South Africa has submitted a complaint to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) about its ongoing loss of market access to Thailand.
The Southern Hemisphere supplier lost access to Thailand for a range of fresh fruits in 2007, after Thailand revised its import regulations and requested suppliers reapply for access and submit new pest risk analyses (PRA).
For some reason, South Africa did not reapply for access by the deadline, and as such one of Thailand’s largest horticultural suppliers had access to the market cut off.
Access has not been re-established since, prompting South African authorities to register a trade concern with the WTO during last month’s meeting of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures in Geneva, reported South African newspaper the New Age.
The Committee does not have the power to impose a ruling on the dispute, but can serve to encourage further discussion of the issue.
South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) described the original failure to reapply for access as a small technical error, a description Gerhard Borstlap from the Thai Embassy in Pretoria rejects.
“Afterwards `South Africa` made repeated requests for special transitionary treatments for South African products, but as Thailand has to adhere to the principle of fair and equal treatment for all countries on this matter, it is not possible for the Thai side to accede to the South African request,” he told the New Age in a statement.