"In a clear protectionist move the Australian Quarantine Department is now delaying perishable fruit import inspections for 7-10 days after the shipment arrival," according to Neil Barker from BGP International. He said the delays are causing greatly increased costs to importers in addition to serious decline in fruit quality. According to Neil, one shipping line executive complained that the quarantine delays will reduce availability of equipment in the leadup to the citrus export season.
"Australian Quarantine is dismantling off-shore pre-clearance arrangements and reducing domestic inspection staff levels in the strong drive to reduce fruit imports.
The forthcoming cherry, grape, peach and nectarine programs from California will be severely impacted by this new protectionism in Australia," said Neil.
"Exporters are equally concerned at the risk of copycat measures being taken by some trading partners. Within several Asian economies there is a long running desire to protect local farmers, but sometimes this is hampered by WTO rules. The Australian policy suggests a way around those WTO rules."
For further comment contact
BGP international Pty Ltd
Publication date: 3/27/2018