APAL has been advised that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will begin an import risk analysis for apples from the Pacific Northwest States (Oregon, Idaho and Washington) of the United States of America in November 2018.
This is the result of a direct request by the US Government. As a World Trade Organisation member, Australia has an obligation to consider all import requests and develop import conditions that are scientifically justified and do not restrict trade. The import risk analysis will involve a scientific assessment of the biosecurity risks and potential import protocols for US apples.
It will consider whether such imports would pose any undue risk to the Australian apple industry and a draft is expected to be released for a 60-day public consultation period in March 2019. APAL chief executive Phil Turnbull said APAL will lead an industry response to the import risk analysis to ensure Australia’s apple – and pear – industry is protected.
“One of Australia’s greatest assets is that it is largely free of the pests and diseases of many other apple and pear producing countries. Protecting this biosecurity status requires fresh produce imports to meet robust biosecurity protocols,” Mr Turnbull said. To ensure the Government’s import risk analysis takes into account the most up-to-date, rigorous scientific thinking, APAL will engage a biosecurity expert to conduct an independent investigation of the risks on behalf of the apple industry. APAL work with this expert and a specially-convened Apple & Pear Biosecurity Steering Committee to coordinate a whole of industry response.
APAL will keep growers and industry informed as the import risk analysis progresses.