Dan Richey, president of Riverfront Packing Company, gave an update on trade issues impacting fresh Florida citrus at the Aug. 19 Citrus Packinghouse Day in Lake Alfred.
Foreign sales are extremely important for fresh Florida citrus, says Richey, a member for five years of the Agricultural Trade Advisory Committee, appointed jointly by the U.S. secretary of agriculture and the U.S. trade representative. “International trade still takes a large majority of the (Florida) grapefruit … primarily the European Union, Korea and Japan,” he says.
Although much talk is about China, Richey points out that very little Florida citrus goes there. However, California traditionally ships much fresh citrus to China but doesn’t now as the result of tariffs and trade wars, Richey says. Much California citrus that once went to China “is ending up on the domestic shelf at retail, and that’s causing a fight for shelf space, which does have an effect on us,” Richey says. “We’re sort of collateral damage in that issue.”
Richey says Japan is a very good market for Florida citrus and has always been the main market. However, other countries are now shipping fresh citrus into Japan, “causing us some challenges” because they offer lower-priced fruit and have a tariff advantage.
“Korea is a market that has expanded over the last seven years” as a result of a free trade agreement, Richey says. “The European Union’s a challenge. They continue to put up non-tariff trade barriers … specifically for Florida citrus it’s the canker protocol that they require us to adhere to.” He says the rest of the world accepts the fact that fruit doesn’t spread canker.
“One of the biggest trade issues we have is the importation of product into the U.S.,” Richey concludes, noting that such importation into Florida poses much risk of pest and disease spread.
Hear more from Richey:
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