The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on February 18, to expand market access for Mexican Hass avocado fruit for all of Mexico. The public comment period will remain in effect through April 20. As background, Mexico has been successfully exporting commercial avocado shipments from the State of Michoacán to the U.S since 1997. This export program is a cooperative effort between the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA) and the USDA designed to insure the facilitation of safe trade to the U.S. through an ongoing pre-inspection regimen established to mitigate a number of quarantine plant pests. During the last year alone, Mexico has exported more than 500,000 metric tons from Michoacán valued at $1.3 billion (USD).
USDA is now proposing to amend the regulation to allow the importation of avocado fruit into the United States (and Puerto Rico) from all of Mexico, provided individual Mexican States meet the phytosanitary requirements set out in the regulation and the operational workplan. SAGARPA has indicated that initial market access would apply only to the Mexican State of Jalisco. With the exception of a clarification of the language concerning when sealed, insect-proof containers would be required to be used in shipping and the removal of mandatory fruit cutting at land and maritime ports, the current pre-inspection regimen, which includes requirements for orchard certification, limited production area, trace back labeling, pre-harvest orchard surveys, orchard sanitation, post-harvest safeguards, fruit cutting and inspection at the packinghouse, port-of-arrival inspection, and clearance activities, would then be required for importation of avocadoes from all approved areas of Mexico. The fruit would also be required to be imported in commercial consignments and accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by SAGARPA.
To view the public comments on this rule or to make a comment, please refer to the docket at the following web site: