Apple Exports To Taiwan Threatened New Rules On Pest Inspections Could Cut Sales To Asian Nation
Eight Western senators urged the Clinton administration Friday to press Taiwan to drop pending regulations on imported apples. They said the new rules on pest inspections threaten Washington state’s biggest apple export market.
“Taiwan’s new requirements are unnecessary, lack credible justification and in their current form, are commercially unfeasible for a major portion of the U.S. apple industry,” the senators said.
“We urge you, in the strongest possible terms, to persuade your counterpart in the Taiwanese government to withdraw these new guidelines,” they said in letters to Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman and U.S. Trade Representative Mickey Kantor.
During a visit to Spokane on Friday, Glickman said he was unaware of the letter but would “work aggressively to make sure there are no restrictions on U.S. apples.”
The new Taiwanese regulations, scheduled to take effect in August, include a quarantine requirement for apples from areas where codling moth occurs.
The 6,000 apple growers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California have been shipping apples to Taiwan for 20 years without the introduction of harmful pests, the senators said.
The United States sold $91 million worth of apples last year to Taiwan, but the new regulations would “severely curtail … the U.S. apple industry’s most lucrative, and as such, perhaps most important export market,” the letter said.
Sens. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Mark Hatfield, R-Ore., Bob Packwood, R-Ore., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., Larry Craig, R-Idaho, and Dirk Kempthorne, R-Idaho, signed the letter.
Packwood, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over trade matters, questioned whether the new regulations were designed to keep U.S. apples out of Taiwan.
“There isn’t any rational basis for the restrictions. We’ve been exporting apples to Taiwan for more than 20 years and there has never been a problem,” he said.
Washington state, the biggest U.S. apple producer, exported 24.7 million boxes of apples last season. It’s biggest customer was Taiwan, which imported 3.5 million boxes.