Argentina makes progress in U.S. citrus access talks

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Argentina makes progress in U.S. citrus access talks

Argentina's National Food Health and Quality Service (Senasa) has reported advances with U.S. counterparts in its bid to secure access to the country's lucrative lemon market. White House 231 sq

The Argentine province of Tucumán is the world's leading lemon-exporting region, but growers have been unable to export their fruit to the U.S. market since it was opened to them for a brief stint in 2000.

The existing prohibition on Argentine citrus in the U.S. was subject to a complaint by Argentina to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2012, but the international body deferred the establishment of a dispute settlement gateway (DSG) for the issue.

Argentine lemon industry representatives and government officials have made many bold claims about expected access arrangements over the years, but this time SENASA's claim appears to have more scientific grounding.

SENASA said that during a March 14 teleconference with the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Protection Service (APHIS), it managed to show lemons were not hosts for citrus variegated chlorosis (CVC), and that the disease could not be transmitted vertically from the seeds of any citrus fruit.

The service said these conclusions were the result of studies by the Parana Agronomic Institute of the Federal Republic of Brazil (IAPAR) and Argentina's Obispo Colombres Agroindustrial Experimental Station (EEAOC).

"On the occasion, the U.S. agency officials said that the results of this work are consistent with the study conducted by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS)," SENASA said in a release.

"This would advance the process of approving the export of lemons from Northwestern Argentina (NOA) to the U.S. and consequently, will have a positive impact on negotiations for the opening of the market for Argentine sweet citrus."

A 2011 study by Virginia Tech on Argentine lemons concluded such an opening would be of great benefit to consumers.


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