SA lodges second complaint against EU citrus rules

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South Africa has lodged a complaint against the European Union’s citrus black spot (CBS) regulations, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said on Wednesday.

The EU is a major market for South African citrus fruit, accounting for a third of its citrus exports and the move is the African country’s second ever WTO complaint.

It challenged EU changes to phytosanitary requirements for imports of oranges and other citrus products related to the false codling moth (FCM) in July 2022 in a dispute that is still being adjudicated.

“South Africa has requested WTO dispute consultations with the European Union concerning certain aspects of the regime imposed by the European Union on the importation of South African citrus fruit,” the WTO said in a statement.

New measures imposed by the EU require enhanced cold treatment for fruit due to concerns over false codling moth, a pest commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa, and citrus black spot, a fungal disease which leaves dark spots on fruit.

Parties to the dispute have 60 days to discuss and resolve the matter, the WTO said. If consultations fail, the complainant may request adjudication by a panel.

South African farmers, who are battling power supply and logistics challenges as well as higher input costs, say increased CBS risk management requirements add about $100 million annually in costs.