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India bans Chinese apple and pear imports, the upshot is hopeful

May 08, 2017

According to an official statement from the Indian government, a complete halt of Chinese apple and pear imports will take effect on June 1. Testing of recent imports of Chinese apples and pears indicated the presence of harmful microorganisms Pseudococcus Comstocki and Fusarium Oxysporum.

The Indian Ministry of Agriculture wrote to the Chinese Inspection and Quarantine Bureau reporting the situation at the beginning of this month. The written statement expressed, on May 31 of this year, the Indian National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) reported the documentation of 26 contaminated batches Chinese apples and pears to the relevant Chinese department. Chinese officials did not provide a response, however.

Recently, Indian officials yet again discovered harmful microorganisms present with Chinese apples and pears. Given that the situation has not improved, India has decided to halt the import of apples and pears from China. India has not only required Chinese exporters to provide measures to resolve the contaminants issue, but also disclose the approval process of fruit export packaging factories. Moreover, the NPPO proposed a Chinese delegation be sent to inspect the implementation of the measures outlined above.

Some analysts suggest constraints to China’s apple imports is a restrictive measure to halt the inrush of Chinese apples into Indian markets. Data suggests India imported approximately 170,000 tons of apples between October 2016 and April 2017— Chinese apples comprised 70% of those imports. In fact, India is the largest importer of Chinese apples. In 2016, China exported 125,000 tons of apples to India comprising more than half of India’s total apple imports. According to this season’s predictions, India will import roughly 300,000 tons of apples, 200,000 of which will be imported from China.

Fortunately, for Chinese apple and pear exporters, this season is already nearing its end. As a result, the ban will not have a great effect on China’s apple exports, at least not for this season. Many apple producers are speeding up the shipping process before the ban is rectified. For the future of apple exports to India, American and New Zealand apple exporters are anticipating to benefit from this Chinese apple embargo. Some analysts, however, have reservation about the ban’s implications. Regardless, this season’s relatively large supply of apples in Chinese markets will force inventory levels to increase.

There is a reasonable amount of time before the next apple export season arrives. Chinese apple exporters anticipate a solution to the apple ban will be worked out ahead of time. India’s heightened import restrictions demonstrate a trend amongst countries strengthening their inspection and quarantine requirements. This trend, in the same way, necessitates domestic fruit exporters to cope with export risks by improving the quality and safety management levels of their products.

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