STC Number - 373

US high cost of certification for mango exports

Maintained by: United States of America
Raised by: India
Supported by: Brazil; Dominican Republic
First date raised: July 2014 G/SPS/R/75 paras. 4.5-4.6
Dates subsequently raised: October 2014 (G/SPS/R/76 paras. 3.13-3.15)
March 2015 (G/SPS/R/78 paras. 3.39-3.40)
July 2015 (G/SPS/R/79 paras. 3.44-3.46)
October 2015 (G/SPS/R/81 paras. 3.51-3.53)
March 2016 (G/SPS/R/82 paras. 3.55-3.56)
June 2016 (G/SPS/R/83 paras. 4.20-4.21)
Number of times subsequently raised: 6
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 08 Edible fruit and nuts; peel of citrus fruit or melons
Primary subject keyword: Plant Health
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Plant health; Equivalence
Status: Not reported
Solution:
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In July 2014, India raised its concerns on the high cost of certification for mango exports to the United States. Since April 2007, India had been granted access to export mangoes to the United States on the basis that its mangoes would first be irradiated, under the supervision of US inspectors, to mitigate the risk of fruit flies and stone weevil. India noted the high cost of certification that it had to bear, which involved funding the travel and accommodation of US inspectors at the irradiation facility and other US officials involved in the process at various other locations. These costs reflected 12% of the FOB costs per metric ton of mangoes exported to the United States. India requested that the United States recognize India's conformity assessment procedures, as was done for organic certification, or find other means to reduce the costs and enable Indian mangoes to remain competitive in the US market. Failure to find a solution could result in loss of India's market share.

The United States noted that India had been the first country to ship irradiated commodities to the United States and that the value of these exports had steadily grown, reaching US$1.6 million dollars in 2013. Several efforts had been undertaken to reduce the costs of the preclearance programme, such as collaboration on budget and financial issues. The United States had also amended its regulations to facilitate the importation of Indian mangoes by allowing irradiation upon arrival in the United States. The United States requested India to submit a formal request for amendment of the US operational work plan.

In October 2014, India reiterated its concern regarding the high cost of certification for mango exports to the United States. Since 2007 India had been granted access to export mangoes to the United States on the basis that they would be irradiated, under the supervision of US inspectors, to mitigate the risk of fruit flies and stone weevil and noted they had shipped 1,600 metric tons of mangos to the United States. India noted that bearing the high cost of certification rendered its mangoes uncompetitive. While a trust fund had been created, India had suggested preclearance by the National Plant Protection Authorities, which had not been agreed on. In previous meetings, the United States had offered irradiation upon arrival which, however, would result in an economically unfeasible situation. Taking into account the past seven years of Indian mango exports to the United States, India requested mutual recognition of equivalence of mango certification and conformity assessment procedures in order to reduce costs and to facilitate trade, as had been done for organic certification.

The Dominican Republic expressed its support for India's concern and requested further information from the United States on the costs of import procedures.

The United States recalled that India had been the first country to export irradiated mangoes to the United States. While the value of Indian mango exports had risen every year since, the United States had attempted to accommodate India's concern by amending its legislation for irradiation upon importation to lower the costs of clearance. The United States reiterated that it was looking forward to receiving further proposals from India on how to lower the costs of mango clearance.

In March 2015, India reiterated its concern regarding the high cost of certification for mango exports to the United States. In previous meetings, the United States had offered the possibility of irradiation upon arrival. This solution had been discussed in a bilateral meeting held on 3 to 4 March 2015. India requested that the United States circulate a draft work plan for the irradiation upon arrival requirement.

The United States reported that the bilateral discussion in March 2015 had been productive. Two options had been discussed: (1) expansion of the current irradiation programme for mangoes (and pomegranates) in India through the approval of two additional irradiation facilities in India; and (2) irradiation of Indian-origin mangoes (and pomegranates) upon arrival in the United States. The United States welcomed further engagement with India on this issue.

In July 2015, India restated its concerns about the high cost of certification for mango exports to the United States. Since April 2007, India had been granted access to export mangoes to the United States on the basis that its mangoes would first be irradiated, under the supervision of US inspectors. India noted the high cost of certification that it had to bear, which amounted to approximately 12% of the FOB costs per metric ton of mangoes exported to the United States. India recalled that in a bilateral meeting held in March 2015, the United States had offered the possibility of irradiation upon arrival, and India had requested circulation of the corresponding draft work plan.

Brazil and the Dominican Republic shared India's concern. Brazil noted that during the 2015 mango exports season, Brazil had spent half a million US dollars for the on-the-spot inspection carried by the US inspectors. Brazil noted that the procedures were costly and duplicative, and urged the United States to ease its requirements. The Dominican Republic requested further information from the United States on the costs of import procedures.

