World Trade Situation and Policy Updates
ITC Rules Imports of Chinese Apple Juice Injure U.S. Apple Juice Industry
On Monday, May 15, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) issued a final determination that the U.S. apple juice industry has been materially injured by imports of concentrated apple juice (CAJ) from China. This decision follows the Department of Commerces final ruling in April that Chinese apple juice was being sold into the U.S. market at less than fair value. At that time, final antidumping duties on imported CAJ imports from China ranging from 0 to 52 percent were established. The Department of Commerce will now instruct its Customs officials to assess the antidumping duties on all imports of Chinese non-frozen apple juice concentrate and it is expected that the final duties will take effect in approximately two weeks. Since the ITCs preliminary affirmative injury ruling on the case last July, U.S. imports of CAJ from China through February were off nearly 70 percent on a volume basis, and down 55 percent value basis, compared to the same period in the preceding year.
Mexicos New Documentation Requirements For Imported Apples Not Expected To Hamper U.S. Sales
The Mexican government published in the May 10 issue of the Diario Oficial new documentation requirements for some imported products, including apples. It is now mandatory that imported apples from the United States, Canada, and Chile include specific information on the invoice or import documents, such as tariff classification number, the variety, quality and grade specifications, and the size. The ostensible purpose of the new requirement is to better identify the product with regard to Mexicos reference price system. Mexico is the largest foreign customer for U.S. apples. In marketing year 1998/99 (July-June), U.S. apple exports to Mexico reached 119,528 metric tons, valued at $66 million, up 90 percent, both in quantity and in value, from the preceding year. The new import regulation is not expected to create problems for U.S. apple sales to Mexico, as a majority of exporters already include the above mentioned information on their invoices.
New Russian Import Regulation Could Boost U.S. Juice Exports To Russia
Effective on January 1, 2001, new standards and duties for juice imports will apply. The new standards distinguish between juices, nectars and other products, and require additional labeling information such as the name of the juice, its contents, and processing method. The import duties for juice concentrates were reduced from an average of 15 percent to 5 percent ad valorem. The value of U.S. fruit and vegetable juice exports to Russia has declined drastically in recent years. U.S. juice exports to Russia were valued at $5 million in calendar year (CY) 1994, but have since fallen to less than $30,000 in CY 1999. These new regulations are expected to spur increased U.S. juice sales to Russia.
National Organic Standards Board to Meet in June
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which grew out of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, is scheduled to meet June 6-7. It has six committees addressing issues related to crop standards, processing, labeling and packaging standards, livestock standards, accreditation, materials, and international trade. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Hilton Crystal City, 2399 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Va., from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET. Time has been scheduled for public comment on June 6, 1:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Those wishing to provide written or oral comments to the board on any organic issue should send requests to Toni Strother, USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP, Room 2510-So., Ag Stop 0268, P.O. Box 96456, Washington, D.C. 20090-6456, or fax (202) 205-7808 by June 2. For more information, call (202) 720-3252.
Mexico Requests Expansion of Hass Avocado Import Program
Mexico has asked USDA to consider expanding the number of states allowed to import Hassavocados and to increase the length of the shipping season. Under the current regulation, fresh Hass avocado fruit grown in approved orchards in approved municipalities in Michoacan, Mexico, may be imported into specified areas of the United States, subject to certain conditions. The regulation allows Mexican Hass avocados to be imported into the United States only during the months of November, December, January, and February and distributed only in the District of Columbia and the following northeastern states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Mexican agricultural officials have asked that the shipping season start one month earlier and end one month later. They have also requested that the United States consider allowing Hass avocados to be imported into additional northern-tier states that do not contain host material for any avocado-specific pests and have climatic conditions that do not support the establishment of fruit flies. The Mexican government has not yet identified the specific states that it believes might meet those criteria. For more information, contact Wayne D. Burnett, APHIS, at (301) 734-6799.
Trade Data Available Online for 67 Horticultural Commodities
The Horticultural & Tropical Products Division has introduced a new feature on its homepage designed to provide the public with U.S. export and import data on a calendar year and marketing year basis for 67 horticultural commodities. All trade files include five years of historical data as well as year-to-date trade data and can be viewed or saved in PDF or Lotus format. The data will be updated every month during the last week of each month. For further information on this new feature, please contact Karina Ramos at (202) 720-6877. To access the trade data go to /htp/ and click on "Trade Data."
USDA Introduces Online Import Authorization and Tracking System
On May 12, USDA launched a new feature on its new website that will allow customers to submit online applications to import fruits, vegetables, and animal products into the United States. Importers can access the site by going to APHIS' Home Page at www.aphis.usda.gov and clicking on Import Authorization System under hot issues. In addition to applying for import permits online, customers can also renew or amend existing applications. The site lists the guidelines and user fees needed to apply for an APHIS permit and includes an index of fruits, vegetables, and animal products that can be imported. After submitting an application, the site gives every customer a tracking number that can be used to check the status of their permit request. Because importers cannot sign their online applications before they submit them, online customers must sign their permits after they are issued.