Biosecurity Australia (BA) has released Draft Import Risk Assessments for China (January 2009) and the Pacific North West of the United States (October 2009).
The Draft IRA for USA considered a proposal to import fresh apples from the Pacific North West states of Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
Biosecurity Australia proposes that the importation of fresh apples be permitted, subject to a range of quarantine conditions. Quarantine measures are proposed with respect to 20 arthropod pests and 14 pathogen pests (including fire blight). An additional five pests are identified as quarantine pests for Western Australia.
On behalf of the apple and pear industry, APAL has prepared a written response to Biosecurity Australiaâ€™s assessment. APAL contends that the draft IRA contains a number of serious inadequacies and severely underestimates the risks posed by the entry, spread and establishment of a number of pests, most particularly fire blight, but also of apple curculio, apple maggot and spotted wing drosophila. APAL believes that Biosecurity Australia has failed to incorporate current scientific knowledge about the way in which these pests and diseases present, survive, transfer and establish. APAL also believes that the qualitative risk estimation method used by Biosecurity Australia is calibrated to a significantly smaller number of pests than is considered in the Draft IRA. An underestimation of the risks posed by pests associated with PNW apples also implies that the risk management measures proposed by Biosecurity Australia are inappropriate.APAL's full response to draft PNW IRA
APAL is expecting a final IRA document early in 2010. If there are no appeals, an import policy announcement can be expected before June 2010. After that, a work plan has to be developed between the US quarantine authorities and AQIS to meet the conditions of the IRA.
The Draft IRA for China was released in January 2009. The matter was referred to the Eminent Scientists Group who reported in December 2009. The ESG concluded Biosecurity Australia had properly considered the 10 submissions received from stakeholders ensuring that â€œthe conclusions of the revised draft IRA report are scientifically reasonable based on the material presented. In addition, all relevant matters relating to the likely economic consequences of a pest or disease incursion were also considered.â€�
APAL is expecting a final IRA document early in 2010.
If there are no appeals, an import policy announcement can be expected before June 2010. After that, a work plan has to be developed between the Chinese quarantine authorities and AQIS to meet the conditions of the IRA. Given that there is already a workplan operating for the trade of Chinese pears to Australia, it is anticipated that an apple workplan will not be a difficult or lengthy task.
It is possible Chinese apples could be exported to Australia by the end of 2010.