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JAPANESE TRADE BARRIERS TO ORANGE JUICE END APRIL 1; OPENS HUGE NEW MARKET TO U.S. PRODUCERS

        JAPANESE TRADE BARRIERS TO ORANGE JUICE END APRIL 1;
               OPENS HUGE NEW MARKET TO U.S. PRODUCERS
    LAKELAND, Fla., March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting tomorrow, Florida orange juice will begin flowing to Japan in much larger quantities, opening up to U.S. citrus producers a market that is expected to reach more than $1 billion a year within a decade.
    On April 1, the quotas on importation of orange juice will expire as provided in a U.S.-Japanese trade agreement signed July 5, 1988.
    Once the spigot is turned on -- which will happen immediately -- and the orange juice begins to move, the present U.S. export of some 10 million gallons per year to Japan is expected to jump within the first year.  The total projected market for orange juice in Japan is expected to be 250 million gallons by the year 2000.
    "Japanese consumers already understand the superior quality and health benefits of Florida citrus products because of the availability of fresh Florida grapefruit and grapefruit juice, which were liberalized in 1971 and 1984, respectively," said Dr. Dan Gunter, executive director of the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC).  "Florida supplies the lion's share of the Japanese fresh grapefruit and grapefruit juice market, and we expect to dominate the Japanese market for premium 100 percent orange juice.  Many Japanese distributors already have announced plans to switch from their Brazilian orange juice sources to the all- Florida juice."
    To reinforce Florida's competitive edge in Japan, Gunter also announced:
    -- The FDOC will back the introduction of 100 percent pure Florida orange juice to Japanese consumers with an extensive $1.4 million marketing support campaign.  Gunter notes that the FDOC is planning to quickly expand the size and scope of the marketing effort over the next few years.
    -- The FDOC will maintain a stringent quality control system based on spot checks and sample tests in Japan to ensure products carrying the Sunshine Tree logo are 100 percent pure Florida orange juice.
    The action is expected to have an impact on the current trade imbalance between the United States and Japan, increasing Japan's level of purchases from the United States.
    Long Process
    The end of the Japanese quota on orange juice is long overdue. Under the agreement, Japanese restrictions on the importation of beef from the United States were phased out gradually over a three-year period; citrus import restrictions were lowered over a four-year period.
    Historically, as restrictions eased on citrus products, Japan's purchase of those products increased dramatically.  Exports of fresh Florida grapefruit jumped by 600 percent in the first year after quotas were removed.  Japan now is the United States' largest single export market for grapefruit and grapefruit juice.  Many experts foresee Japan becoming the United States' largest single orange juice export market.
    The 1991-92 orange juice quota, which is now expiring, had restricted orange juice imports to 50 million gallons annually -- the equivalent of six eight-ounce servings of orange juice per person each year.
    Substantial Marketing Campaign
    Gunter notes that the State of Florida will support the Japanese market introduction with a $1.4 million marketing campaign starting this spring.  The marketing campaign will include advertising, public relations, merchandising and market research.  "It will be aimed at educating the Japanese consumer about the superior taste, quality and health value of 100 percent pure Florida orange juice."
    Gunter adds that Florida is ready to meet the rapidly increasing orange juice demand. "Our citrus growers have planted a record number of trees and adopted state-of-the-art agricultural practices, which will mean much larger crops in the near future.  In fact, the industry is expecting to set new production records in the 1990s.
    "Japanese consumers have shown that they are extremely quality- conscious, which gives Florida a competitive advantage because of the high quality of Florida orange juice.  Liberalization of the Japanese orange juice market will benefit both Florida and the U.S. economy due to the positive impact on our balance of trade," Gunter concludes.
    -0-                      3/31/92
    /CONTACT:  John Cline or Mimi Peteet of Hill and Knowlton, 212-697-5600/ CO:  Florida Department of Citrus ST:  Florida IN:  FOD SU: SM -- NY046 -- 3337 03/31/92 10:46 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 31, 1992
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