Ecuador bans imports of nine Peruvian products

This year Peru won't be able to export grapes, peaches, watermelon, lemon (subtle and tahití), orange, tangelo, tangerine, grapefruit, giant white corn, sweet corn, and purple corn to Ecuador. This was a decision taken by the Ecuadorian Agency for Agricultural Quality Assurance (Agrocalidad), an entity that is part of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Livestock and Aquaculture and Fisheries (Magap).

Diego Vizcaino, the executive director of Agrocalidad, said that this agency had suspended the issuance of phytosanitary import permits for these products since April 13 because they had found quarantine pests in shipments of said products.

Agrocalidad reported the ban to the Peruvian National Service of Agrarian Health Agency (Senasa) on April 13.

The aforementioned products may not enter Ecuador, just like Peruvian red onions and apples which have been banned since 2014. The measure, which took effect last Wednesday, does not include the Peruvian cargo that had received phytosanitary permits prior to the ban and that were already being transported to the country.

According to Vizcaino, the ban on these import products aims to safeguard the agricultural activity in the country: "Ecuador is not affected by the insects (pests) found in Peruvian loads, therefore, they pose a threat to agriculture" . 

Three weeks ago Agrocalidad also implemented a similar measure on citrus from Colombia; however, this country has reached agreements to certify that their fruit producing sites are free from the yellow dragon, said the official.

To date, Peru's National Service of Agrarian Health (Senasa) of Peru, hasn't pronounced itself against the measure so Vizcaino believes that there won't be any trade retaliations.

Regarding a possible rise in smuggling of these products, Vizcaino said that this measure could probably cause these products to be smuggled into the country. According to the official, these foods were not imported in large quantities nor were they seasonal. Agrocalidad will continue performing controls at border crossings, ports, airports, and destination points to prevent the entry of food that could pose a health risk in the country.

Last year Ecuador imported 41,527 tons of peach, apple, citrus, watermelon, grapes, and corn from Peru. In 2014, before the ban that is still enforced, Ecuador imported a total of 66,294 tons of red onion.

Source: elcomercio.com

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