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Article: EU suspends Argentinean citrus imports amid phytosanitary concerns

19 August 2020

The European Union has temporarily suspended the entry of Argentinean lemon and oranges Citrus limon (L.) N. Burm.f. and Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck, alleging that citrus black spot (CBS) - Phyllosticta citricarpa - was found in imported bulk during inspections carried on in May, June, July and the first week of August this year.

The ban, imposed on 16 August, will remain in place until 31 April 2021 for the specified citrus fruit "regardless [that] the raw material is destined to the juice processing industry or other issues," as stated in the Official Journal of the European Union.

On 1 July, Argentina itself suspended lemon exports to the EU for 15 days due to CBS detected in the market.

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The Argentinean sanitary body Senasa has announced it will initiate an audit of the public-private citrus health certification system, in order to determine whether there have been possible inconsistencies or shortcomings in the established procedures.

Similarly, the Argentinean citrus association Federcitrus added: "We regret this decision that ignored the request made by Argentina to apply the concept of regionalisation, which implied excluding from any restrictive measure sweet citrus fruits from the NEA region, since they have not had any interception of the disease […]

"We are concerned that this measure has been influenced by claims that go beyond the merely phytosanitary subject, such as the one made by citrus producer members of the farmers' and livestock association COAG, who requested the immediate activation of "additional and effective" measures to the European Commission since imports in this area were "sinking prices in the European market."

The commodity codes subject to the import restriction, which are already materialised in the amendment of Annex VI to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/2072, include HS 0805 10 22, 0805 10 24, 0805 10 28 and 0805 50 10.

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