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Costa Rica rejects one of Mexico's conditions for re-entry of avocado

Staff Writer |
The negotiations between Costa Rica and Mexico to allow the re-entry of Mexican Hass avocado into Costa Rica are faltering.

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Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), Renato Alvarado, stated on Thursday night that the Costa Rican fruit producers had rejected one of the Mexico's conditions: the inspection of Costa Rican farms to determine if it is true that they are free of the sunblotch disease that attacks this product.

On February 21, Alvarado sent a letter to the Mexican government letting them know that Costa Rican farmers had refused the inspection.

"I do not know if this means the negotiated exit being sought has failed; but I can tell you that Mexico won't receive this situation well," the minister said when answering a question.

This clash between producers and the government leaves a high-level agreement, which was reached on December 17 at a meeting in the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry, in limbo.

In that pact, the two countries agreed to seek for a way out of the conflict over the Hass avocado trade, caused when Costa Rica banned imports since May 5, 2015.

Costa Rica banned Hass avocado imports from Mexico to prevent the entry of the Sunblotch disease into Costa Rica, which, according to the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE), is free of this pest.

Minister Alvarado said on Thursday night that the sampling of the farms throughout the country would begin on Monday, February 24, as planned, but that they would only be conducted by SFE technicians, as producers will allow them in their farms

The issue, stated Costa Rica's minister of agriculture, is whether Mexico endorses the SFE process or continues to reject it as it did on two previous occasions.

In international trade, he said, one country recognizes the analyses of the other's specialized institutions, as they are supposed to be carried out following strict technical methodologies and standards.

Mexico's participation, Alvarado continued, is atypical and was put into the December pact because the two countries were looking for a negotiated and speedy solution to the conflict.

He added that they couldn't force farmers to allow officials to enter their farms, not even with a legal order, as in the case of a phytosanitary emergency.

This is just a routine sampling to demonstrate that the crops are free of a disease.

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