- World Trade Situation and Policy
- Yemen Market to Open to U.S. Apples
- ATO/Riyadh reported on June 14 that the
Government of Yemen has confirmed its intention to lift
its import ban on apples, including those from the United
States, by the end of 1999. This development follows
several years of FAS efforts to overcome the Yemeni ban
and secure official access to this market. As part of its
many IMF/ World Bank commitments to liberalize its
economy, Yemens government issued a decree in May
1998 opening its market to a range of fresh fruits and
vegetables. The Yemeni government, however, decided then
to postpone the liberalization of apple imports,
reportedly to protect local producers. In confirming the
upcoming market opening, Yemeni officials also noted that
a 25-percent ad valorem duty on apples would likely be
applied, but anticipate this rate will decline after the
first year of liberalization. Apple production in Yemen
reportedly remains very limited, with domestic supplies
generally available only in June and July. The Yemen
market shows significant potential as a market for U.S.
apples. Significant quantities of apples have been
entering the country via Saudi Arabia for several years
through unofficial channels.
- New Zealand to Permit Imports of
- After several years of discussion and
exchanges of technical information, New Zealands
plant quarantine agency has agreed to permit entry of
fresh papaya from Hawaii, according to the U.S.
Agricultural Attache in Wellington. Importer interest in
the product is reported to be favorable, with U.S.
shippers likely to assume the role of filling supply
shortfalls during periods when fruit from other sources,
mainly South Pacific origins, is not in season. U.S.
exports of fresh papaya, primarily from Hawaii, were
valued at $14 million in CY1998, with Japan accounting
for nearly 75 percent of the total.
- Venezuela Resumes Issuing Phytosanitary
Import Permits for U.S. Fruit
- Following formal representations made last
week, the head of Venezuelas APHIS equivalent,
SASA, has indicated that the agency is again issuing
phytosanitary import permits for U.S. fruit, according to
a report from the U.S. Agricultural Attache in Caracas.
SASA had ceased issuing the required permits for certain
fruits, notably peaches, in what appeared to be a move to
protect domestic producers from import competition,
primarily Chile and the United States. While the action
apparently was targeted at selected fruits, it served to
raise widespread concern among the trade and create a
general trade-disruptive atmosphere of uncertainty. U.S.
exports of fresh fruit to Venezuela in CY1998 were valued
at nearly $16 million, with apples, grapes, and pears
accounting for a large percentage of the total.
- Mexico Triggers NAFTA Safeguard on U.S.
- FAS in Mexico City reports that on June
14, Mexico announced that the NAFTA safeguard quota for
U.S. apples had been filled, resulting in an increase in
the 8 percent in-quota tariff to 20 percent for the
remainder of the calendar year. The 1999 safeguard quota
for apples under the NAFTA was set at 63,759.02 metric
tons. Mexicos market for U.S. apples has improved
since the punitive 101.1 percent preliminary anti-dumping
duty was lifted in March 1998. However, the trade
continues to be hampered on a number of fronts, notably
by the onerous phytosanitary oversight inspection
program, as well as the minimum price suspension
agreement which the industry entered in to last year in
order to secure a lifting of the previously mentioned
- Philippines Opens Market to Florida
- The Philippines Bureau of Plant
Industry formally approved a protocol on June 25
permitting the entry of citrus from the state of Florida.
This action caps a two year effort by FAS, APHIS, and the
Florida citrus industry to gain access to the Philippine
market. A key step in the approval process included a
visit by Philippine quarantine officials to Florida in
early 1998, an activity that was funded through the
EMOs Technical Issues Resolution Fund. The
Philippines has become an important market for a range of
U.S. fresh fruits, notably grapes, apples, and oranges.
Fresh fruit shipments to the Philippines topped $36
million in CY 1997, before falling off sharply in 1998
due to the economic downturn in the region. However,
exports through the first 4 months of 1999 reflect a
general recovery in the market from the previous
years drop-off. Industry sources estimate that
Florida grapefruit sales to the Philippines could reach
$3-5 million in the near to mid-term.
- U.S. Mint Oil Prices Remain Depressed
Due to Oversupply
- Recent press reports indicate that U.S.
mint producers, the majority of which are located in the
Pacific Northwest states of Washington, Oregon, and
Idaho, are having a difficult time selling their oils for
even as low as $8 a pound, continuing a downward trend in
prices. According to NASS, the price of peppermint oil
dropped to $11.60 per pound in 1998, down 10 percent from
the preceding year. Spearmint oil prices similarly
declined; down 8 percent from 1997 to 1998. According to
sources, mint growers and buyers are holding an estimated
3-4 million pounds of mint oil in storage. Mint oils are
mainly used in chewing gum, toothpaste, and mouthwashes.
One 55-gallon drum can flavor 5 million sticks of chewing
gum and 500,000 tubes of toothpaste. A few years ago,
growers responded to high mint oil prices by expanding
area, resulting in an oversupply. In 1998, growers
attempted to ease the situation, and the area harvested
for oil (peppermint and spearmint oil combined) declined
by 6 percent. However, very good yields for the crops
actually resulted in a 2-percent increase in production.
In addition to heavy domestic supplies, key foreign
producers have been expanding output, with China planting
record hectares of spearmint, and India increasing
production of peppermint. As a result, combined U.S.
exports of peppermint oil and spearmint oil dropped to
3,285 tons ($105 million) in 1998, a decline of nearly 4
percent in volume (value essentially unchanged) from the
- Vietnam Hikes Duties on a Range of
- According to a recent report from
FAS/Hanoi, Vietnam has announced further sweeping
increases in import duties for a number of agricultural
products, including several key horticultural
commodities. Effective April 20, tariffs on fresh &
dried fruits and tree nuts were increased from 30 percent
ad valorem to 40 percent. Since the lifting of the trade
embargo in February 1994, direct U.S. exports of
horticultural commodities to Vietnam have exhibited
encouraging, albeit modest growth. Total direct U.S.
horticultural exports to Vietnam in 1998 were valued at
$3.2 million, down 22 percent from 1997's total, due to
the effects of the regional financial crisis. Fresh fruit
sales, led by table grapes and apples, are an important
part of total U.S. horticultural product exports to
Vietnam, accounting for nearly 50 percent of the total
value of 1998 shipments. This latest action will further
hamper future direct shipments and likely spur an
increase in existing indirect trade, notably through
Singapore and Hong Kong.
- Italy and Greece to Lift Restrictions
on Citrus Imports
- On April 30, the European Commission
confirmed in writing that action in early May will result
in the lifting by Italy and Greece of their restrictions
on third country imports of citrus. This action will
allow U.S. lemons and oranges to enter those two
countries, and grapefruit to enter Greece (Italy had
previously permitted grapefruit only). Although this
restriction was to have been lifted in 1996, the two
countries had found technical reasons for delaying
action. During meetings held in Rome in October 1998, the
Italian Ministry of Agriculture indicated it was waiting
for the EU Commission to take certain technical action.
In follow up, an official U.S. communication delivered in
Brussels resulted in this favorable EU decision. U.S.
citrus producers in Florida and California are interested
in the potential niche markets afforded by the two
countries. As importantly, they will now be able to make
their future marketing efforts EU-wide in an effort to
expand their annual 460 million export sales, which have
been up to now mostly grapefruit.
Last modified: Thursday, April 06, 2000