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South Africa and the U.S. against Costa Rican avocado restrictions

Staff writer |
The United States and South Africa have joined Mexico and Guatemala to protest to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the restrictive measures on avocado trade implemented by Costa Rica.

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Concerns were raised at the monthly meeting of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the WTO, to which Mexico and Guatemala decided to submit the case.

The United States and South Africa joined in during the meeting of the committee, as confirmed by the press office of the WTO and the Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex), the entity responsible for Costa Rica's defence in these cases.

Meanwhile, the director of the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE), Francisco Dall'Anese, merely said that the committee meeting in Geneva (Switzerland), where the country presented its arguments, went well.

The four countries expressed their concerns about Costa Rica's decision to stop the granting of permits for the import of Hass avocados from Mexico, the country's leading supplier, and eight other markets.

According to the SFE, the measure responds to a need to protect the territory against the possible entry of the sun blotch disease.

The decision, enforced on 5 May this year, affects Australia, Spain, Ghana, Guatemala, Israel, Mexico, South Africa, Venezuela and the state of Florida, United States.

The SFE presented a report to the WTO modifying the measure for Mexico, which will be asked to provide a certification confirming that the fruit comes from disease-free areas.

However, Mexico again stressed to the Committee in its conclusion that Costa Rica's measure has no reason to exist from a technical standpoint, requesting the documents that justify it, as well as the number of shipments that have tested positive.

The Mexican mission said that if Costa Rica claims to be free from sun blotch, it must prove it, as established by international agreements.

Comex Minister Alexánder Mora confirmed in an e-mail to the newspaper La Nación that the United States and South Africa were also included in the measure and that's why they asked for its lifting within the framework of the meeting.

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