Japan complies with WTO ruling, lifts import barriers to U.S. apples
The Japanese government has dropped previous barriers to U.S. apple imports to comply with a recent World Trade Organization ruling.
Japan has eliminated measures on U.S. apples resulting from concerns about fire blight, a disease that affects apple trees, but is not found on mature harvested fruit. Japan ended its prohibition of shipping mature fruit from U.S. orchards with any fire blight, mandatory orchard inspections, orchard buffer zones and various packing facility requirements.
Japan’s new WTO-compliant regulations only require sampling of export fruit to ensure they are mature and certification that shipments are free of fire blight disease.
The country also updated its regulations to allow California apples to be exported to Japan.
Japan’s new U.S. apple import regulations became effective Aug. 25. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is now finalizing operational procedures for Japan’s new fire blight inspection and certification requirements.
U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman praised Japan’s regulatory change. “Not only will Japan’s decision allow U.S. apple growers an opportunity to export to a new market, but it is also a decision we look to other countries to follow as well,” he said.