Workabeba (Abby) Yigzaw (301) 851-4096
Suzanne Bond (301) 851-4070
WASHINGTON, August 5, 2013 -- The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced it has expanded the market for California table grapes to include Western Australia. The addition of Western Australia is anticipated to boost the estimated export value of table grapes, which last fiscal year was valued at $54.2 million.
“Access to Western Australia for California table grapes had been a longstanding issue for the United States and was a priority issue within Australia,” said Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Now, through the efforts of APHIS personnel, along with their Australian counterparts, U.S. table grapes can enter into Western Australia under the same conditions as they enter into the rest of Australia.”
On April 9, Australia published a draft of the existing policy for California table grapes to Western Australia. On July 18, Australia published a final risk analysis and policy for market access of California table grapes to Western Australia, effective July 23. Following the announcement of this policy, the government of Western Australia amended its legislation to allow access for California table grapes starting immediately. This final policy allows entry of U.S. table grapes exported to Western Australia under the same conditions that exist for the rest of Australia. Pests of concern to Western Australia, including harlequin ladybird, have been added to the list of pests of concern for table grapes.
The Obama Administration, with Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's leadership, has aggressively worked to expand export opportunities and reduce barriers to trade, helping to push agricultural exports to record levels. U.S. agriculture is currently experiencing its best period in history thanks to the productivity, resiliency, and resourcefulness of our producers and agribusinesses. Today, net farm income is at record levels while debt has been cut in half since the 1980s. Overall, American agriculture supports 1 in 12 jobs in the United States and provides American consumers with 83 percent of the food we consume, while maintaining affordability and choice. Strong agricultural exports contribute to a positive U.S. trade balance, create jobs, boost economic growth and support President Obama's National Export Initiative goal of doubling all U.S. exports by the end of 2014.
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