STC Number - 386

Measures on imports of hibiscus flowers

Maintained by: Mexico
Raised by: Nigeria; Senegal
Supported by: Burkina Faso
First date raised: March 2015 G/SPS/R/78 paras. 3.6-3.8
Dates subsequently raised: October 2015 (G/SPS/R/81, paras. 3.48-3.50)
November 2019 (G/SPS/R/97/Rev.1, paras. 3.69-3.71)
Number of times subsequently raised: 2
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 06 Live trees and other plants; bulbs, roots and the like; cut flowers and ornamental foliage
Primary subject keyword: Plant Health
Keywords: Control, Inspection and Approval Procedures; Plant health
Status: Partially resolved
Solution: In March 2016, Nigeria reported that its concerns over Mexico's measures on imports of hibiscus flowers (STC 386) had been resolved. Nigeria expressed its gratitude to Mexico, the Secretariat and to the SPS Committee for the roles played in resolving the issue. Mexico confirmed the resolution and that it was pleased to have successfully resolved the issue thanks to the commitment of the authorities in both countries. Mexico also highlighted the resolution of the issue as an example of the SPS Committee's effective role in settling trade concerns.
Date reported as resolved: 16/03/2016

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In March 2015, Nigeria expressed concerns on certain verification procedures being used by Mexico on imported hibiscus flowers from Nigeria. Following the Mexican quarantine authorities' request to change the certificate, Nigeria had developed an online platform to generate electronic phytosanitary certificates and had held bilateral discussions with Mexico's quarantine authority. The validation procedures were causing delays for Nigeria's exports of hibiscus flowers and real losses in some cases. Nigeria thanked the Mexican delegate for the efforts made to convene a bilateral meeting on the margins of the Committee meeting, but noted that no timelines had been agreed for the resolution of the issue.

Burkina Faso echoed Nigeria's concern since it was experiencing similar problems with exports to Indonesia. Senegal also shared the concern, noting that Senegal was currently trying to develop its hibiscus flower sector and would consider the possibility of exporting to Mexico.

Mexico explained that 14 shipments of Hibiscus flowers with false SPS certificates had been intercepted during 2014. Mexican authorities had since maintained ongoing communication with Nigeria and had held a meeting in capital and a bilateral meeting on the margins of the Committee meeting with the aim of guaranteeing the authenticity of the certificates produced by the Nigerian authorities. While setting a timeline was not possible due to certain aspects that still needed to be concluded, Mexico confirmed its willingness to find a prompt solution to the problem.

In October 2015, Nigeria restated its concerns on certain verification procedures being used by Mexico on imported hibiscus flowers from Nigeria. Following the Mexican quarantine authorities' request to change the certificate, Nigeria had developed an online platform to generate electronic phytosanitary certificates and had held bilateral discussions with Mexico's quarantine authority. The validation procedures were causing delays for Nigeria's exports of hibiscus flowers and significant losses in some cases. Nigeria also expressed further concern that sesame had now been included in the list of validation requests from Mexico. Nigeria thanked Mexico for the bilateral meeting on the margins of the Committee meeting and for reassurances of Mexico's efforts to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Nigeria stated that it was prepared to utilize the procedures for good offices of the Chairperson as contained in G/SPS/61 should its concerns remain unaddressed by Mexico.

Burkina Faso echoed Nigeria's concern as a producer of hibiscus and in the interest of facilitating trade of this product. Senegal also shared the concern, noting the importance of following guidelines for documentation and certificates to prevent any delays.

Mexico noted that at the outset the issue had been that false SPS certificates had accompanied hibiscus shipments from Nigeria. Both countries had exchanged documentation and had decided to improve communication and coordination at the national level, set up contact points and seek out the best way to address the concerns raised. Mexico also noted that hibiscus trade had not been stopped entirely. Delays had been due to the review and validation of the certificates.

In March 2016, Nigeria reported that its concerns over Mexico's measures on imports of hibiscus flowers (STC 386) had been resolved. Nigeria expressed its gratitude to Mexico, the Secretariat and to the SPS Committee for the roles played in resolving the issue.

Mexico confirmed the resolution and that it was pleased to have successfully resolved the issue thanks to the commitment of the authorities in both countries. Mexico also highlighted the resolution of the issue as an example of the SPS Committee's effective role in settling trade concerns.

In November 2019, Senegal raised concerns regarding the provisional suspension of hibiscus flowers due to quarantine measures taken after the detection of live larvae of Trogoderma granarium in some shipments during 2018. Senegal reported that, after investigating relevant actors, a report with corrective measures had been elaborated and sent to the phytosanitary authorities of Mexico. Senegal highlighted that, since then, a completely new cleaning and fumigation protocol for the exportation of hibiscus to Mexico was required. Senegal referred to the proposal made earlier this year to receive a Mexican mission in Senegal, in view of reaching a bilateral agreement, but indicated that so far there had been no developments. Senegal invited Mexico to explain how progress could be made in this matter. Finally, Senegal announced that it was in the process of consolidating the phytosanitary framework in the hibiscus industry.

Burkina Faso expressed shared the concern and reported that a note requesting information on the measures for importation of hibiscus flower had been sent to Mexico, but that it had received no response.

Mexico explained that, since Senegal had been notified of this measure, both governments had engaged in discussions regarding the corrective measures that the later would take based on the investigations performed, but that there was not enough information to establish a working plan that ensured the control of the pest in exports to Mexico. Mexico reiterated its willingness to continue working with Senegal to address its concern, while at the same time ensuring that the appropriate level of protection was met. Regarding the concern of Burkina Faso, Mexico stated that it could not give a detailed response and invited Burkina Faso to forward its communication to its Permanent Mission in Geneva.