Panama: Dutch embassy issues statement on the importation of onions

The embassy of the Netherlands spoke about the production and export of onions, due to the recent questions about Panama's Dutch onion imports.

The embassy's statement stresses that Panama and the Netherlands agreed on a protocol for the importation of Dutch onions to Panama in 2016.

This protocol established, among other things, that Dutch onions can only be sold within 120 days after they have been harvested.

As a result, Panama doesn't import Dutch onions in its main onion harvest months: March, April, and May.

The harvest in the Netherlands normally ends in late October / early November. This means that, in general, according to the 120-day term, Dutch onions can not be sold to Panamanian consumers since the beginning of March.

Dutch onions can only be exported with a certificate from the Dutch Phytosanitary Authority (NVWA for its acronym in Dutch). To comply with the protocol, the Dutch Phytosanitary Authority only issues certificates for export to Panama up to 105 days after the harvest.

This year's last container of Dutch onions for Panama received an export certificate from the Dutch Phytosanitary Authority at the end of January.

The 120-day term of the Copanit 52-17 regulation of the AUPSA and ACODECO for all onions sold in Panama has been applied since 2017.

The compliance and supervision of the protocol and Copanit regulation are responsibilities of the Panamanian authorities. The Dutch government can not interfere in these matters.

The presence of Dutch onions in the Panamanian market at this time is the result of a decision made by the AUPSA, Acodeco, and the Ministry of Health, which on March 1 extended the 120 days term for imported onions already present in the Panamanian market because there wasn't enough national onion available (


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