For two years now, Senasa — the Argentinian plant health authority — has been refusing entry into Argentina of rooted vines, forcing them to be returned to their country of origin, to the detriment of both French and Italian nurserymen.
The damage caused is twofold: to European suppliers, whose commercial interests are being harmed, and to Argentinian vine growers, who for over 30 years have been counting on European products to develop their vineyards.
The European rooted vines are being rejected on the grounds of the alleged presence in the plants of the organism Cylindrocarpon macrodidymum, which Argentina alone regards as an organism subject to quarantine. This has been ordered following a mere visual inspection and on the basis of general notes on the quality of the material, without giving any specific information on the diseases the plants are deemed to be suffering from.
Given the risk that these rejections at the border by the Argentinian plant health department might be used for political and instrumental purposes, will the Commission take action to ascertain whether any WTO rules might have been breached to the detriment of the EU’s agri-food industries?
The Commisison was not aware of any refusal of entry into Argentina of rooted vines exported from any EU Member State.
As soon as the question was raised by the Honourable Member, the Commission started gathering the necessary information to better understand the nature and economic impact of the measures reported to have been taken by Argentina. Such information includes, among other things, the plant pest in question (in particular if Cylindrocarpon macrodidymum had already been identified by Argentina as a quarantine pest), the frequency of the rejections by the competent authority of Argentina (SENASA), as well as the value and percentage of affected exports.
In accordance with standard practice, , the Commission will determine any further action on the basis of the information gathered and, if appropriate take action in respect of any possible deviation from the World Trade Organisation Sanitary and Phytosanitary Standards Agreement and international standards, guidelines and recommendations — in this case, of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).