Mexican avocados: WTO to mediate after Costa Rican access talks fail

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Mexican avocados: WTO to mediate after Costa Rican access talks fail

Mexico has requested mediation from the World Trade Organization (WTO) after talks broke down with Costa Rica regarding the reopening of the market for Hass avocado imports.

Costa Rica suspended market access in 2015 citing concerns over sunblotch disease. Both countries in December said they would try and find an independent solution to the conflict.

Mexico this week said it would reactivate the process to form an expert WTO panel to look into the matter, following reports in the local press that Costa Rica said it would not receive Mexican phytosanitary specialists to verify if the disease was present in the Central American country.

The Costa Rican Government has said that the disease - which affects the avocado trees and is present in Mexico, the world's largest avocado grow  - would damage the local industry if it were to enter the country. However, Costa Rican retail associations have claimed that the disease is present within the country and allege the suspension was due to protectionism.

The WTO has said there will be a meeting between Mexico and Costa Rica on March 6, when the panelists would be chosen from a list proposed by the two countries.

Last year both countries established a series of measures in a bid to restore trade, among which was the requirement of inspection of Costa Rican orchards.

The Costa Rican Agriculture Minister told that Costa Rican phytosanitary officials were inspecting orchards to verify the absence of the disease, a process that it said would take until at least April.


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