(Nov. 22) In baseball parlance, U.S. apple exporters are down in the count.

Taiwan’s plant quarantine officials informed the U.S. Department of Agriculture in mid-November that a codling moth larva was intercepted in a shipment of apples from Washington.

According to the Northwest Horticultural Council, Yakima, Wash., the detection represents the “second strike” under terms of the work plan negotiated between the U.S. and Taiwan. The first detection, or strike one, occurred Oct. 7 when codling moth larvae were found in a shipment of Washington apples.

The work plan, which sets out the phytosanitary protocol for U.S. apple exports to Taiwan, specifies that “three strikes,” or three separate detections of codling moth, will trigger the immediate suspension of U.S. apple exports to Taiwan. California and Northwest U.S. apple exporters ship to Taiwan.

As of Nov. 22, the market remained open to all growers and packinghouses participating in the work plan, except those involved in the detections.

Taiwan is an important buyer of Northwest U.S. apples, said Chris Schlect, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council. Fujis are particularly popular in Taiwan.

The latest industry shipment figures show Washington apple shipments to Taiwan through Nov. 14 totaled 1.274 million, up 16% from a year ago. Shipments from Nov. 1 to mid-November tallied nearly 500,000 cartons, he said.

The USDA reports average f.o.b. prices on Nov. 19 for size 72s of Washington fujis at $22-24 per carton, compared with $18 per carton the same time last year.

If the market is shut down, shipments on the water or in transit would be allowed entry into Taiwan. However, market access would be shut off after those vessels and only reopened after Taiwan’s plant quarantine officials visit U.S. production areas for an evaluation.

Schlect said reopening the market, once closed, could take considerable time.