Biosecurity Fact Sheet: Apples from USA

​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, November 2018

The factsheet provides an overview of the risk analysis for fresh Capsicum spp. fruit from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu (the Pacific Island countries).

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Key facts

  • We are commencing a risk analysis for fresh apple fruit from the Pacific Northwest States (Oregon, Idaho and Washington) of the United States of America (PNW-USA).
  • A draft report will be prepared for public consultation and is expected to be released during the first half of 2019. The final report will consider all stakeholder comments on the draft report.

Note: We commenced an expanded Import Risk Analysis (IRA) for apples from PNW-USA in 2008 and released a draft report for public consultation in 2009. However, this process was put on hold to allow the USA time to propose risk management measures for three fruit rots. In 2016 the legislation governing the IRA was repealed and replaced with a new biosecurity legislative framework. Consequently, the IRA from 2008 ceased. For more information on the IRA from 2008, please visit Apples from USA.

Risk analysis for apples from the USA

We are conducting a new import risk analysis for fresh apple fruit from the PNW-USA in response to a formal market access request from USA. Fresh apple fruit has been USA’s highest horticultural priority for new market access since 1999.

Australia (as a World Trade Organization (WTO) member) must meet its international obligations by assessing market access requests (import proposals) and developing the least trade restrictive and scientifically justified import conditions where required. Our trading partners use the same principles when assessing Australian market access requests.

Australia has import policies for fresh apple fruit from China, New Zealand and Japan. All imports must meet Australia’s biosecurity import conditions. We have conducted a preliminary assessment of potential pests1 of biosecurity concern associated with fresh apples from PNW-USA. We drew on scientific information from existing policies, including for apples from China, Japan and New Zealand, the IRA from 2008, and new scientific information (2009 – 2018).

The preliminary assessment indicates that the potential pests of biosecurity concern associated with fresh apples from PNW-USA are the same (or of the same pest groups) as the ones the department has already assessed, and for which we have established risk management measures. Based on this outcome, we will progress the risk analysis for apples from PNW-USA as a review of biosecurity import requirements.

The potential pests of biosecurity concern associated with fresh apples from PNW-USA include: apple maggot, apple leaf curling midge, fruit/leaf roller moths, mites, thrips, mealybugs, fire blight, European canker and fruit rots. We will conduct further assessment of these and other potential pests to determine whether risk management measures will be required.

Process for a risk analysis

The objective of undertaking a risk analysis is to ensure that any fresh products imported into Australia are free from unwanted pests. We initially identify pests associated with fruit or vegetable production and export in the source country that are not present in Australia.

The assessment includes analysis of the pests of biosecurity concern and recommends risk management measures if required. If there are no available risk management measures to effectively manage biosecurity risks, trade is not permitted until suitable measures are identified.

If required, the department will conduct in-country visit(s) of the commercial production, packing, and export practices before determining any risk management measures to be applied to mitigate any potential biosecurity risks that do not achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection.

How stakeholders can contribute

We welcome the contribution of scientific information relevant to this risk analysis at any time. We will invite stakeholders to submit their comments on the draft report during a 60 calendar day public consultation period. All relevant comments will be considered in preparing the final report which will complete the scientific risk analysis process.

Australia-USA trade

Australia and the USA have a strong two-way trade relationship with total trade for 2016-17 valued at approximately $42 billion. For horticulture, Australia exported over $66 million worth of fruit and nuts to the USA in 2017, with the main exports being citrus fruit and nuts. In 2017, Australia imported over $284 million worth of fruit and nuts from the USA, with main the imports being citrus fruit and grapes.

Apple production in USA

The USA is the second largest producer of apples, with China being the largest. Approximately 25 per cent of fresh apples grown in USA are exported. Peak harvest season for apples in the USA is from September to November. The USA currently exports apples to a number of countries including Mexico, Canada, India, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Thailand.

Apple production in Australia

Apples are grown across Australia, with the largest volumes being produced in Victoria. In 2016-17, Australia produced close to 320,000 tonnes of apples. Apples are grown throughout the year. Australia’s main export markets include the United Kingdom, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

Apple imports into Australia

Australia has import policies for fresh apple fruit from China, New Zealand and Japan. All imports must meet Australia’s biosecurity import conditions. In 2016- 17, Australia imported 698 and 355 tonnes of apples from China and New Zealand respectively, collectively worth close to $2.4 million. No trade has occurred from Japan. Operational requirements need to be finalised before this trade can commence.

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1 The term pest refers to both pests and diseases.

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