11 August 2023, VN: On August 8 (local time), Department of Animal and Plant Health Quarantine (APHIS) (USDA) sent a letter to the Plant Protection Department (MARD) informing about allowing Vietnam to “immediately” export coconut to this market.
APHIS sent a letter to Plant Protection Department informing about the agenda and invited the delegation of the Department to participate in the bilateral meeting on plant health in 2023. APHIS expressed its hope that the two sides could come to a final agreement on Vietnam’s import requirements for California peaches and peaches (USA) in the upcoming negotiation process.
In addition, APHIS also announced the US opening the market with Vietnamese skullcap coconuts to this market.
“Ahead of the meeting, APHIS would like to share the latest information regarding market access for skullcap coconuts exported from Vietnam to the US. APHIS understands that this is an important issue for Vietnamese manufacturers and we have made it a priority to comply with your request,” APHIS announced.
According to APHIS, it has been conducting parallel planning for the next steps in the market access process and internal analysis to evaluate this item. Evaluation results show that the Vietnamese skullcap coconut meets the US’s requirements of processed products and has a negligible risk of spreading plant pests.
This means that instead of going through a new and lengthy go-to-market regulatory process for fresh fruits and vegetables, APHIS can take advantage of existing regulations for processed products. to regulate shipments of coconut skulls. This has significantly accelerated the progress for APHIS to approve coconut imports from Vietnam.
On August 7, APHIS completed updating the online database of Agricultural Commodity Import Requests (ACIR) to approve imports of young Vietnamese coconuts, which have split at least 75% coir part and completely remove the outer green skin.
According to APHIS, Vietnamese producers can start exporting skullcaps to the US “immediately”. Since the U.S. Department of Animal and Plant Health has classified partially dehulled coconut as a processed product, the only phytosanitary requirements for consignments will occur only at ports in the US.
In addition, APHIS said it has notified the US Customs and Border Protection Agency with the update to avoid any delays in shipments at the US ports.
Previously, in April 2023, during a meeting with US Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, Minister Le Minh Hoan said that the procedures had been completed and the market opened for pomelos from the US to Vietnam. At the same time, it is proposed that the US accelerate the assessment process and open the door to Vietnam’s coconut and passion fruit.
In February 2023, the US sent results of pest risk analysis for fresh Vietnamese coconuts. Accordingly, 43 species of pests on coconut trees were identified, but none were able to follow fresh young coconuts exported from Vietnam to the US.
The US has required Vietnam to handle fresh young coconuts after harvest such as removing rotten, fallen fruits, removing all the green skin and at least 75% of the coir.
Plant Protection Department has contacted and closely coordinated with APHIS to select appropriate phytosanitary measures to minimize the risk of pests. At the same time, APHIS also sent an official dispatch to the local Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development that grow coconuts, and related production, processing and exporting enterprises./.
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