Call for cold treatment to be required from South Africa
Spain: Request to include citrus on list of high risk plants
LA UNIÓ de Llauradors (the Growers' Association) has asked the Agriculture Commission of the Spanish Congress of Deputies to include citrus fruits in the List of High Risk Plants or Plant Products," featured in Article 42 of European Regulation 2016/2031, which focuses on pest protection measures. The technical secretary of UNIÓ de Llauradors, Joanma Mesado, made this request in his speech before the Agriculture Commission of the Congress of Deputies, in which he assessed the Economic Association Agreement between the European Union and South Africa at the request of Rosana Pastor, Valencian deputy of Unidos Podemos.
Despite the obvious risk, citrus fruits are not included in this list. The petition from LA UNIÓ is based on the long history of interceptions of harmful organisms for citrus fruits coming from third countries and the volume imported from countries with severe impact pests (more than 2 million tonnes).
LA UNIÓ has also asked the deputies of the Agriculture Commission for cold treatment to be required from South Africa, since it guarantees quality and eliminates the Thaumatotibia leucotreta moth, which is a quarantine pest with numerous interceptions in the citrus fruits from South Africa intended for the European market. This is something that is already required from Spain, in the case of Ceratitis capitata, to be able to export to the US, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Taiwan or India, etc; or to South Africa itself for its exports to the US or Asian countries.
Other proposals from LA UNIÓ are to unify the inspection criteria at the Border Inspection Posts (PIF) or the reciprocity in the negotiation and requirements to third countries (phytosanitary, labour, environmental and social).
Joanma Mesado pointed out in his speech that the EU is progressively dismantling the tariff protection and should therefore enforce phytosanitary protection, "but it is actually asking European producers to be competitive while taking away our defence tools and handing them over to the big exporters from third countries." He also announced that South Africa could be made liable in the event that one of these harmful pests entered our territory. "If an Administration does not correctly enforce the inspection tasks, and as a result of this negligence, damage is caused, we could ask for equity and compensation to those affected," said Mesado.
Following the June 2016 agreement, South African citrus fruits enter the European Union without tariffs from 1 June to 30 November (in the past, it was until 15 October). The agreement also foresees the progressive reduction of entry tariffs until their eventual disappearance.
Publication date: 11/9/2017
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