Washington, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that China is lifting its suspension of red and golden delicious apple imports from Washington State. The Chinese market for Washington apples was valued at $6.5 million in calendar year 2011.
'USDA employees worked closely with the apple industry and China over a long period of time to achieve this market access,' said Secretary Tom Vilsack. 'We continue cultivating a strong relationship with China and paving the way for future bilateral trading opportunities.'
In 2012, China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) suspended access for Washington red and golden delicious apples due to the repeated interception of three apple pests AQSIQ considers significant: speck rot, bull's-eye rot, and Sphaeropsis rot. To lift this suspension, USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) worked with the U.S. apple industry to develop additional safeguarding measures that address China's concerns about these pests. Some of these new measures include cold storage of apples and visual inspection of apples prior to shipping to ensure there is no evidence of disease. USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service also worked closely with industry stakeholders to ensure the successful outcome.
This market access success comes as the United States and China continue to work to normalize trade in apples. Ongoing efforts include negotiating access for all U.S. apples to the Chinese market, as well as the safe U.S. importation of apples grown in China.
USDA remains a strong partner and advocate in the international marketplace, working with foreign governments and international regulatory or standard-setting organizations to ensure the smooth flow of international trade. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama's National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014. APHIS also ensures that all imported agricultural products meet the Agency's entry requirements to exclude pests and diseases of agriculture.