Drugs in Agroexports: No Controls?

The latest discovery of drugs in a container of Costa Rican heart of palms which was destined for Europe, brings back to the table the problem of the lack of controls in customs offices.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The problem also centers around the fact that the different authorities contradict each other when it comes to explaining who carries out the processes for the inspecting containers entering and leaving the country and how. 

Crhoy.com reports that "... 'The Ministry of Finance said that the National Customs Service works with importation of goods, but said that the issue of exports in the field of drug control is carried out by the Ministry of Public Security."

"... Carlos Hidalgo, a spokesman from the Ministry of Security, was clear in pointing out that the department is not responsible for exports, but only works with preventive checks at border posts and these are carried out by the Drug Control Police (Policía de Control de Drogas or PCD in Spanish) and the Police Force."

Added to this the inefficiency in the handling of a donation made by the Chinese government of scanners for port inspections, which was made nine years ago. Marco Vinicio Jimenez, director of the State Phytosanitary Service, explained that the systems need repairing and that the technology is practically obsolete and is not adapted to present day needs, therefore there is a commitment from the Asians to modernize the equipment."

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More on this topic

Drugs in Export Cargo: And the Scanners?

September 2016

Another case of drugs found in cargo which came from Costa Rica highlights the imperative need to improve controls and implement the use of scanners at export ports.


How many more drugs have to be found in commercial export cargo before the authorities in Costa Rica put into operation the scanners which were donated by the Chinese government eight years ago?

Drugs Found Again in Exports from Costa Rica

August 2016

In a Coca Cola factory in France 370 kilos of cocaine were discovered hidden in a shipment of orange juice from Costa Rica.

The event has brought back to the table discussion in Costa Rica on the issue of implementation of controls to prevent export cargos from being used for drug  smuggling to Europe and the United States, the main destinations of Costa Rica's foreign trade.  

Costa Rica: Political Changes in Phytosanitary Controls

June 2016

The departure of the director of the SFE could improve dialogue between authorities and agribusiness after months of confrontation over the imposition of non tariff barriers.

The minister of Agriculture called for the resignation of Francisco Dall'Anese, after the previous director of the SFE did not abide by the recommendation of the Ministry to suspend the additional measure of Inspection of Containers of pineapples at ports.

In a statement issued by the Ministry, the chief Luis Felipe Arauz said 'I, as Minister, asked her to resign. It is absolutely false that the deputy minister signed any certificates that were not inspected. She asked for, and I supported,  a return to the system of inspections in packing plants and in the field, in this way strengthening controls in order to improve the issue of INTs in pineapples'."

Nacion.com reports that "...From yesterday afternoon, explained Arauz, controls on pineapple exports at the port were suspended and measures were streamlined in order to reinforce SFE staff carrying out inspections in the field with six officials from the MAG as well as a plan to train inspectors from companies in coordination with the United States Department of Agriculture. "

See also: "Costa Rica: A Year Without Mexican Avocados"

In relation to the conflict over the ban on imports of avocados from Mexico, the minister was clear that the situation remains the same. "...After repeating several times that the dispute was only on the issue of changes in pineapple controls, minister Arauz said that support is being maintained for other controversial measures taken by the now former director of the SFE, such as the issue of Hass avocados."

Fee for Fumigation at Honduras - El Salvador Border

October 2014

The government of Honduras has announced that it will continue spraying trucks from El Salvador, due to the presence of a pest, but without charging the fee of $10 as it has so far done.  

Fumigation of all trucks leaving the Salvadoran borders is essential since the presence of the pink hibiscus mealybug pest was detected in some shipments in recent weeks.

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