China’s major ports of entry have upped the checks on fresh fruit imports from the United States, which could delay shipments from US growers already dealing with higher tariffs as the Sino-US trade ties worsen.
Fruits were among 128 US goods that China slapped with more expensive import tariffs in retaliation for US levies on Chinese steel and aluminium as trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies flare. A US trade delegation led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials. The two sides are expected to discuss an array of US complaints about China’s trade practices, from accusations of forced technology transfers to state subsidies for technology development.
Since last week, Beijing dispatched quarantine experts to major ports including Shanghai and Shenzhen to make more thorough on-site checks for disease and rot, a source based in Shanghai with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters, declining to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter.
China seems to have resumed the practice of inspecting every batch of US fresh fruit, sources say. Previously, inspectors checked only around 30 percent of shipments. China had dialled back the checks in November 2017.
Since Monday, all US-originated fruit shipments have been subject to up to seven days of quarantine check on arrival in Shenzhen, said an industry source based at the port in China’s south. Before this, customs officers in China had let shipments through while they conducted sample checks.