Oct 30, 2014
China reopens market to U.S. Red, Golden Delicious

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has officially announced reinstatement of market access for Red and Golden Delicious apples from Washington state to China, effective immediately.

According to the Washington Apple Commission (WAC), shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August 2012, when the Chinese government refused to issue import permits to Chinese importers, citing concerns with a recently discovered fungus they claimed was not in China. After two years of negotiations between the two governments, a recent site visit by Chinese officials alleviated concerns of spreading the disease by mature, symptomless apples. The agreement reached between the two governments calls for stepped-up control measures through improved horticultural, packing and sampling procedures in Washington.

China, although the world’s largest apple producer, is also a major market for Washington apples, and eclipsed 3 million 40-pound cartons (54,446 metric tons) during the 2010-11 marketing year, making it the industry’s fourth largest export market that season, according to WAC.

“Clearly China has great potential for Washington apples, with an increasing middle class willing to purchase high-quality apples.” said Todd Fryhover, WAC’s president. “This year, with our record crop, Chinese consumers will again have the opportunity to enjoy Washington apples, and our growers will have access to this important growth market.”

Washington state produces more than 90 percent of U.S. apple exports, according to WAC.

“Regaining this important market and expanding access to all varieties from all states is a top priority for USApple and the entire industry,” said Jim Bair, president of the U.S. Apple Association.

U.S. and Chinese officials plan to meet in San Francisco in January, where expanded access to China for all U.S. apples – as well as China’s request for access to the U.S. market – will be front and center, according to USApple.

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