The Government of Costa Rica stated that Mexico had requested the World Trade Organization (WTO) to form a panel to settle a dispute over restrictions on the importation of Mexican avocados.
The Ministry of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica stated that Mexico had exhausted the stage of bilateral consultations, in which they didn't reach an agreement to avoid raising the case to the WTO panel.
"Mexico decided to continue with the next phase of the procedure and requested the establishment of a WTO panel on Thursday, November 22," the Costa Rican Ministry stated.
The WTO Dispute Settlement Body will establish the panel soon.
"The Government of Costa Rica, through the Ministry of Foreign Trade in coordination with the Legal Advice Center of the WTO and the State Phytosanitary Service, will continue to defend the interests of the country," the statement added.
In May 2015, Costa Rica decided to prohibit the import of Mexican Hass avocados, after considering that there was a risk that the Sunblotch plague could enter the country.
According to data from the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Mexico-Costa Rica (Cicomex), before the ban, 12,000 of the 15,000 tons of Hass avocados that Costa Rica consumed in a year, came from Mexico.
Now Costa Rica imports fruit from other countries, such as Peru.
On March 8, 2017, the WTO reported that Mexico requested consultations with Costa Rica because it considered that the measures the country had imposed unduly restricted imports.
By failing to reach a bilateral agreement at this stage, Mexico decided to request the WTO form a panel of experts to solve this issue.
The measures that Mexico considers restrictive are the checks, inspections, and approval procedures for the importation of the fruit.
Mexico also stated that Costa Rica had failed to apply or recognize certain obligations contained in the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures of the WTO in its internal regulations.