The European Union (EU), through its health service, informed the Argentine National Health and Food Quality Service (Senasa) that it made the unilateral decision to suspend citrus exports from Argentina for the rest of this season. The reasons expressed by the EU have to do with the phytosanitary risk related to the Black spot disease in these fruits.
From Senasa they expressed that “we regret this decision that ignored the request made by Argentina to apply the concept of regionalization, which would be appropriate, which implied excluding from any restrictive measure sweet citrus from the NEA region since they have not had any disease interception and that is a principle that governs our bilateral food trade relationship.
«We are concerned that this measure has been influenced by claims that go beyond the merely phytosanitary, such as the one made by citrus producers members of COAG (Coordinator of Organizations of Farmers and Ranchers) who requested the immediate activation of ‘additional and effective’ measures to the European Commission since imports in this area were ‘sinking prices in the European market,’ “said the Argentine health agency.
Senasa will initiate an audit of the public – private citrus health certification system, in order to determine whether there have been any possible inconsistencies or shortcomings in the established procedures.
The EU is the main market for Argentine citrus fruits: in 2019 it imported 171,872 tons of lemons and oranges. tangerines and grapefruit. In value, lemons sold to Europe represented US $ 296 million last year, while sweet citrus to that market represented US $ 36 million.