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World Trade Situation and Policy Updates
Approves California Grape Imports
February 14, 2002, the Australian Ministry of Agriculture approved entry of
California table grapes, but under strict conditions, which include
fumigation-at-origin. The final
recommendation was based on an extensive import risk analysis that was completed
by Australia on California table grapes over the past few years.
In fact, USDA and USTR have worked, in cooperation with the industry, for
more than ten years to obtain table grape access to the Australian market for
California grapes. USDA will
continue to work with the grape industry and the Australians to reassess the
program at the end of the first shipping season with a view towards modifying
some of the requirements, such as, for example, allowing for upon-arrival
Department Issues Final Dumping Margins on Canadian Hothouse Tomatoes
On February 20, 2002, the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration (ITA) issued its final determination on dumping margins in the case against Canadian hothouse tomatoes. Dumping margins ranged from 1.53 percent to 18.21 percent, considerably less than the preliminary duties that had ranged from zero to 33.95 percent. While ITA trimmed the dumping margins for most major operations, they increased the margins for one major Ontario-based firm from 5.54 percent to 14.89 percent. The U.S. International Trade Commission is scheduled to release its final determination on the issue of injury on April 1. U.S. imports of greenhouse tomatoes from Canada in 2001 were valued at $96 million, up 23 percent from 2000.
According to FAS/Seoul, the Cheju Citrus Grower=s
Agricultural Cooperative (CCGAC) held a quota auction for 43,751 tons of fresh
oranges and 1,910 tons of other citrus on February 20, 2002.
Allocations totaling 43,740 tons of fresh oranges and 100 tons of other
citrus were sold during this auction, effectively satisfying Korea’s 2002
Uruguay Round MMA quota commitment. The
auction occurred after the peak marketing season for Korea=s domestic orange production and
deliveries of quota imports must be completed before September 30, prior to the
new domestic season. Under Korea=s
import regime, oranges may enter within the quota at a tariff of 50 percent, or
outside the quota at a 2002 duty rate of 59.8 percent.
The out‑of‑quota duty is being phased down until it reaches
the in‑quota rate of 50 percent in 2004.
As the out-of-quota duties have declined, U.S. orange exports to Korea
out-of-quota have jumped sharply, exceeding the in-quota volumes for each of the
past two years. Whereas CCGAC had
fallen short of filling the quota through direct administration in recent years,
the recent quota auction served as an effective means for the entity to satisfy
its MMA obligations under the prevailing market conditions.
Korea has emerged as a leading market for U.S. oranges, with shipments in
calendar year 2001 totaling $49 million, up 25 percent from the previous year.
March 8, 2002, FAS learned of Cuba’s intention to buy 1,000 tons of Washington
state apples, which could be worth about $500,000. Reportedly, the Cuban import agency Alimport, wants to
purchase medium-to-large red delicious apples, and consultations on price and
quality are underway. The sales, to
be paid in cash, are expected to be completed in May or June 2002. U.S. exports
of agricultural products to Cuba, Iran, Libya, North Korea, and Sudan
are now possible under the Trade Sanctions Reform Act, which was
signed into law in October 2000. In
July 2001, after an extensive consultative process, final regulations lifting food
and medicine sales to these countries were approved.
Initial sales to Cuba occurred in December 2001, with total announced
agricultural purchases reaching $77 million.
In mid-January 2002, a Washington state agricultural trade mission
visited Cuba as part of the state’s efforts to expand its exports of
Judge Rules Against the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC)
in Florida’s Equalizing Tax Case
On March 15, 2002, the 10th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida ruled that Florida’s equalization tax is unconstitutional because it allows citrus juice from other U.S. states to be exempt. In related developments, the Florida Senate approved an amendment to the general appropriations bill that would repeal the tax exemption. On March 20, 2002, Brazil requested formal WTO consultations on Florida’s equalizing tax. Brazil is expected to argue that as citrus products originating from other states such as Texas, Arizona, and California are not assessed, the tax discriminates against imports.
EU Parliament Adopts Resolution to Seek WTO Solution to
U.S. Ban on Spanish Clementines
On March 14, 2002, the EU Parliament, in a 92 to 1 vote,
adopted a joint resolution condemning U.S. trading practices and establishing a
strategy that should be adopted to put an end to the ban on U.S. imports of
Spanish clementines. The resolution
urges the EU Commission to “engage in a procedure at the WTO against the
United States should an immediate solution not be found.” It considers this dispute as a “trade barrier, not as a
plant health issue.” The
resolution claims the ban has a goal to “exclude Community clementines from
the American market to the benefit of its own production of citrus fruit and
that of other third countries.”