As you face the challenges of conducting international business, we provide assistance with issues related to import and export trade. Western Growers tackles a wide range of obstacles affecting export markets so your business can succeed in the global marketplace.
Office of Agricultural Affairs, Rome
U.S. Embassy, Rome
Covers the countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Malta and Serbia
Country specific data deemed reliable but not guaranteed. The information for Brazil was last updated Thursday, November 5th.
Listed 2012-2014: In December 2010, Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA) published Normative Instruction 36 (Norma 36), a regulation establishing burdensome and extensive treatments and seed testing requirements for the importation of 118 seed species into Brazil. Following coordinated engagement by the U.S. Government, the U.S. seed industry, and other trading partners of Brazil, MAPA amended Norma 36 in February 2011, allowing for inspection of seed fields instead of laboratory testing as originally described in the regulation. MAPA has postponed the implementation of additional declarations, which were of concern to trading partners, while it developed the pest list for each species of seed.
On May 10, 2012, MAPA notified the WTO of the modified regulation with a list of pests associated with the regulated seeds (now reduced to 69 seed species). Brazil provided for a comment period of 60 days. APHIS submitted comments and concerns on July 6, 2012. On October 30, 2012, MAPA published the Normative Instruction 24-2012, which postponed the enforcement of the additional declarations established by Norma 36 for another year, until December 1, 2013, to provide MAPA time to finish reviewing the comments it received. In September 2013, Brazil released another version of this proposed rule and recently extended the comment period until April 1, 2014. MAPA has also postponed the implementation of additional declarations, which were of concern to trading partners. A new version of the normative instruction, which associates seed species from each exporting country with pests of concern to Brazil, was communicated to trade partners on October 2013.
Office of Agricultural Affairs, Beijing
U.S. Embassy, Beijing
Agricultural Trade Office, Beijing
U.S. Embassy, Beijing
Agricultural Trade Office, Chengdu
U.S. Consulate General, Chengdu
Agricultural Trade Office, Guangzhou
U.S. Consulate General, Guangzhou
Agricultural Trade Office, Shanghai
U.S. Consulate General, Shanghai
Agricultural Trade Office, Shenyang
U.S. Consulate General, Shenyang
(011-86-24) 2318-1380 / 2318-1338
Office of Agricultural Affairs, San José
U.S. Embassy, San José
Covers the countries of Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Panama
(011-506) 2519-2028; 2519-2334; or 2519-2333
Country specific data deemed reliable but not guaranteed. The information for Hong Kong was last updated Friday, November 6th.
Listed 2014: Hong Kong is in the midst of a transition to a positive pesticide MRL list, which is scheduled to go into effect on August 1, 2014. The United States has submitted several rounds of comments to Hong Kong regarding the transition and has identified numerous U.S.-approved pesticides that were missing from Hong Kong’s provisional positive MRL list. As a result of U.S. efforts, numerous MRLs for U.S.-approved pesticides have been included on Hong Kong’s national MRL list, but there remain a significant number of U.S.-approved pesticides for which MRLs have not yet been established in Hong Kong. The United States will continue to engage with Hong Kong during this transition to determine what additional data is needed for Hong Kong to set MRLs for U.S.-approved pesticides, and will work with relevant authorities to obtain tolerances for the remaining U.S.-approved pesticides prior to Hong Kong’s implementation date.
Office of Agricultural Affairs, Cairo
U.S. Embassy, Cairo
Covers the countries of Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria
(011-202) 2797-2388 or 2797-2389
Apples and Pears
Listed 2010-2014: In March 2009, Israel’s Plant Protection and Inspection Service informed the United States that U.S. apples and pears would be subject to new cold treatment requirements to mitigate the risks of two pests, the apple maggot and the plum curculio. Israel has not conducted a PRA, and these pests have not been found in shipments from the United States. In 2012, Israel agreed to remove the cold treatment requirement for U.S. pears shipped in a firm state. Experts from USDA and Israel continue to work on an appropriate additional declaration to accompany the export certificates for pears. Regarding U.S. apples, originally Israel had approved four cold treatment methods, one of which was approved as an interim measure. Israel notified USDA in October 2013 that the one treatment that was approved as an interim measure would be unavailable until Israel receives, reviews, and accepts research data from cold treatment efficacy trials, which are currently underway. As a result, exporters to Israel must use one of remaining three methods of cold treatment to minimize the risks
Listed 2010-2014: For nearly nine years, Israel has banned imports of U.S. sweet cherries, citing risks of various plant pests and diseases. U.S. officials are working with Israel to complete Israel’s risk assessment on sweet cherries in an attempt to resolve this longstanding issue. During technical bilateral meetings in August 2010, Israel agreed to expedite its risk assessment for U.S. sweet cherries. To date, however, the issue remains unresolved.
