USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that California citrus farmers will be able to resume exports to China this season. California citrus exports are valued at $30 million annually.
“Resuming trade before the start of the 2014 citrus shipping season is the result of a lot of effort by a number of USDA employees, who worked very closely with their foreign counterparts to resolve China’s concerns,” said Vilsack. “Their extra effort means California citrus growers can once again ship to this important market.”
A series of scientific exchanges between USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine (AQSIQ) resulted in an agreement for California citrus to again be exported to China. APHIS and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service worked closely with the U.S. citrus industry to ensure the successful outcome.
In April 2013, California-origin citrus was suspended from entering the Chinese market due to interceptions of brown rot (Phytophthora syringae), a soil fungus that affects stored fruit. Over the next year, USDA worked with China to address China’s plant health concerns and reopen the market for California citrus exports. Noting the importance of the Chinese market for U.S. citrus producers, Vilsack raised the issue with Chinese officials during the U.S./China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade in December 2013.
In April 2014, APHIS and AQSIQ officials met to discuss a proposed work plan that included protocols to effectively reduce the pest risk on citrus product shipped to China. As a result of these discussions