USDA reports that discussions with Vietnamese officials have proven to be more cumbersome than anticipated with agreement on protocols for citrus access illusive. In fact, a recent communication from senior USDA policy officials to counterparts in the Vietnamese government indicates that technical discussions have become counterproductive. The technical team at USDA/APHIS has been urged to communicate a similar message stating that the last version is the final. Furthermore, it is our recommendation that USDA offers a specified week for field inspections that would be in advance of the 19-20 navel orange season thereby creating the export opportunity on a timely basis.
This may ultimately be a result of the Vietnamese technical team being unaware that a policy agreement had already been reached by senior officials. Or, it could be that members of the technical team are trying to impress the more senior officials in their government. In any case, bringing the policy officials back to the table was a good move by USDA.
CCQC, Sunkist, and CCM continue to be in contact with USDA regarding the policy and practical implementation of said policy.
Having access on paper does not necessarily result in access to the ports! Stay tuned.