Listed 2010-2011: Israel bans imports of U.S. table grapes citing various plant pests and diseases of concern. U.S. officials are working with Israel to complete its risk assessment on table grapes in an attempt to resolve this long standing issue, which has blocked U.S. exports for nearly five years. During technical bilateral meetings in August 2010, Israel agreed to expedite the risk assessment for U.S. table grapes.
Office of Agricultural Affairs, Tokyo
U.S. Embassy, Tokyo
Agricultural Trade Office, Osaka
U.S. Consulate General, Osaka
Agricultural Trade Office, Tokyo
U.S. Embassy, Tokyo
Pre and Post Harvest Fungicides
Listed 2010-2014: Until 2013, Japan maintained a bifurcated approval process for fungicides applied both before and after harvest. Fungicides applied pre-harvest are classified under Japanese law as pesticides and, before 2013, had to be approved through the approval process for pesticides. Fungicides that are applied post‐harvest are classified as food additives and, before 2013, had to be approved pursuant to the process used for approval of food additives. Accordingly, any fungicide used both pre- and post-harvest was required to undergo two separate risk assessments. The bifurcated approval process for fungicides applied both pre- and post-harvest was redundant and took as many as six years to complete. The requirement for dual risk assessments deterred registrants from pursuing approval for new and safe products. While significantly impacting U.S. exports, Japan’s dual risk assessment requirement did not have a significant impact on domestic producers, as Japanese farmers do not generally apply fungicides after harvest.
Japan’s pre-2013 policy appeared to be inconsistent with Codex standards and widely-accepted procedures among countries with robust pesticide regulatory systems. Countries assessing the risk posed by a fungicide generally perform a single risk assessment, which takes into account the manner in which the fungicide is applied and focuses on the characteristics of the residue and the amount of residue present, regardless of the time of application to the crop.
In the fall of 2013, Japan announced a new streamlined review process for agricultural chemicals, including fungicides, applied both as pesticides (pre‐harvest application) and as food additives (post-harvest application). Under the revised system, in line with international norms, Japanese officials will conduct a single risk assessment focusing on the characteristics of the agricultural chemical itself instead of the time of application to the crop. The revised process is expected to significantly reduce the length of time taken by regulatory reviews. The United States will work with Japan during the implementation of the new review process.
Although Japan has stopped conducting bifurcated reviews of applications for approvals of fungicides, the United States remains concerned that Japan requires products treated with a postharvest fungicide to be labeled at the point of sale with a statement indicating that they have been so treated. This unnecessary labeling requirement dampens demand for the products.
Maximum Residue Limits
Listed 2010-2014: Prior to 2013, Japan’s refusal to accept an application for an import tolerance for a pesticide or fungicide until the agrochemical was approved for use in a major supplier country exacerbated the risk of disruptions in U.S. exports to Japan by causing a significant time lag between U.S. approval of a chemical and Japan’s establishment of an import tolerance for that chemical. In May 2013, however, Japan announced that going forward, it would accept an import tolerance application for a pesticide or fungicide regardless of whether an MRL for the pesticide or fungicide has been set in the country that is the source of the application, as long as the core risk assessment is completed. With this change in policy, agrochemical companies submitting registration applications with U.S.-EPA became able to apply simultaneously for import tolerances in Japan.
In July 2009, the United States and Japan concluded an MOU on MRLs that changed the way in which MRL violations are handled. Pursuant to the MOU, Japan established a mechanism under its import and food monitoring policy for shippers to address violations quickly. While there has been improvement in how Japan handles MRL violations, the United States remains concerned that Japan’s procedures still require industry-wide enhanced surveillance of shipments of a product after a single violation by a single shipper.
Fresh and Chipping Potatoes
Listed 2011-2014: Until January 2006, Japan banned all imports of fresh potatoes from the United States due to phytosanitary concerns. On February 1, 2006, Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) and USDA reached an agreement to allow limited imports of U.S. fresh potatoes from 13 states to produce potato chips. The agreement allowed shipments only to a single chipping facility in Japan and provided for a shipping period of just five months (February to June). In 2010, Japan added the state of Washington to the list of U.S. states eligible to ship chipping potatoes to Japan. In 2011, MAFF extended the eligible shipping period to include July. In 2012, the United States secured MAFF’s approval of two additional U.S. states (Nevada and Montana) as eligible potato shipping states which significantly contributed to the increase on imports of U.S. fresh potatoes during that year.
