Costa Rica Activate Barriers to Rice Imports

In what seems to be a reaction caused by the rice lobby, the government is now requiring imported rice to be fortified in its country of origin.

Friday, October 14, 2011

11,400 quintals of grain loaded into 21 containers have been detained in the port of Limon, because they violate a rule which states that unhusked rice must have vitamins added to it in its country of origin. The requirement has existed since 2002, but has not be applied until last Friday.

An article in Nacion.com, reported that "The importing firm, La Maquila Lama, claimed that it was strange that the decree was activated as a requirement by customs a few hours after a meeting between the government and national rice producers. The meeting was last Thursday. The Government propitiated with an agreement that the industry would receive all of the harvest. The Vice Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), Tania Lopez, acknowledged that the industry asked for the decree to be activated, but this was negotiated several months ago."

The increase in rice production in Costa Rica, motivated by the expectations generated by the decree fixing the price of grain, which is considered an excessive subsidy by the WTO, exceeds the industry's capacity to receive and thoroughly dry the current crop, which is why producers are attempting to stop the import, which is being conducted at lower prices than that fixed by the government for local production.

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