QCOSTARICA – Following an interview with La Nacion, where the United States Ambassador to Costa Rica, Stafford Fitzgerald Haney, said the Solis administration policy on agriculture is straining bilateral trade, the Chamber of Exporters and Importers of Perishables, want a meeting with the Ambassador.
Randall Benavides, president of the Cámara de Exportadores e Importadores de Productos Perecederos (CEIPP), said he organization wants to meet with Haney because Costa Rica importers are losing ¢5 million colones per container due to delays in the unloading of perishable goods, blaming the policies of the State Phytosanitary Service (SFE) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG).
Haney, in the La Nacion interview, was especially critical of the SFE, saying “they complicate trade one hundred percent”, that the organization is being led by politics and not technical criteria.
Benavides, said that criticism by the U.S. Ambassador coincides with the everyday experience in the field of importing of perishable goods. He explained that the sector faces 12-15 days for inspection, analysis, and nationalization of fresh produce, due to excessive controls and the lack of staff at the SFE and MAG.
Based on the accusations by Haney, the Legislative Commission on Agricultural Affairs passed a motion for the director of SFE, Francisco Dall’Anese, to appear before them to clear up questions about the workings of the state agency.
“At the MAG they are acting arrogantly (…), ” complains Benavides.
On the chopping block is also the Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex).
The importer said that Foreign Trade minister Alexander Mora does not enforce equal treatment between the domestic and foreign produces, as called for in trade agreements.
“That goes against the good name of Costa Rica abroad; trading partners are upset,” Benavides said.