Last month, authorities at the Spanish port of Algeciras began rejecting products from Costa Rica because they were treated with waxes that are not registered as preservatives in the European Union (EU). This measure mainly affects roots and tubers, as well as fruits, and has kept exporters in a state of uncertainty since last May.
The situation not only endangers exports valued at 75 million dollars a year but could also be extended to other European ports, according to the Chamber of Exporters of Costa Rica (Cadexco). In fact, at this moment, there are 150 containers with products that are currently in maritime transit and that have been treated with wax as a preservative, according to Cadexco data.
Costa Rica's cassava sales to the European Union last year amounted to $ 30.12 million. Shipments to Spain were valued at 8.9 million in 2020.
This situation required a negotiation at the government level. The Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex) is leading Costa Rica's efforts, but there are no results yet.
The head of Comex, Andres Valenciano, stated that the negotiations were being carried out in coordination with the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) and the Foreign Trade Promoter (Procomer), in an attempt to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
We are in contact with high authorities of the Spanish Government and of the European Union, in Brussels, Valenciano said.
The most affected sector by the new provision is the roots and tubers sector, which has traditionally used a wax coating to extend the life of its products. However, other sectors have already been impacted, directly or indirectly.
Abel Chaves, the president of the National Chamber of Pineapple Producers and Exporters (Canapep), said pineapple exporters did not have many problems but that there were already some complications.
The biggest complication, Chaves said, is with consolidated containers, i.e. those that carry several products. If the pineapples are transported with roots and tubers in the same container, the possibility of rejection is imminent, he stated.