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South Africa requested WTO review over European restrictions

Geneva, June 24 (Prensa Latina) South Africa requested the examination of measures dictated by the European Union (EU) that affect imports of citrus fruits from that southern nation, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reported today.

The Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) of the multilateral institution began this Monday the analysis of the issue, relating to the restrictions imposed by the EU to control the spread of the insect Thaumatotibia leucotreta, or false cod moth, and the fungus P. citricarpa , known as citrus black spot.

In both cases, the provisions are maintained without sufficient scientific evidence and restrict trade beyond what is necessary to achieve the EU’s adequate level of protection, says the South African complaint, disclosed by the WTO.

Furthermore, the text adds, the EU did not take into account regional differences in pest risk in the application of the measures, which are having a serious impact on South Africa’s citrus exports, which employ more than 140 thousand people in the country.

At the same time, the regulations harm other countries in the region that depend on South African infrastructure for their citrus exports, the complaint explains.

According to the source, South Africa argued the need to ensure the safeguarding of its rights through WTO procedures, but also confirmed its willingness to continue talks with the EU to ensure a mutually agreed solution.

For its part, the community entity regretted the decision of the African State to request the establishment of two WTO special groups to resolve the disagreements and considered that its pest control measures are fully justified.

The DSB took note of the statements of both parties and agreed to revert to these matters, should any requesting member wish to return to the matter in the future.

If the process goes smoothly, the dispute will hopefully be heard in the second half of the year.

According to business estimates, the EU market accounted for a third of South Africa’s total citrus exports, hence concerns about the trade restrictions in place.