February 08,1999

Roth Urges Allowing Citrus Imports from Argentina

Imports would Create Jobs at the Port of Wilmington

WASHINGTON -- Citing consumer needs and job creation, Senate Finance Committee Chairman William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) has endorsed a proposed U.S.D.A. rule that would allow the U.S. to import fresh citrus products from Argentina.

"By allowing the importation of these products, the Department will provide U.S. consumers with access to fresh citrus products during the summer months, when U.S. production is at its lowest. The adoption of the proposed rule will help increase trade between our two countries, but not threaten domestic citrus production, which occurs primarily in the winter," Roth stated in a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman.

"The proposed rule also has the potential for creating jobs in the United States for the handling and distribution of fresh citrus products during the summer months. In fact, the Port of Wilmington, which currently is the port of entry for apple juice concentrate from Argentina and fresh citrus products from Spain and Australia, is a strong candidate for handling this new trade. This will bring much needed jobs for longshoremen and warehousemen during the slower summer months. These imports will also potentially make use of the Port of Wilmington's new state-of-the-art facilities for handling citrus products, including refrigerated and humidity controlled warehouses that are ship-side and cold treatment facilities for pest control," the letter continued.

"Your Department should be commended for developing a workable plan for ensuring that the Argentine citrus imports will be free of diseases and pests. This proposal admirably reflects the United States' longstanding commitment to handling sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) concerns based strictly on sound science," Roth wrote. "This commitment is particularly important at this time, with U.S. exporters facing thinly veiled protectionist barriers in other markets under the guise of SPS restrictions."