The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced a proposed regulatory change that may increase South Africa’s opportunity to export citrus to the United States. On August 28, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced a proposed rule that would expand the regions of South Africa that would be eligible for citrus export into the United States, provided growers implement requirements laid out in the proposed rule to mitigate black spot disease (CBS).
In the United States, CBS is not viewed as a threat if citrus is properly mitigated. If finalized, the proposed rule would allow an expansion of eligible areas and further the potential for South African growers to export to the U.S. market. This proposed rule change follows earlier regulatory changes USDA made in March 2013 that already permitted faster shipments of South African citrus. South African overall agricultural exports to the United States have doubled over the past year to over 2.5 billion Rand ($250 million USD).
The proposed change in U.S. import regulations is in response to a request submitted by the South African government. By U.S. regulation, the proposed changes have been published and all stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments within 60 days of the original APHIS announcement on August 28. All comments will be considered before issuing the final rule.
“South African agricultural products are world class and we welcome them into our markets. This proposed rule shows yet again that we are willing to assist in making sure that South African growers have market access to the United States, while taking into account the proper science-based phytosanitary standards,” said Patrick H. Gaspard, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa.
The full text of the Stakeholder Announcement is located here and reprinted below:
The full text of the Federal Register Notice is located here:
Importation of Fresh Citrus Fruit from the Republic of South Africa into the Continental United States
United States Department of Agriculture
The citrus varieties will be coming from areas of the Republic of South Africa where citrus black spot has been known to occur so they will need to meet the following conditions of entry:
- Produced in accordance with a systems approach that would include shipment traceability, packinghouse registration and procedures, and phytosanitary treatment;
- Required to be imported in commercial consignments and accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant protection organization of the Republic of South Africa;
- Has an additional declaration confirming that the fruit has been produced in accordance with the systems approach.
We are taking this action in response to a market access request submitted by the Republic of South Africa. This action is in accordance with our obligations under the International Plant Protection Convention and the Plant Protection Act, consistent with domestic restrictions on the interstate movement of citrus from areas quarantined for citrus pests, including CBS, and does not compromise our protection against the introduction of plant pests into the United States.
There will be a 60 day comment period for this proposed rule. We encourage all stakeholder to submit their comments during this proposed rule’s 60 day comment period. All comments will be considered before issuing the final rule.
Stakeholder Liaison, APHIS
Legislative and Public Affairs