, annually. In marketing year (MY) 1997/98, U.S. apple exports to Chile reached a record 196 metric tons, valued at $102,000. In MY 1999/00, the volume and value of U.S. apple shipments to Chile dropped to 129 tons, valued at $49,394, partly due to last years lower Washington state apple crop. Other factors affecting apple sales to Chile last season included a stronger U.S. dollar vis-a-vis the Chilean peso and higher U.S. prices.
Taiwan Unveils New Plant Quarantine Requirements
Taiwan has announced that shipments of most fresh fruits and vegetables that arrive on or after March 7, 2001, will have to comply with new plant quarantine requirements. While the specifics of the new policy are being thoroughly reviewed by industry groups and APHIS, the initial assessment is that the new requirements will not adversely affect U.S. shipments of the affected products to Taiwan. Reportedly, the only change from the previous requirements is a new declaration for Western Flower Thrips (Frankliniella Occidentalis (Pergande). The additional declaration (AD) on the phytosanitary certificate must state that the product has been thoroughly inspected and found free of the pest, or has been properly fumigated prior to shipment. Taiwan is a very important market for U.S. fresh produce. In fiscal year 1999/2000, Taiwan was the fourth largest market for U.S. fresh fruits and vegetables, with combined shipments valued at more than $185 million.
FDA Publishes Final Rule to Increase Safety of Fruit and Vegetable Juices
The Food and Drug Administration announced a final rule designed to improve the safety of fruit and vegetable juice and juice products. Under the rule, juice processors must use Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles for juice processing. HACCP systems call for a science-based analysis of potential hazards, determination of where the hazards can occur in processing, implementing control measures at points where hazards can occur to prevent problems, and rapid corrective actions if a problem occurs. Firms will be required to maintain records in association with implementation of their HACCP plans and verification of those plans. HACCP systems are already federally required for seafood, meat processors and poultry processors. Implementation of a HACCP system will increase the protection of consumers from illness-causing microbes and other hazards in juices. FDA estimates that there are between 16,000 to 48,000 cases of juice-related illnesses each year. It is estimated that the action taken due to the rule will prevent at least 6,000 illnesses per year. More information is available on the Internet at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/answers/2001/ANS01068.html
Canada Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties on Asian Garlic
U.S. fresh garlic exports to Canada are expected to be more competitive following Canadas imposition of year-round duties on Asian garlic. On January 2, 2001, the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency made a preliminary determination of dumping and applied provisional duties on Chinese and Vietnamese garlic. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal has initiated an inquiry to determine whether the dumping of garlic from the China and Vietnam has caused or is threatening to cause injury to Canadian garlic producers. Canada has applied anti-dumping duties on Chinese garlic since 1997, but only on garlic imported between July and December each year. Canadian growers lobbied the government for year-round duties after import levels of Asian garlic increased sharply during the non-duty period. While the United States captures slightly more than 20 percent of the Canadian import market for fresh garlic, China captures more than half. Canadian imports of fresh garlic from the United States during 1999 were 2,417 tons, valued at $ 3.4 million.
Japanese Imports of Chinese Broccoli Rise Rapidly
Japanese imports of fresh Chinese broccoli continue to grow, with shipments in 2000 estimated at 9,000 tons, up from 2,300 tons in 1999. Most sales occurred in the late fall and winter months, when U.S. broccoli prices are comparatively high. With low production costs and good quality on Chinese product, U.S. broccoli shippers will continue to face increasing competition from China in the late fall and winter months, the peak period for Chinese production. Overall, 2000 imports from the United States are estimated at just under 70,000 tons, down from 87,603 tons in 1999.
FDA Announces New Procedures on Safety of Imported Foods
FDA announced the enactment of procedures to advance the governments food safety program by more effectively preventing unsafe imported food from entering the United States. FDA will now require that shipments from "bad actor" importers be held in a secure storage facility at the importers expense until released by FDA. FDA has also established procedures to enhance interagency coordination and efficiently use Customs' civil monetary penalties procedures against importers who attempt to enter food into the United States by means of a material false statement, act, or omission. Penalties may be issued in amounts up to the domestic value of merchandise so imported. FDA has also published, for comment, a proposed rule that will require marking food shipments refused for safety reasons to indicate that the product was denied entry into the United. States. This will help eliminate the practice of "port shopping" in which importers whose cargo is denied entry at one port try to re-introduce it at another port without bringing the food into compliance with U.S. laws and regulations. These procedures have been developed to address six specific issues, targeting unscrupulous importers who violate the rules and subvert the system by moving unsafe food into U.S. markets. More information is available on the Internet at http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2001/NEW00749.html
USDA Proposes to Amend Import Regulations on Mangoes from the Philippines
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on January 19, 2001, that it is proposing to amend its regulations regarding the import of mangoes from Guimaras Island in the Republic of the Philippines. USDA would allow imports of mangoes grown on Guimaras Island because this area is free of the mango seed weevil, a pest the United States does not have. However, because Guimaras Island has not been found to be free of fruit flies, the mangoes must be treated with vapor heat prior to importation under the supervision of an APHIS inspector. In addition, each shipment of mangoes must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate stating that the mangoes were grown on Guimaras Island and that the fruit has been treated with vapor heat in accordance with the Plant Protection and Quarantine Treatment Manual. For more information, contact Paul Gadh, import specialist, phytosanitary issues management team, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 140, Riverdale, Md. 20737, (301) 734-6799. Notice of this action was published in the January 22, 2001, Federal Register and is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html
USDA Establishes Quarantine for West Indian Fruit Fly in Texas
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has quarantined part of Cameron County, Texas, and restricted the interstate movement of regulated articles from that area after the West Indian fruit fly was detected in an abandoned guava grove. Cameron County is located in the southern-most tip of Texas near the Mexican border. The West Indian fruit fly is a very destructive pest of fruits and vegetables, including carambola, grapefruit, guava, limes, mangoes, oranges, passion fruit, peaches, and pears. The pest can cause serious economic losses by lowering the yield and quality of these fruits and vegetables and, in some cases, by damaging seedlings and young plants. Heavy infestations can result in complete loss of crops. For more information, contact Robert G. Spaide, assistant director, invasive species and pest management, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River Road, Unit 134, Riverdale, Md. 20737, (301) 734-8247. Notice of this action was published in the January 22, 2001 Federal Register and is available on the Internet at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ppd/rad/webrepor.html
China Goes Nutty for California Almonds
California almond exports to China last year reached record levels in marketing year 2000, with exports totaling over 11,000 tons, up over 200 percent from the previous year. China is now the fifth largest market (a big jump from 12th last year) for U.S. almonds, following Germany, Spain, Japan, and India. Much of this success can be attributed to the Market Access Program funded efforts of the Almond Board of California, who used MAP funds to introduce in-shell almonds, a product line the Chinese prefer. A successful public relations and media campaign teaching consumers about the versatility and healthfulness of almonds helped drive this doubling of sales in China. The Almond Board of California believes that China has potential to be one of the top 3 export destinations in the next 5 years.