Mexico to Costa Rica: Buy our avocado
The issue is part of a negotiation between both parties. Costa Rica closed its market to avocado from nine markets (eight countries and the state of Florida, USA), including Mexico, the world's leading producer of this fruit, since last May 5.
The State's Phytosanitary Service (SFE) argued that there was a latent danger that the Sun Blotch disease, which is present in Mexico, could enter the country.
The head of economic affairs at the Embassy of Mexico in Costa Rica, Ivan Trujillo David Solis, said Costa Rica's measure took them by surprise and that they had not been notified in advance. Despite this, he said, the two countries have very good relations that go beyond their commercial activities, so they requested the opening of a dialogue to solve the issue.
Importers claimed that Costa Rica closed the market to Mexican avocado entry without technical arguments.
However, Trujillo was emphatic in the sense that their goal was to reopen the avocado market, because Mexico sees no risk of the disease entering Costa Rica. He said the disease was still present in Mexico, but that it was only present in areas and plantations that are not authorized to export the fruit.
In addition, he said, Costa Rica has been importing Mexican avocadoes for more than 20 years without any risk of the Sun Blotch disease from entering their plantations.
The agricultural authorities of both countries started to dialogue after both countries had technical meetings, Trujillo said. He did not rule out that the issue be raised to the ministries of Foreign Trade, but he said they were giving priority to the dialogue to solve the business problem.
"We are looking for a negotiated solution, the idea is not to affect consumers or the Costa Rican or Mexican producers and exporters," the official said.
A country that disagrees with another country's market blockage is entitled to request compensation and, if it does, can report the issue to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Yesterday, Costa Rica's Chamber of Exporters of Perishable Products stated that the measure taken by the SFE had no technical basis and therefore demanded that it be lifted immediately.
According to the union, the SFE didn't wait to have a technical report before taking their decision. They also stated that the measure violated international trade rules and the Free Trade Agreement signed between Costa Rica and Mexico. ■