STC Number - 73

Imports of citrus fruit

Maintained by: United States of America
Raised by: Argentina
Supported by:
First date raised: November 1999 G/SPS/R/17, para. 89
Dates subsequently raised: June 2000 (G/SPS/R/19, para. 10)
July 2001 (G/SPS/R/25, paras. 94-96)
Number of times subsequently raised: 2
Relevant documents: Raised orally
Products covered: 0805 Citrus fruit, fresh or dried.
Primary subject keyword: Plant Health
Keywords: Plant health
Status: Resolved
Solution: Favourable conclusion reported in June 2000. New concerns raised in October 2001. Issue reported resolved in March 2004
Date reported as resolved: 01/03/2004

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In November 1999, Argentina expressed concerns regarding the postponement of US measures dealing with imports of citrus fruit from north-western Argentina. Negotiation of the measure had taken seven years and been finalized one year earlier. Argentina appealed to the United States to publish the measure before another harvest was lost for Argentine producers. The representative of the United States answered that the draft measures had passed the technical level and promised to draw the attention of his authorities to Argentina's concerns.
In June 2000, Argentina reported that after years of negotiations with the United States regarding citrus produced in north-west Argentina, a favourable conclusion had been reached.
In July 2001, Argentina expressed concerns related to a California court decision to overturn a USDA/APHIS risk assessment which had allowed the import of lemons, oranges and grapefruits from north western Argentina starting June 2000. In Argentina's opinion, the judge's reasoning went beyond the terms of the SPS Agreement. As imports from other destination were not subject to zero risk, Argentina felt this amounted to discrimination. In addition the judge had ruled that APHIS had not measured the economic impact of imports on producers in the United States, an economic test inadmissible under the SPS Agreement. Argentina requested US authorities to ensure compliance with the SPS Agreement by bodies other than the central government, according to Article 13. The United States confirmed that no problems had been reported during the two seasons that Argentina had had access to the US market for citrus. US regulations were subject to judicial review and had been challenged through a District Court in California. Although the Federal Government had disputed the case, the Court had ruled in favour of the complainant in September 2001. The United States indicated that the executive branch agencies were consulting about how to proceed and would take Argentina's comments into account.
In March 2004, Argentina reported that the issue of US imports of citrus fruits had been resolved.