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Almond Byte, August 2023: Year in Review - Decree 248, EU Challenges and Trade Strategy


Highlights reviewing the crop season from August's Global Update, from the Global, Technical and Regulatory Affairs team at the Almond Board of California, in today's Almond Byte.

Chinese facility registrations

A major challenge this year was the implementation of China’s Decree 248 requiring food facilities exporting food to China to finalize online CIFER registrations by June 30, 2023. ABC took the lead in assisting the FDA in completing these registrations managed by China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC). It was often hit and miss – since Jan 2022, at least 50-60 containers of almonds worth more than $10 million were held up in China due to minor administrative issues related to GACC registrations.

Through persistence and collaboration with the FDA and USDA, most of the containers were eventually released into China. By the end of June, 65 handlers had finalized their registrations with GACC (valid for the next 5 years). ABC is now working with the FDA to develop a system to assist “new” companies to register with GACC.

Regulatory issues in Europe

ABC continues to monitor Farm to Fork and Green Deal policies that will impact almond exports to the European Union (EU). Several Farm to Fork policies are facing headwinds within Europe due to a variety of factors – the Pandemic, economic conditions and the impact of the ongoing war in Ukraine on energy and food prices. ABC has worked with European partners to ensure industry concerns are shared with government officials.

Import inspections in the EU were another challenge this year due to inspection inconsistency and increased infestation detections resulting from large crops combined with logistical challenges. This past year, ABC worked with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service to help clear around 10 stuck shipments due to a lack of Pre-Export Check certification, incorrect interpretation of import control rules and other issues. ABC is continuing to monitor the situation and is providing input to the EU Commission regarding import control guidance which should help harmonize industry experience across member states.

Global Trade Strategy

This past year, a more comprehensive trade strategy was developed to guide ABC's priorities. The plan was rolled out to committees and the Board of Directors and the strategy identifies potential tariff reductions and technical barriers while leveraging industry partner associations to amplify almond priorities – a key element to finding solutions to technical barriers to trade as we expand exports into new horizon markets.

The Global, Technical and Regulatory Affairs team at ABC has engaged with several international delegations this year including a Vietnamese team of importers and processors, a Pakistani delegation at the Gulfood Show in Dubai, the Turkish Nut Trade Association, and most recently a Vice Minister’s delegation from China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.