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SA ready to fight EU ban on citrus fruit

SA ready to fight EU ban on citrus fruit

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said last week the government was ready to take the EU to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to challenge its objections to imports of SA’s citrus fruit due to black spot, says a Business Day report. It adds SA has informally appealed to Argentina and the US to make a combined application to the WTO as their exports have also suffered under EU sanitary and phytosanitary rules. Davies told MPs he was convinced that the EU was using these rules as a protectionist measure to block imports because there was no scientific basis for its claim that citrus black spot (CBS) could infect European orchards. The report adds earlier last week farmers from CBS-affected farms voluntarily agreed not to send their fruit to the EU, in a bid to prevent a total ban on all fruit imports from SA. The EU has already made four interceptions over CBS and has warned of a ban in the event of five interceptions of consignments. The industry and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are in discussions with the EU to resolve the impasse. But, notes the report, Davies said his expectations about what these talks would deliver were ‘pretty low’ given the EU’s record.

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