The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service will allow, under certain conditions, the import of commercial shipments of litchi fruit and mangoes from Australia into the continental United States, except Florida for the litchis.
As a condition of entry, the litchis must be treated with irradiation and subject to inspection. If irradiation is applied outside the United States, the fruit must be inspected jointly by inspectors from APHIS and Australia’s national plant protection organization (NPPO) prior to departure and accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by Australia's NPPO certifying the fruit received the required irradiation treatment. If irradiation is to be applied upon arrival in the United States, the fruit must be inspected by Australian inspectors prior to departure and accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate.
Additionally, the litchis may not be imported into or distributed in Florida due to the presence of litchi rust mite in Australia.
World production of litchi is estimated to be 2.2 million metric tons, with China accounting for over 50 percent (1.2 million metric tons), and one-third produced in India (0.7 million metric tons). The United States produces about 500 metric tons per year, which represents less than 0.03 percent of world production. U.S. litchi production is concentrated in Florida, Hawaii, and California.
Currently, Australia produces 3,500 metric tons of litchis. The country is expected to export about 20 40-foot containers of litchis per year to the United States, which is equivalent to about 400 metric tons, USDA said.
As a condition of entry, Australian mangoes must be produced in accordance with a “systems approach,” using a combination of mitigation measures for fungus and be inspected prior to export from Australia and found free of this disease. The mangoes must also be treated by irradiation to mitigate the risk of the mango seed weevil and fruit flies. Furthermore, the fruit must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate with an additional declaration that the conditions for importation have been met.
The United States produces about 3,000 metric tons of mangoes per year, about one-hundredth of 1 percent of world production. U.S. mango production is concentrated in Florida, Hawaii, California, and Texas and produced primarily for local markets. While U.S. mango production is limited, the United States is the world's leading importer of fresh mangoes, receiving 33 percent of imports worldwide, USDA said.
Mango imports from Australia are expected to total about 1,200 metric tons per year. This represents about 0.5 percent of total U.S. mango imports. “Moreover, the Australian mango season, mid-September to mid-April, is the opposite of that in the United States; the fresh mangoes imported from Australia will not compete directly with those produced domestically,” USDA said.