Costa Rica Still "Studying" the Avocado Problem

The situation is seen internationally as a crude protectionist maneuver by a government divided internally between respecting the obligations in signed free trade agreements and an outdated protectionist stance on the part of of uncompetitive national production sectors.

Monday, September 19, 2016


The Solis administration has postponed negotiations with Mexico for the lifting of the ban on imports of avocados from that country, while awaiting new phytosanitary studies.

The action that the government has chosen to follow with the process requested by importers to bring in avocados from the Dominican Republic, is the same as with negotiations to resolve once and for all the problem that has prevented entry of avocados from Mexico for more than a year. The government insists in the need for new phytosanitary studies to determine whether or not to negotiate with Mexico in order to resume imports of the fruit.

According to the director of the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE), Marco Vinicio Jimenez, "...That study is essential in order to take a position on a possible meeting between technical authorities of the two countries. "  

The position contradicts the willingness to solve the problem shown by Jimenez on taking office in June, when he said "... there was full willingness to negotiate with the Mexicans over the blocking of the entry of avocados."

"...The Embassy of Mexico in Costa Rica explained that there is no different procedure or position in this case. Meanwhile, Mexico is maintaining its position that the market should be opened, because there is no real threat posed by the supposed arrival to Costa Rica of the disease known as "macha del sol". "

More on this topic

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.

Barriers Preventing Entry of Mexican Avocados

May 2018

In Guatemala, two importing companies claim not to be able to bring in this type of fruit imported from Mexico, because the Ministry of Agriculture requires them to present a phytosanitary certificate that their suppliers do not issue.

Because the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA) of Guatemala, requires a phytosanitary export certificate which must indicate that avocados coming into the country are free of the Sunblotch virus, since May 11 importing companies have not been able to bring in the product.

Avocado and the High Cost of Protectionism

February 2017

In Costa Rica since the government suspended imports of Mexican avocados in May 2014, the average wholesale price of the fruit went up by 19% in 2015 and 16% last year.

Since the country stopped the imports of mexican avocados because of the alleged presence of the sunblotch plague, the price of this fruit in the local market has kept on rising. Although avocados are now imported from seven different countries, total imports have fallen 25% since then, and the average price has recorded since then an annual increase of 18%.

Contradictions in Costa Rica's Foreign Trade

February 2016

The private sector is demanding homogeneity in the foreign trade strategy, since the situation today is that there is "one protectionist minister and another who works for free trade."

In the words of José Manuel Quirce, president of the Chamber of Importers of Costa Rica (Crecex), the Solis administration needs to focus on "...

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