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US representatives respond differently to citrus imports from China

Representatives of the California and Florida fresh citrus industries had distinctly different reactions to the announcement that some fresh citrus from China can now be imported into the United States. quoted California Citrus Mutual President Casey Creamer as saying: “We don’t anticipate any major disruptions in our fresh markets. It is not anticipated that much volume will come to the U.S.”

But Florida industry representatives Dan Richey and Peter Chaires expressed strong disappointment with the announcement. Their primary concern is the risk of pest and disease spread to the U.S. citrus industry.

The import authorization for five types of citrus from China came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS will allow pomelo, Nanfeng honey mandarin, ponkan, sweet orange and Satsuma mandarin fruit to be imported to the United States. APHIS stated that those varieties “can be safely imported into the United States under a systems approach to protect against the introduction of plant pests.” The import authorization came as part of a Phase One trade agreement between the United States and China.

Creamer said, “We will monitor closely and work with APHIS to address any pest detection issues.” He added that as part of the agreement, “China has agreed to purchase more agricultural products, which includes citrus. We have also received a reduction in the retaliatory tariffs as part of the Phase One deal.”

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