Costa Rica loses WTO import case for Mexican avocados brought in 2015

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has determined that Costa Rica has not presented sufficient scientific justification to limit the import of Mexican Hass avocados, website QCosta Rica reports.

In 2015, the government of Luis Guillermo Solís stopped the import of Hass avocado due to the risk of entry of sunspot disease, a decision denounced before the WTO by Mexico, Guatemala, the United States and South Africa.

In March 2017, Mexico filed an official complaint with the WTO against Costa Rica for the ban on the entry of the product into the country.

Carlos Alvarado’s administration maintained the limitations.

The WTO panel considered it a legitimate objective to protect the country, in order to achieve an adequate level of phytosanitary protection. But they recommended that Costa Rica modify the measures established for aspects related to pest risk analysis and phytosanitary monitoring and verification processes, concluding that the scientific basis of the measures is insufficient.

Costa Rica’s former ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Manuel Tovar, said the panel’s finding is strong for Mexico to impose sanctions on products that Costa Rica gives it. export.

Tovar said that due to litigation, the damage caused by avocado import restrictions could cost the country more than $30 million.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) has announced that Costa Rica will accept the resolution of the expert group, so the necessary adjustments are being prepared in the phytosanitary protection measures related to imports of lawyers.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex) reported that, from the start of the process, a defense team was formed, made up of the Centro de Asesoría Legal en Asuntos de la OMC (the only law firm in the sector dedicated exclusively to advising in this type of procedure) and the Servicio Fitosanitario del Estado (SFE). – State Phytosanitary Service.

Initially and before the start of the litigation, Comex had estimated the cost of the country’s defense before the WTO in the Hass litigation at around 600,000 dollars.

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