Some U.S. food suppliers forego China contracts over coronavirus curbs, trade group says

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chinese demands that overseas suppliers guarantee their food shipments are free of the novel coronavirus are causing some shippers to forego the China trade, an industry group representing U.S. produce growers said on Friday.

Western Growers, which represents companies that produce half of U.S. fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts, confirmed that many of its members had received such requests from Chinese authorities.

“It’s changing how some of our growers are reacting to the marketplace,” said Dennis Nuxoll, the trade group’s vice president of federal government affairs. “Some of them are not going to export.”

Nuxoll declined to say which companies were backing away from shipments to China.

Western Growers complained this week to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Trade Representative over the issue, and the government said it would take it up, Nuxoll said.

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