The expansion of COVID-19 in Europe has forced different countries to adopt strict measures to curb infections, such as the suspension of classes, the closure of hospitality establishments, and the confinement of the population. This situation on the European continent, the third most relevant market for Costa Rica and the main one for its fresh agricultural products, has caused exports to drop by 20%, up until March 18, over the same period of last year.
According to Costa Rica's Chamber of Exporters (Cadexco), the most affected sectors by this situation have been the flower and plant sectors as well as the fresh agricultural products sector (banana, pineapple, melon, watermelon, roots, and tubers).
Regarding logistics, exporters consider that the situation is normalizing as China releases containers for export. Placements to the United States remain normal so far, stated the president of Cadexco, Laura Bonilla, and the president of the National Chamber of Producers and Exporters of Pineapple (Canapep), Abel Chaves.
Chaves and Bonilla agreed that the situation wasn't critical yet and that they haven't had a reduction of personnel due to the emergency.
The representatives of the exporters consider that, at this time, it is convenient to apply measures and guidelines to facilitate trade to speed up exports.
According to Bonilla, the provisions to streamline the export process should be applied in the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE), the National Animal Health Service (Senasa), both attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), and in the General Directorate of Customs, of the Ministry of Finance.