SA Citrus Growers Association accuses EU of bowing to political pressure – SABC News

The Citrus Growers Association has accused the European Union of caving in to political pressure, following its decision to impose a cold storage obligation on citrus imports from South Africa.

The association has strongly condemned the decision which it says requires farmers to subject their produce to extreme cold storage to avoid moth infestation.

The South African government has filed a trade dispute with the World Trade Organization over this. South Africa is the world’s second largest exporter of fresh citrus after Spain.

The association’s president, Hannes de Waal, said the EU had given in to political pressure.

“Why we deem it unfair is [because] we believe that the European Union has not really applied the science. We think they gave in to political pressure, especially from Spain, and that obviously adds an extra cost. You know that the cost of shipping over the past two years has more than doubled on some trade routes, including to the European Union. It’s excessive right now and this industry is in trouble,” says De Waal.

Below is the full interview with Hannes de Waal:

New EU regulations on citrus imports

The Department of Agriculture says it is working around the clock to reach an agreement with the European Union on new regulations it has imposed on citrus imports.

The new regulations, if maintained, will have disastrous consequences for local citrus exporters.

Citrus fruits worth over R600 million have already been exported and are stuck in Europe.

The fruit risks being destroyed if an agreement is not reached by the end of this week.

Exported fruits must now undergo a mandatory 25-day cold treatment before being exported.

The new regulations were published and implemented when large shipments of fruit were already on their way to the EU under the old rules.

VIDEO: New citrus import regulations discussed

Andrew B. Reiter