South Africa is the second largest exporter of citrus fruits globally. Our exports of citrus fruits represent 11.2% of world exports for this product.
The measures introduced by the European Union, both in respect of citrus black spot and false coddling moth are inappropriate, unjustified and not consistent with the EU’s international obligations.
South Africa requested consultations with the EU on 22 July 2022 in World Trade Organisation (WTO). The consultations were held on 15-16 September 2022.
The objective of consultations is to achieve a mutually agreed solution. Both South Africa and the EU saw value in exploring options for settlement of the dispute (before proceeding to the formal dispute through panel proceedings).
South Africa is exploring all its options, including proceeding to the Panel and is also assessing options for a mutually acceptable outcome. In this regard, Minister Didiza and I have held meetings with EU policy-makers outside the WTO framework, including over the past three months.
This process of engaging the EU is still on-going with Government using every opportunity to seek a solution that can support the industry during the current season. We are considering requesting a WTO Panel though it should be noted that the panel process can be lengthy and on average takes approximately 18 months. In addition, there is no functioning appellate body in place at the WTO.