Biosecurity Fact Sheet - Limes from Mexico

​​​​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, May 2018

The factsheet provides an overview of the risk analysis for fresh limes from Mexico.​

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Key facts

  • The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is conducting a risk analysis of fresh limes from Mexico.
  • We expect to release a draft report for public consultation in early 2019.
  • We will consider stakeholder comments when preparing the final report, which we expect to finish in late 2019.

Risk analysis for limes

We are conducting this risk analysis in response to a formal market access request for fresh limes from Mexico into Australia. Limes are Mexico’s horticultural priority for market access.

As a World Trade Organization member, Australia is required to assess market access requests and develop the least trade restrictive and scientifically justified import conditions. Our trading partners use the same principles when assessing Australian market access requests.

Australia permits imports of fresh limes from Egypt, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Spain and the United States of America, provided they meet Australia’s biosecurity import conditions. Additionally, we recently finalised the risk analysis for the importation of fresh limes from the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu and recommended import be permitted subject to a range of biosecurity import conditions.

A preliminary assessment of the pests associated with fresh limes from Mexico has identified that the potential pests of quarantine concern are armoured scales, fruit flies, orange tortrix, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, whitefly, Asian citrus psyllid and its associated pathogen citrus greening, two fungi, one phytoplasma and one virus. These pests are the same, or belong to the same groups of pests, that we have assessed previously for other horticultural goods, and for which risk management measures are established. With this in mind, we are conducting this risk analysis as a review of biosecurity import requirements (a non-regulated risk analysis).

Process for the risk analysis

We undertake risk analyses to ensure that any fresh products imported into Australia are free from unwanted pests and diseases. We initially identify pests and diseases associated with fruit or vegetable produced for export in the source country that are not present in Australia.

The assessment includes analysis of the potential pests of concern and recommends risk management measures, if required. If risk management measures are not available to effectively manage biosecurity risks, trade is not permitted until suitable measures are identified.

We will verify commercial production, packing, and export practices in the source country before determining any risk management measures to be applied to mitigate any potential 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 a draft report during a 60 calendar day public consultation period. All relevant comments will be considered in preparing the final report.

Australian-Mexican trade

Australia and Mexico have a strong two-way trade relationship, with exports to Mexico worth about $464 million in 2016. Australia’s main exports to Mexico were coal, aluminium and meat. In 2016, imports from Mexico were worth about $2.5 billion, which included telecommunications equipment, medical instruments and alcoholic beverages.

Lime production in Mexico

Mexico is the largest exporter of limes (Citrus latifolia) in the world, having produced approximately 1.1 million tonnes in 2015. Limes are produced all year round in Mexico. In 2016, Mexico exported approximately 491,000 tonnes of limes to more than 20 countries, but primarily to the United States of America.

Lime production in Australia

Limes are grown throughout Australia and account for around two percent of domestic citrus production. In 2015-16, Australia produced approximately 9,300 tonnes of limes with the greatest quantity produced in Queensland. Peak lime production is generally between January and April.

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