The United States confirmed that India had exported mangoes every year since the market was opened in 2007, and the value of those exports had risen to reach nearly 2 million US dollars in 2014. The United States recalled the two options that had been discussed in March 2015: (1) expansion of the current irradiation programme by resolving substantial deficiencies of new irradiation facilities in Vashi and Innova; and (2) irradiation upon arrival in the United States. Additional information on the second option had been sent to India in June 2015. The United States welcomed further engagement with India to resolve these concerns and would plan a second visit when India's facilities were ready for certification. The United States noted that only the irradiation facility at Nasik was currently certified. The United States also welcomed bilateral consultations with Brazil and the Dominican Republic.

In October 2015, India restated its concerns about the high cost of certification for mango exports to the United States. Since April 2007, India had been granted access to export mangoes to the United States on the basis that its mangoes would first be irradiated, under the supervision of US inspectors. India noted the high cost of certification that it had to bear, which amounted to approximately 12% of the FOB costs per metric ton of mangoes exported to the United States. India recalled that in a bilateral meeting held in March 2015, the United States had offered the possibility of irradiation upon arrival, and India had requested circulation of the corresponding draft work plan.

The Dominican Republic shared India's concern and considered the best option for a solution was to require treatment of the mangoes upon entry into the United States. Brazil also shared India's concern and noted that US inspections had nearly double the cost of those conducted by Brazilian inspectors. Brazil stated that India's options presented a good basis to begin discussions on a potential solution.

The United States confirmed that India had exported mangoes every year since the market was opened in 2007, and the value of those exports had risen to reach nearly US$2 million in 2014. The United States recalled the two options that had been discussed in March 2015: (i) expansion of the current irradiation programme by resolving the substantial deficiencies of the new irradiation facilities in Vashi and Innova; and (ii) irradiation upon arrival in the United States. Additional information on the second option had been sent to India in June 2015. The United States welcomed further engagement with India to resolve these concerns and would plan a second visit when India's facilities were ready for certification. The United States noted that only the irradiation facility at Nasik was currently certified. The United States looked forward to continue discussions on this issue with India and any other interested trading partners.

In March 2016, India recalled its concerns regarding the US high cost of certification for mango exports it had raised in previous SPS Committee meetings and thanked the United States for bilateral discussions at the technical level to resolve this issue. India highlighted two issues, increasing the number of facilities for irradiation of mangoes before export, and the requirement to that the irradiation process be carried out in the presence of the US certified technical experts only. India reported that there had been progress in the recognition for additional facilities for irradiation. However, the high cost is a result of flying in the US technical experts. India stated that the same irradiation could be carried out in the presence of trained Indian officials appointed by the United States to reduce the cost of certification. India also recalled an alternative option of irradiation on arrival, which proved to be equally costly.

The United States restated that Indian mangoes had been approved for export to the United States in April 2007, with India becoming the first country to ship irradiated commodities to the United States. The United States had worked closely with its counterparts in the Indian government and had provided the Ministry of Agriculture with the necessary documentation and procedures to allow importation of Indian mangoes, subject to irradiation upon arrival in the United States. USDA APHIS plant health experts had productive discussions with their Indian counterparts at a bilateral meeting on 23-24 February 2016. The United States also reported that the re-certification visit to Vashi irradiation facility by the APHIS team had taken place on 25 February 2016. APHIS looked forward to working with India to certify the facility for the start of the mango export season. Until that time, the existing irradiation facility at Nasik was the only facility currently certified to irradiate mangoes for shipment to the United States.

In June 2016, India provided an update on the recent developments regarding its previously raised concern on the high cost of US certification for mango exports. India reported that a USDA APHIS inspector had visited India in April 2016 in order to approve two additional irradiation facilities. One irradiation facility had been approved by USDA APHIS on 7 April 2016, following which exports of irradiated mangos from the facility to the United States had commenced. The certification of the second facility had been approved on 22 June 2016, and the first consignment of irradiated mangoes had been exported to the United States on 23 June 2016. India recognized the substantial progress made on the issue and thanked the United States for approving the two facilities for mango exports. India further stated that a meeting had been held between the United States and Indian technical authorities in February 2016, where it had been agreed to develop a proposed work plan for irradiating mangoes upon arrival in the United States. India noted that it was currently in the process of putting together the technical details requested by the US authorities and further requested the United States to continue its cooperation on this issue.

The United States recalled that Indian mangoes had been exported to the United States since April 2007, and that this trade had been facilitated through a bilateral arrangement for pre clearance based on irradiation in India. The United States also noted that the USDA was in the process of certifying two new irradiation facilities, which would be fully up and running by the end of 2016. The United States highlighted that its requirements for inspection and irradiation of mangoes from India were fully consistent with its obligations under the SPS agreement, and that its experts had closely worked with India on this trade facilitating bilateral arrangement. The United States further noted that subsequent discussions on this matter in the Committee would not be appropriate given the fruitful progress.