STC Number - 261

Varietal restrictions on US apples

Maintained by: China
Raised by: United States of America
Supported by:
First date raised: October 2007 G/SPS/R/46 paras. 18-19
Dates subsequently raised:
Number of times subsequently raised: 0
Relevant documents: Raised orally.
Products covered: 080810 - Apples
Primary subject keyword: Plant Health
Keywords: Plant health; Risk assessment
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In October 2007, the United States stated that China currently limited imports of US apples to just two varieties: Golden Delicious and Red Delicious. Seven years ago, the United States had requested that China allow access for all varieties of apples. Extensive scientific information had been provided to Chinese officials in support of this request. China recently requested information related to fire blight and indicated that its import restrictions on additional varieties of US apples were primarily related to concerns over fire blight. The issue of varietal restrictions on imported fruit and fire blight restrictions on mature, symptomless apples had been addressed by WTO dispute settlement panels. The United States urged China to review the findings of these panels and to adjust its restrictions on US apples appropriately.

China noted that in 1995, the two fire blight resistant varieties mentioned by the United States were allowed to be imported into China. In 2006, a request was made to China for other varieties. These new varieties were not fire blight resistant, so China had to deal with this request on the basis of risk analysis. China had taken note of the WTO dispute settlement case relating to fire blight; however, it still believed mature apples had the potential to serve as a pathway for the disease. An experiment recently carried out by Japan had also shown that mature apples could serve as a pathway for the disease. China asked the United States to provide additional technical material relevant to fire blight and other apple pests as soon as possible in order to complete the market access process. China would handle this matter on a scientific basis and had recently organized a group of experts to speed up the application review process. At present no varieties of Chinese apples were allowed into the United States because the risk analysis had not yet been completed by the United States. Therefore, China also urged the United States to complete the risk analysis that had been ongoing for some time.