In 2011, the Japanese government also approved a second potato processing facility to receive U.S. chipping potatoes. This plant was in the Kagoshima Port area, and its approval has doubled Japan’s capacity to process U.S. chipping potatoes. However, Kagoshima does not have an international port and so currently U.S. potatoes must be transported on a feeder vessel. The U.S. potato industry and Japanese processors remain extremely interested in securing approval for the overland transportation of potatoes from an international port to the Kagoshima facility. At bilateral discussions in August 2013, Japan indicated that approval could occur for all overland routes, and thus for shipment to all Japanese potato processing facilities, but this has not yet occurred. Approval for overland transportation of U.S. potatoes will reduce the cost of transporting them to Japanese processing facilities and will clear the way for the processing of potatoes at non-port processing facilities. The United States will continue to engage with the government of Japan on this issue.
Listed 2012: Japan currently prohibits the importation of pears from the United States due to concerns about fire blight, a bacterial disease. The United States continues to urge Japan to acknowledge that mature, symptomless fruit produced under commercial conditions has not been shown to transmit the disease, and to allow imports of U.S. pears on that basis.
Access for Non Fumigated Cherries
Listed 2011: Since the commonly‐used methyl bromide fumigations on fresh cherries cause significant damage to the quality of the fruit and shorten the product’s shelf life, the U.S. industry, USDA, and the government of Japan began discussing the possibility of implementing a plant health protocol under which Japan would no longer require methyl‐bromide fumigation for U.S. fresh cherries. In 2009, the United States and Japan reached an agreement on a protocol allowing the Pacific Northwest region (Washington and Oregon) to ship fresh cherries to Japan without fumigation. The region’s successful implementation of this protocol is now in its second year. In 2010, the United States and Japan finalized a similar protocol for California. U.S. officials are currently working with their Japanese counterparts to incorporate Idaho into the current Pacific Northwest protocol.
New Cherry Varieties
Listed 2010-2013: U.S. cherries can currently be exported to Japan subject to either fumigation treatment or a systems approach of phytosanitary safeguards. Japan does not maintain varietal restrictions for cherries imported in accordance with systems approach safeguards. However, with regard to fumigation treatments, Japan only approves imports of new fresh cherry varieties based on individual fumigation trials. This burdensome process, which involves testing the efficacy of fumigation treatments for each separate variety, restricts the entry of new cherry varieties into the Japanese market. The United States is urging Japan to accept fresh sweet cherries as a single commodity under a single fumigation protocol, which would mean that all varieties may be imported without the need for separate testing. The United States continues to urge rapid resolution of this concern.
Office of Agricultural Affairs, Mexico City
U.S. Embassy, Mexico City
Agricultural Trade Office, Mexico City
(011-52-55) 5080-2000 x.5282
Agricultural Trade Office, Monterrey
U.S. Consulate General, Monterrey
Listed 2010-2011: In 2006, the United States requested New Zealand to expand its import health standard for California stone fruit to include fruit from the Pacific Northwest. New Zealand issued a draft PRA in March 2009. The United States and New Zealand have consulted extensively on this draft PRA since then, including in October 2010. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has nearly completed consultations with domestic and U.S. stakeholders and is expected to issue a final risk assessment in 2011. The next stage of the process is the development of an import health standard, which is expected to be completed in 2011.
Office of Agricultural Affairs, Manila
U.S. Embassy, Manila
Market Access for U.S. Vegetables
Listed 2011-2013: The United States is concerned with the length of time that it takes for the Philippines to complete PRAs for fresh vegetables. The United States requested the Philippines to perform PRAs for U.S.-grown broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, carrots, cabbage, and celery in 2006, and a PRA for U.S. fresh potatoes in 2009. The Department of Agriculture (DA) provided its PRAs for these products to the United States in May 2011, and USDA is currently evaluating them. Until the entire PRA process, including agreement on the PRA results and pest mitigations, is completed for each product, the DA will only allow a limited amount of these vegetables to enter the country, on a case-by-case basis, for “high-end markets,” such as hotels, restaurants, and airline companies.
SPS Import Clearance
Listed 2014: The Philippines Department of Agriculture requires importers to obtain an SPS permit prior to shipment for any agricultural product and transmit the permit to the exporter. This requirement adds costs, complicates the timing of exports, and prevents the transshipment of products to the Philippines originally intended for other markets. It also prevents an exporter from reselling product if the importer refuses to accept delivery or abandons the shipment. The United States will continue to engage with the Philippines to address this issue.
Import Permits may be requested from the following:
The Director, Plant Health Services
Directorate Plant and Quality Control
Private Bag X258
Contact: Mr. Mike Holtzhausen, Deputy Director
Phone: 27 12 3196100/3196114
Fax: 27 12 31961-1
California Table Grapes
Listed 2012-2013: South Africa suspended imports of table grapes from California due to concerns over two plant pests: the European grapevine moth and the light brown apple moth. The California Department of Agriculture and USDA have implemented comprehensive quarantine programs to prevent the dissemination of these pests in California and throughout the United States, as well as to ensure that consignments of exported table grapes are free of both pests. The United States has asked South Africa to reconsider its suspension of table grape imports from California given the phytosanitary mitigation measures currently in place. In addition, the United States and South Africa are reviewing options to harmonize both countries’ mitigation measures for mites inspection rather than using fumigation.
