South African citrus industry players claim:

'New EU rules are unjust and punitive'

In July 2022 the European Union imposed new restrictions on South African citrus imports. The new phytosanitary requirements were meant to combat cases of False Codling Moth, a citrus pest that is native to South Africa. The new regulations are a major blow to South Africa’s citrus industry as they will severely disrupt exports.

South Africa is the world’s second largest exporter of citrus after Spain. The EU accounted for 41% of Southern African citrus exports by value in 2021. Locally, in 2021 citrus accounted for 25% of South Africa’s total agriculture exports up from 19% in 2011.

Some sources claim the regulations are unfair and punitive. Firstly, the EU gave South Africa less than a month to adapt to the new regulations. The EU measures were published on 21 June 2022, entered into force on 24 June 2022, and required that consignments arriving in Europe from 14 July 2022 onwards had to comply with the new requirements.

Secondly, since the EU first declared the False Codling Moth a quarantine pest in 2018, South Africa put in place extensive measures in line to meet the phytosanitary regulations.

That is why some in the view of some players in the industry, the new rules are de facto non-tariff barriers to trade. Non-tariff measures are imposed de jure to protect consumers from unhealthy or low-quality products, but de facto they represent an increase in trade costs.


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