FDA bans Guatemala raspberry imports into the United States
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on December 8 that it was banning imports of Guatemala raspberries, beginning with the upcoming 1998 season, due to continued concerns over the protozoan parasite, cyclospora. This parasite is believed to have caused the outbreaks of illness in the United States and Canada in 1996 and 1997. Most of these are thought to have been associated with the consumption of fresh raspberries from Guatemala.
The FDA is working with the Guatemalan raspberry growers to determine how and where the parasite may have contaminated the raspberries. The raspberries may have been contaminated by poor water supplies. It has not yet been determined when or if raspberries from Guatemala will again be permitted entry into United States. U.S. raspberry producers have not reported problems with the parasite; however they remain concerned over the negative image the product may develop because of the Guatemala problem.
Annual U.S. imports of fresh raspberries in the two most recent fiscal years were valued at more than $13 million, with shipments from Guatemala accounting for approximately 4 percent of that total. Canada and Chile remain the dominant suppliers.
European Union extends wine derogations to allow U.S. wine trade to continue
The European Union (EU) Agricultural Ministers extended the U.S./EU Wine Accord until the end of 1998 at the December Council meeting. The terms of U.S.-EU wine trade are governed by the 1983 Wine Accord, which expired in 1993. Under the 1983 Accord, the United States obtained temporary derogations from EU restrictions on certain enological (wine-making) practices and from certain cumbersome certification procedures. Since the Accord expired, the EU has extended these derogations several times; the United States' main concern is to make permanent the temporary derogations allowed in the 1983 Accord. Representatives from the EU and the United States are tentatively scheduled to meet in Barcelona, Spain on January 27 and 28 for further discussion on U.S.-EU wine trade issues. The EU is an important market for U.S. wine and wine products, accounting for approximately 45 percent of total exports. Exports to the EU reached $174 million for the period January through October 1997, up 34 percent over the same period of the previous year.
USDA seeks access to Argentina for Florida citrus; Argentine technical team visits in January
USDA (APHIS & FAS) has been pursuing for a number of years the lifting of Argentina's existing phytosanitary-based ban on Florida citrus. Most recently, Secretary Glickman raised the issue with his counterpart during a December 2-3 visit to Argentina. Argentina's Agriculture Secretary responded by pledging to address the issue in a timely fashion. Subsequently, the two sides arranged for a 2-person team of Argentine plant quarantine officials to travel to Florida the week of January 26 to visit the citrus production region and observe quarantine measures relating to citrus canker and the Caribbean fruit fly. This activity is being funded under the FAS Emerging Market Office's Technical Issue Resolution Fund.
Argentina is presently a modest, but growing market for U.S. fresh fruit. Exports of all fresh fruits from the United States to this country in FY1997 were valued at $2.3 million. Given Florida's leading position as a producer and exporter of high quality grapefruit, it is estimated that shipments could reach $1 million annually in the near term were that state to achieve access the Argentine market.
U.S. exporters of horticultural products to benefit from accelerated Philippine duty reductions
The Philippine Government has implemented tariff cuts, effective in 1998, on a range of horticultural and other agriculture products, according to a report from the U.S. Agricultural Counselor in Manila. These cuts essentially represent an acceleration of previously agreed to tariff reduction commitments. Although the reductions will not completely offset the depreciation of the peso against the U.S. dollar which has occurred since July, they will be helpful to U.S. exports over the longer term.
Duties on tree nuts and raisins were cut from 10 percent to 3
percent, while the tariffs on frozen potatoes and grape and apple
juice were cut from 20 percent to 10 percent. The Philippines has
been a rapidly expanding market for U.S. horticultural
commodities, with shipments through the first 11 months of 1997
valued at nearly $113 million, up 4 percent from the previous
SECOFI holds final public hearing on apple antidumping issue
As part of the ongoing antidumping investigation on apples from the United States, Mexico's Secretariat of Commerce and Industrial Development (SECOFI) held a public hearing on Wednesday, January 14 in Mexico City. The purpose of the hearing was to receive testimony from domestic producers, exporters, and importers on the extent to which any alleged dumping may have caused economic injury to Mexico's apple industry. Representatives from the U.S. apple industry participated fully in the public hearing. The hearing concludes the evidence gathering phase of SECOFI'S antidumping investigation. A final determination in this case is expected by late February or early March. In the meantime, the 101.1 percent temporary antidumping duty imposed by Mexico on U.S. apple imports back on September 1, 1997 remains in effect. The extremely high duty has significantly limited sales to what had been a leading export market for Pacific Northwest apples, shipments of which were valued at $46.5 million in FY97.
SECOFI initiated on March 6, 1997 an antidumping investigation of U.S. Red and Golden Delicious apple imports. The investigation was in response to a petition filed by the Chihuahua State Fruit Growers Association, which alleges that U.S. apple imports were being sold below their cost of production, thus damaging Mexican apple producers. The period of time under investigation was from January 1-June 30, 1996.