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USDA Approves Imports of Five Types of Chinese Citrus

April 17, 2020

On April 14, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Agency issued a public statement authorizing the import of five commercially produced citrus fruits from China. Following in-depth analysis, APHIS scientists determined that Chinese pomelos, Nanfeng tangerines, ponkan tangerines, sweet oranges and Wenzhou tangerines could be safely imported into the U.S. after undergoing systematic plant pest screening.

This systematic approach requires growers, packers and shippers to implement a series of measures that together minimize the risk of pests. These measures include limiting imports to commercial shipments only, registering production sites and packaging plants, certifying that imports are free of harmful organisms, employing fruit fly traps, regularly inspecting production sites and performing appropriate disinfection and disposal of harvest waste.

According to data from China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the scale of the Chinese citrus industry has seen continuous growth in recent years, with the cultivation area increasing from 12.6 million hectares in 2011 to almost 15.8 million hectares in 2018. Output similarly increased from 28.6 to 41.3 million metric tons over the same period.

According to data from Chinese customs, Chinese citrus exports reached 919,000 metric tons in 2017 with a total value of $1.24 billion. ASEAN countries are reportedly the largest market for Chinese citrus exports. In 2017, 62.6% of China’s citrus export volume went to five ASEAN countries, namely, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines. Hong Kong and the Netherlands also import a considerable quantity of citrus products from China. Currently, Chinese citrus exports to North America principally go to Canada, with annual exports ranging between 100 and 300 metric tons.

In 2014, the USDA conducted an industry opinion poll regarding the access of Chinese citrus to the U.S. market and found this move to be strongly opposed by citrus growers in California and Florida. In May 2019, opposition remained strong when the USDA consulted the industry on the risk of Chinese citrus pests.

Image: Pixabay

This article was translated from Chinese. Read the original article.

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