Argentina has submitted a formal complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against both the United States and Japan claiming their restrictions on Argentine exports are “unjustifiable.”
The Foreign Ministry submitted the complaint claiming that both the US and Japan have been putting up unfair barriers against Argentine meat and citrus fruit.
In an official statement the Foreign Ministry said, “There is no scientific justification for the long delay in recognizing Argentina’s health status and sanitary conditions, which is already recognized by the World Animal Welfare Organization.”
They argue that the refusal to accept Patagonia as a region free of foot-and-mouth disease is unfounded and that fresh, chilled and frozen meat is perfectly safe.
In addition, the ministry questioned the delay in the reopening of the North American market for citrus fruit. The US has been limiting and denying Argentine lemon export permits for the past seven years.
Japan, on the other hand, has been putting up barriers against Argentine packed meat.
“Argentina leads various developing countries in the conception of sanitary measures and technical regulations without fundamental science that normally restricts agricultural exports from developing countries in an arbitrary and unjustified manner,” claimed the Foreign Ministry.
They added that these restrictions create an “unbalanced trading system” that even further widens the gap between developed and developing countries.
Argentina’s beef industry is the third largest in the world behind Brazil and Australia. However, beef exports are not an essential part of the Argentine economy, in large part because Argentina consumes most of its beef. This has prevented it from becoming solely an export industry.
Right now the US has set an annual restriction on importing Argentine meat at 20,000 tonnes.
The production of citrus fruit has increased in the country according to a semi-annual US Department of Agriculture report on the Argentina citrus industry for 2010/11. However, exportation rates do not reflect the spike in production, as they are expected to increase only slightly.
The citrus industry includes lemons, oranges, tangerines/mandarins, and grapefruit.