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Trade Situation and Policy Updates
U.S. Apples Arrive in Cuba
Ending a 40-year absence, 20 tons of U.S. (Washington state) Red Delicious apples, valued at approximately $15,000 arrived in Cuba during the week of July 8. According to trade sources, another 280 tons of apples, valued approximately at $200,000, are scheduled to be shipped to Cuba during the period July-September 2002. The inaugural shipment follows on the heels of the recent agreement reached between APHIS and Cuba's Centro Nacional Sanidad Vegetal (CNSV) that established the phytosanitary requirements for the exportation of apples from Washington and New York.
California Table Grapes Debut in Australia
On Tuesday, July 16, 2002, the first consignments
of table grapes from California arrived in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane via
airfreight, following years of negotiations on a market access protocol.
The total shipment consisted of 132 cartons of Flame Seedless. U.S. industry contacts believe that this market, which is
counter-seasonal to the Northern Hemisphere, has considerable export potential
that could reach $10 million annually.
Mexico Moves to Limit Use of High Fructose Corn Syrup
On July 12, 2002, Mexico's Supreme Court of
Justice (SCJN) voted unanimously in favor of a ruling that endorses the
collection of a 20-percent duty on soft drinks and beverages that contain high
fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This
duty had been temporarily suspended by President Fox in March 2002.
With this decision, the SCJN sides with the Lower House of Congress,
which had approved in December 2002, a tax of 20-percent on soft drinks and
beverages that contain HFCS. The
duty was imposed on July 16, 2002, and will not be applied retroactively for the
period from March 6, 2002 to July 15, 2002. This
will principally affect U.S. shipments of HFCS and corn used for the production
of HFCS. Mexico consumes about
600,000 tons of HFCS annually, of which about 80 percent is used in the beverage
industry. The United States
supplies about of 250,000 tons of HFCS and about 700,000 tons of corn, which is
converted into 350,000 tons of HFCS. The
new law is expected to generate about $7.5 billion in revenues.
U.S. Hazelnut Exports Sky Rocket
U.S. exports of hazelnuts during the first 6
months of fiscal year 2002 reached 20,258 tons, up 100 percent compared to the
same period last year, with an estimated value of $27 million.
U.S. hazelnut production set a record in 2001/02 totaling 43,545 tons,
up 92 percent from the previous year’s harvest and 26 percent above the
1999/2000 production. China
is by far the largest customer for U.S. hazelnuts, importing nearly 15,000 tons
with a value of $18.4 million. Germany
is the second largest market for U.S. hazelnuts importing approximately 1,400
tons, worth nearly $2 million.
Florida’s High Court Refuses to Hear Citrus Canker Case
On July 18, 2002, the Florida Supreme Court
refused to hear a case concerning the state’s citrus canker eradication law.
As a result, a May 24, 2002, ruling stands, which stated that a new law
giving Florida the power to remove healthy citrus trees was unconstitutional. Several counties in Florida had filed a lawsuit to challenge
the law, which required Florida to remove healthy citrus trees within 1,900 feet
of those infected with citrus canker. On
July 9, 2002, the 4th District Court of Appeal had asked Florida’s
Supreme Court to hear the case immediately given the seriousness of the
situation. A citrus canker outbreak
in commercial production areas would have potentially serious consequences to
Florida’s $9 billion industry. U.S.
exports of grapefruit, much of which originate from Florida, totaled nearly $197
million in calendar year 2001, of which $51 million or 26 percent went to the EU.
The EU and other citrus-producing countries have been closely following
the situation in Florida, as they are very concerned about the spread of citrus
canker and how it might impact U.S. commercial groves and trade. To date, however, there have been no reports of trade
disruptions resulting from the citrus canker situation.