After record season, United States opens new ports to South African citrus exports

Published date:
Tuesday, 19 January 2021

The United States government has announced the opening up of several new ports for the import for citrus products from South Africa, further facilitating two-way trade with South Africa.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published a final notice in the U.S. Federal Register on November 5th [see document alongside] approving the use of additional ports options for South African citrus growers.  

Previously, the South African citrus industry was limited to the use of only four ports and had long sought access to other U.S. ports.  

With this announcement, exports will be allowed to any U.S. port that has cold storage facilities, including the strategically important ports of Charleston, South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia.

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks commented on the announcement, saying “The opening of these new ports of destination for citrus, a move the U.S. Mission in South Africa has been advocating for, will help facilitate trade between our two countries going forward, providing flexibility to U.S. retailers and wholesalers, lowering transportation costs, and broadening the reach of South African citrus to other regions within the U.S. market.”

Justin Chadwick, the CEO of the South African Citrus Growers Association, welcomed the news, adding that “The opening up of all ports to South African citrus fruits means that this high quality, vitamin C rich fruit can now reach many more consumers in the United States.  We would like to thank all those who made this possible, including the U.S. Embassy and the South African Embassy in Washington.

In 2020, according to Summer Citrus from South Africa, South Africa shipped a record amount of over 77 000 tons of citrus to the United States, 68% more than in 2019.  South African farmers ship citrus duty-free to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference program.


See comments received during the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) investigation at this link


 

 right arrow  APHIS Statement:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced today that it is authorizing the importation of cold-treated fresh citrus fruit from South Africa into all U.S. ports of entry. After careful review, APHIS scientists determined that citrus fruit from South Africa, which is cold treated in transit, can safely enter all U.S. ports of entry without increasing the risk of introducing the false coddling moth or other pests of concern.

Previously, APHIS restricted the entry of cold-treated citrus fruit from South Africa to four U.S. ports that have cold treatment facilities. This restriction gave us the option of cold treating the fruit should the in-transit treatment not be completed prior to arrival.

APHIS’ decision is based on the findings of a commodity import evaluation document (CIED) that the agency made available to the public for review and comment through a previous notice. APHIS also conducted intensive inspections for false codling moth on citrus from South Africa over a two-year period at the four previously authorized ports: Newark, New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Houston, Texas.

During that time, more than 2,000 shipments of citrus were imported with no detections of live false codling moth.

This action is not expected to significantly increase the volume of citrus imports from South Africa.

This decision harmonizes the entry conditions for cold-treated citrus fruit from South Africa with those of other cold-treated commodities. It will go into effect following publication in the Federal Register on November 5, 2020. APHIS will list the revised conditions in the Fruits and Vegetables Import Requirements database here: https://epermits.aphis.usda.gov/manual. To view the notice, pest list, CIED, economic evaluation assessment, and the comments that we received, go to: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=APHIS-2018-0091.

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