Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, March 2018
This factsheet provides background information on the review of biosecurity import requirements for Tahitian limes from the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.
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- The department has finalised the risk analysis for fresh Tahitian limes (Citrus latifolia) from the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.
- The final report recommends lime imports be permitted from these countries, subject to a range of biosecurity conditions.
- The final report recommends risk management measures, combined with operational systems, to reduce the risks posed by the identified quarantine pests, to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia.
As a World Trade Organization member, Australia is required to consider import requests from other countries to meet its international obligations by assessing proposals and developing the least trade restrictive, scientifically justified import conditions where required.
Australia has existing import policies and biosecurity conditions for fresh West Indian limes (Citrus aurantifolia; also known as key limes or Mexican limes), kaffir limes (Citrus hystrix) and rangpur limes (Citrus limonia) from Egypt, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Spain and the USA.
Following formal market access requests from Samoa and Vanuatu, and expressions of interest from Cook Islands, Niue and Tonga, the department conducted a risk analysis by reviewing the biosecurity import requirements for Tahitian limes (Citrus latifolia) from these Pacific Island countries.
The final report for the review of biosecurity import requirements for Tahitian limes recommends the importation of fresh limes to Australia from all commercial production areas of the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu be permitted subject to a range of biosecurity import conditions being met by the exporting country.
Limes risk analysis
The risk analysis on limes from the Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu followed a rigorous scientific process to identify and assess:
- the risk of introduction, establishment and spread of pests and diseases associated with imports, and
- the potential risk management measures that could be used to allow safe imports and achieve the appropriate level of protection (ALOP) for Australia.
Recommended risk management measures
Australia maintains a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing risk to a very low level, but not to zero. This is known as Australia’s ALOP.
There are three arthropod pests associated with Tahitian limes from the Pacific Island countries that have been identified as being of quarantine concern to Australia. These arthropod pests are:
- grey pineapple mealybug (Dysmicoccus neobrevipes)
- Pacific mealybug (Planococcus minor)
- cryptic mealybug (Pseudococcus cryptus)
To achieve the ALOP for Australia, the report recommends the following risk management measures:
- pre-export phytosanitary inspection to be undertaken by the exporting country to ensure that each consignment is free of the identified quarantine pests, and
- verification inspection on arrival.
Consignments found to be infested with quarantine pests, are subject to remedial action such as treatment to ensure the pest is no longer viable.
Exporting countries must also implement systems of traceability, storage and movement controls, and must ensure that consignments are free of trash, soil or weed seeds, and secure with clean and labelled packaging.
The recommendations in the final report are an administrative step and reflect the completion of the risk analysis. Before imports can commence the department will:
- verify that a country can action the recommended risk management measures,
- publish import conditions on the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON), and
- issue import permits for trade to commence.
The decision to import agricultural produce to Australia is a commercial decision between an importer in Australia and a supplier in the exporting country who can meet the import conditions.
The report and further information on the risk analysis can be viewed at Tahitian limes.
To receive an alert when import conditions are published, register in the BICON system at BICON.
Receive updates on biosecurity risk analyses by subscribing to the Biosecurity Risk Analysis Plant subscription service.