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Pesticide residue testing
All US fruit detained upon arrival in China for seven days
Effective immediately, China's Customs has been instructed to detain and inspect all US fruit shipments for seven days upon arrival into China for pesticide residue testing. A shipment of Washington apples in ShenZheng port was rejected on Saturday and sent back to the US.
Previously only 30% of American shipment where tested at random, now this number has been increased to 100%. Other countries of which currently all 100% of shipments are inspected are Peru and Australia, due to past quarantine issues.
According to Chinese importers, China Customs has strengthened the visual inspection of all US fruit to find traces of for example bugs or rot. If traces are found, the shipments will be hold for lab tests. In case these tests are proven positive, the shipment will be returned to the US or destroyed.
Lab tests may take between 2 days up to 2 weeks.
“The majority of Chinese buyers are taking a ‘wait and see’ position at the moment,” says an industry source. “They are concerned about China rejecting shipments that do pass the pesticide residue tests.” China Customers has limited cooler space and products may be stored outside in unrefrigerated conditions. This could result in deterioration and product being lost. Many sea and air shipments are at risk with a seven-day retention.
Impact on California cherry season
This new regulation could have a significant impact on the California cherry season that starts next week and relies heavily on exports to China. It may even impact the Washington cherry season that starts up in a few weeks. “I think the situation may depress domestic cherry markets, including an influx of more Washington cherries into Canada,” a cherry grower-shipper said. “Canadian export prices should strengthen, but the US market will be hurt.”
The industry source added that a same situation happened with the Philippines a few years ago as a result of tensions between China and the Philippines over the South China Sea. Tomorrow, US-China trade talks are taking place in Beijing and Dalian Yidu Group, one of the biggest importers in China, is hopeful the situation will diffuse after Tuesday’s meetings. “Hopefully, the State Fruit Commissions will also be able to play a role in solving the problem.”
CIQ used to directly operate under The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). In March earlier this year, China’s National People’s Congress dismantled AQSIQ as part of the most comprehensive government restructure in nearly 50 years. Any new protocols seem to be on hold indefinitely, or until the establishment of a State Market Regulatory Administration (SMRA). The SMRA will eventually adopt the tasks and responsibilities of the AQSIQ. For now, China Customs is in charge of fruit and vegetable imports and inspections.
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