Listed 2010: Sri Lanka currently bans imports of U.S. seed potatoes. USDA and Sri Lanka’s Department of Agriculture officials are currently in technical discussions to resolve this issue. In July 2009, USDA requested Sri Lanka to consider a virus tolerance of two percent for all viruses, and allow import of G4 and G5 seed potatoes if they meet certain high level standards.
Maximum Residue Limits for Pesticides
Listed 2010-2014: Taiwan’s slow and cumbersome process for adopting MRLs for pesticides has resulted in a substantial backlog of MRL applications and is creating a significant level of uncertainty within the U.S. agricultural export industry. Since 2006, this backlog has resulted in the rejection of various U.S. agricultural shipments (e.g., cherries, apples, wheat, barley, strawberries, potatoes, almonds, peaches and nectarines) due to the detection of pesticide or other crop protection compound residue levels that are within U.S. or Codex standards, but for which Taiwan has not yet established MRLs.
While the United States is encouraged by Taiwan’s ongoing efforts to work through the backlog of MRL applications, shipments of U.S. agricultural products remain at risk of rejection due to the absence of MRLs for some commonly used pesticides, which have already undergone rigorous health and safety review in the United States. U.S. agricultural products that rely on newer, safer alternatives to older pesticides that are being phased out in the United States are particularly at risk of being rejected.
The United States is working closely with U.S. stakeholders to gather appropriate data for technical engagement with Taiwan to facilitate Taiwan’s establishment of MRLs for these newer, safer compounds. The United States continues to engage with Taiwan to reach a solution.
Listed 2010-2013: Under the current export work plan for the shipment of U.S. apples to Taiwan, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) imposes a strict “three strikes” penalty structure for codling moth (CM) detections, where Taiwan will bar all imports of U.S. apples for the remainder of a shipping season if there are three confirmed detections of live CMs. APHIS and BAPHIQ have met on numerous occasions to discuss this issue and the work plan has been modified to include a 2-week grace period following each CM detection. This means that any CM detections that occur within the 2-week grace period do not count as an additional “strike.” However, each year the U.S. apple trade is faced with the possibility that the fourth largest market for U.S. apples may suddenly close, creating significant uncertainty among U.S. producers. U.S. apple exports to Taiwan totaled $85.0 million in calendar year 2012, about eight percent of total U.S. apple exports.
In October 2006, APHIS provided Taiwan with research demonstrating that the risk associated with CM transmission and establishment in Taiwan via U.S.-origin apples is extremely low. This research document was used in discussions with Taiwan counterparts in 2011 as additional modifications to the current “three strikes” penalty structure were negotiated. APHIS will continue discussions with BAPHIQ on the technical aspects of coddling moth risk and modifications to the penalty structure of the work plan to eliminate the threat of market closure in 2013.
Listed 2012-2013: Taiwan currently limits imports of fresh potatoes from the United States to those grown in Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. These restrictions exclude major producing states, including Colorado. In 2002, the United States requested that Taiwan add Colorado to the list of eligible states. In January 2013, Taiwan promulgated new regulations that should allow the importation of table stock potatoes from Colorado sometime in 2013.
Listed 2012-2014: Uruguay represents an important market for U.S. seed potatoes. In 2012, U.S. and Uruguayan technical agencies implemented an optional pre-sampling protocol for exporters of U.S. seed potatoes. Under this protocol, shipments are pre-screened to facilitate the agricultural inspection process at the Uruguayan ports-of-entry, which reduces the chances that U.S. shipments are delayed or rejected due to plant pest and disease concerns. Nevertheless, Uruguay’s tolerance level for a fungus that causes powdery scab remains a concern for U.S. exporters because it appears to be set at an inappropriately low level. The United States will continue to work with Uruguay to address outstanding concerns relating to Uruguay’s existing tolerance levels.
Products of Plant Origin
Listed 2013-2014: In July 2011, Vietnam began enforcing new regulations on imported goods of plant origin. The United States has raised concerns regarding exporter registration requirements, sampling rates, and the coverage of MRLs. The United States will continue to work with Vietnam to address its concerns.
The Global MRL Database is an Internet accessible electronic database containing global chemical regulatory standards and data, including maximum residue limits (“MRLs”) for various chemicals in agricultural crops that are applicable in certain legal jurisdictions.
Western Growers is my first call when faced with an international trade issue demanding immediate attention
– Chad Amaral D’Arrigo Bros Co of California