Washington Apples to Restart Shipments to China

After more than two years without access to China for Washington Red and Golden Delicious apples, USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service officially announced reinstatement of market access for apples from Washington state to China, effective immediately.

Shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August of 2012, when the Chinese government refused to issue import permits to Chinese importers, citing concerns with a recently discovered fungus they claimed was not in China.

After two years of negotiations between the two governments, a recent site visit by Chinese Plant Quarantine officials — supported by APHIS, Northwest Fruit Exporters, Northwest Horticultural Council and industry members — was able to alleviate concerns of spreading the disease by mature, symptomless apples. The agreement calls for stepped-up control measures through improved horticultural, packing and sampling procedures in Washington.

China, although the world's largest apple producer, is also a major market for Washington apples, and eclipsed 3 million 40-pound cartons during the 2010-11 marketing year, making it the industry's fourth-largest export market that season.

"Clearly China has great potential for Washington apples, with an increasing middle class willing to purchase high-quality apples," Todd Fryhover, president of the Washington Apple Commission, said in a press release. "This year, with our record crop, Chinese consumers will again have the opportunity to enjoy Washington apples, and our growers will have access to this important growth market."

The Washington Apple Commission is the international marketing arm of the Washington apple industry and conducts promotions in over 25 global markets to drive consumer demand for apples from Washington state, which produces more than 90 percent of U.S. apple exports.

October 29, 2014