EU canker protocols, as well as difficulties transporting fruit to Asia are among problems frustrating Florida’s fresh citrus exports. The canker protocols that the EU has imposed for accepting Florida fruit are not based on science, said Dan Richey of Riverfront Packing Company, who is heavily involved in international trade issues on behalf of Florida’s citrus industry.
“We have done everything to get that (the protocols) removed,” he said. While the protocols still create a problem for Florida exporters, some progress has been made with the EU on the issue over the years, he added.
Richey said, regarding fresh shipments to Asia: “It’s no secret we have transportation issues.” He explained that there are now no direct shipments of fresh fruit from Florida to Asia, and that shipping time to the Far East has doubled from 30 days previously to 60 days now. Fresh fruit shippers will pay two or three times as much to ship to Asia as they did a few years ago, he said. He added that ports are congested in many places worldwide. On the plus side, Richey reported that the EU has suspended for five years a 26.5% tariff on grapefruit. He also said Florida fresh fruit might fetch a premium price as a result of Texas’ supply of citrus being greatly reduced by a freeze early this year.