Avocado Conflict: No Solution Yet

Despite the fact that in December it was announced that a WTO panel would be formed to solve Mexico's complaint against Costa Rica, this was only established on May 16 and in the next few days’ meetings will begin to set the calendar for the process.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

The unresolved conflict dates back several years, in May 2014, when Costa Rican authorities decided to ban the import of avocado from Mexico, arguing the existence of the disease called sunspot.

On May 20, the World Trade Organization (WTO) reported that "... Following the agreement reached by the parties, the composition of the Special Group was established on 16 May 2019, as follows:
Chairman Mr. Gary Horlick
Members: Mr. Alejandro Buvinic
                 Mrs. Maria de Lourdes Fonalleras.
"

The panel's mandate is to examine, "in the light of the relevant provisions of the covered agreements invoked by the parties to the dispute, the matter submitted to the DSB by Mexico in document WT/DS524/2 and to formulate conclusions that will assist the DSB in making the recommendations or issuing the rulings provided for in those agreements," explains the WTO statement.

See WTO documents.

Dyalá Jiménez, Minister of Foreign Trade, told Elobservadorcr.com that "... The WTO Secretariat has to call a meeting in the next few weeks to set the calendar of the process, to establish the times and deadlines within which each party has the right to submit its submissions in which it will give its position'."

Ronald Saborío, Costa Rica's former ambassador to the WTO, explained that "... the first meeting within this stage will be an organizational meeting, to agree on working dates according to the convenience of the two parties involved. The maximum time that the panel has to have a final report is one semester, but can be extended at the request of panel members."

See conflict history.

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More on this topic

Avocado: Costa Rica-Mexico Conflict Resolution Delayed

February 2019

Mexico asks to inspect Costa Rican farms to determine if it is true that the sustain is not in the crops, to which local producers oppose.

In December 2018, the phytosanitary and livestock authorities of Costa Rica and Mexico agreed on a procedure to end almost four years of trade conflict, which arose from the barriers imposed on the entry of avocado to the Costa Rican market.

Avocado: End of the Dispute Between Costa Rica and Mexico?

February 2019

Authorities from both countries agreed that Costa Rica would accept avocado from Mexico, as long as it has a phytosanitary certificate indicating that the shipment is "symptom-free."

The State Phytosanitary Service (SFE) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) of Costa Rica, managed to agree in December 2018 with the new Mexican authorities, the procedure to end almost four years of trade conflict, which emerged from the barriers imposed on the entry of avocado to the Costa Rican market.

Avocado Conflict: Panel of Arbitrators is Formed

December 2018

The WTO was part of the panel of experts that will resolve Mexico's lawsuit against Costa Rica, arising from the barriers imposed by the Costa Rican authorities to import the fruit.

The trade conflict emerged because of the barriers that Costa Rica imposes since 2014 to the entry of avocado from Mexico.

Mexican Avocado Dispute Increases

November 2018

Because of the problem of the barriers that Costa Rica has imposed since 2014 to the entry of avocado from Mexico remains unsolved, the Mexican authorities asked the WTO to refer the case to an arbitration panel.

The blockade of the Mexican avocado does not end. The Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex) reported that Mexico requested the WTO to establish a panel of arbitrators to solve the dispute.

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