Apr 18, 2007
India Agrees to Delay New Rules for Apple Exporters

India has agreed to delay a new trade rule, which should give apple exporters time to adjust, according to a release from the Washington Apple Commission.

The Indian government has developed new rules on the use and labeling of edible, natural wax on fruit. The rules were to go into effect at the end of March and could have severely disrupted the international apple trade.

India has agreed to postpone the effective date of the new regulations until Jan. 1, 2008, giving exporters enough time to make the necessary adjustments to their packing operations.

Northwest Fruit Exporters has been working on the issue for the Washington Apple Commission, and other industry groups were working to delay implementation of the new rules.

“India is a rapidly growing market for Washington’s apple producers,” said Dave Carlson, commission president. “An immediate implementation of these regulations would have been a real blow to our exports there this year.”

Christine Gregoire, Washington’s governor, met with Ronen Sen, Indian ambassador to the United States, to discuss the issue March 6. The governor also wrote a follow-up letter underscoring the importance of delaying the new wax regulations.

“This is great news for Washington,” Gregoire said. “Apples are one of our largest exports, and the early implementation of these rules would have had a severe impact on our apple growers. It is clear that building and maintaining relationships with our trading partners can benefit our growers.”

“We appreciate the governor’s positive involvement,” Carlson said. “By communicating with Indian officials at all levels, both here and abroad, we were able to get the outcome we needed.”

The use of wax preserves the freshness, flavor and appearance of apples. The commonly accepted practice meets international food safety standards.

According to USDA, apple exports to India grew 20 percent in 2006. Apple producers shipped nearly $22.5 million in fruit to India last year. Washington produces 62 percent of the nation’s apples and more than 90 percent of its exported apples, according to the Washington Apple Commission.

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