STC Number - 216

Restrictions on Ya pears imports

Maintained by: United States of America
Raised by: China
Supported by: European Union
First date raised: March 2005 G/SPS/R/36/Rev.1, paras. 37-39
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 0808 Apples, pears and quinces, fresh.
Primary subject keyword: Plant Health
Keywords: Plant health; Undue delays
Status: Resolved
Date reported as resolved: 16/10/2013

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2005, China reported that, at the end of 2003, the US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) had suspended imports of Ya pears from China on the grounds that new species of the fungus Alternaria sp. had been found. The Chinese Government had undertaken cooperative studies with the United States and finally obtained a result satisfactory to both Chinese and US specialists. However, US authorities had not yet made any decision based on the above results and imports of pears from China were still suspended.
The European Communities noted that it was also experiencing lengthy decision-making procedures when trying to export some plant products to the United States, and invited the United States to review its internal administrative procedures.
The United States clarified that imports of Ya pears from China were suspended in December 2003 due to repeated detections of the exotic fungus Alternaria sp.and that imports of these pears had already been suspended in previous years for a similar problem. In May 2004, China had been provided with a document describing the status of this organism as a pest of quarantine significance and the United States had been working closely with China to develop conditions that would allow the reopening of the market. After several bilateral discussions, agreement had been reached in November 2004 on a work plan stipulating that Chinese scientists would cooperate with US scientists to develop possible measures to mitigate the fungus. A protocol had been agreed in December 2004 to enable a test shipment of Ya pears to be imported for research purposes into the United States to evaluate the various mitigation measures.. Unfortunately, the collaborative research showed that even with all the mitigation measures in place, the infestation rate still significantly exceeded the one specified in the work plan of November 2004. Alternaria sp. was a newly identified species not known to exist in the United States, and a better understanding of this organism was necessary to develop appropriate mitigation measures. The United States would continue work with China to identify measures to reduce the level of infestation to an acceptable level so that the market might be reopened.