Report Highlights: 

MY 2014/15 (November/October) EU-28 citrus production is forecast at approximately 11 MMT, a slight decrease of 3.2 percent from the previous campaign, mainly because of the lower orange production expected in Spain, Italy, and Greece. MY 2014/15 EU-28 tangerine production is also forecast to slightly decrease from the previous year, because of the reduced volumes expected in Italy. However, MY 2014/15 EU-28 lemon production is forecast to rise by 16 percent at 1.5 MMT, thanks to the increased volumes expected in Spain, Italy, and Cyprus. On May 27, 2014, the Plant Health Standing Committee of the European Commission decided to increase the control measures on South African citrus exports to the EU, resulting in decreased orange imports from South Africa (- 11 percent) in MY 2013/14, compared to the previous campaign. MY 2013/14 EU-28 tangerine and orange exports to Russia declined by 35 and 19 percent, respectively compared to MY 2012/13, as a consequence of the Russian ban since August 7, 2014.

Harmonized System (HS) Codes: 

Oranges 080510 

Tangerines/Mandarins 080520 

Lemons 080550 

Grapefruits 080540 

Orange Juice 200911, 200912, 200919 

MY Marketing year: 

Oranges November/October 

Tangerines November/October 

Lemons November/October 

Grapefruits November/October 

Orange Juice November/October 

Abbreviations used in this report: 

CAP Common Agricultural Policy 

CMO Common Market Organization 

EC European Commission 

EU European Union 

FAS Foreign Agricultural Service 

FCOJ Frozen Concentrated Orange Juice 

GTA Global Trade Atlas 

MS EU Member State 

MT Metric ton (1,000 kg) 

MMT Million Metric Tons 

PS&D Production, Supply and Demand 

USD U.S. Dollar 

Oranges

Production 

EU-28 orange production is concentrated in the Mediterranean area. Spain and Italy account for approximately 80 percent of the EU-28 orange production. The remaining 20 percent is distributed among other EU Member States, mainly Greece, Portugal, and Cyprus. MY 2014/15 (November/October) EU-28 orange production is forecast at 6.2 MMT, a decrease of 7.5 percent compared to the previous campaign, because of the lower production expected in Spain, Italy, and Greece. 

According to the latest data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Environment, and Food (MAGRAMA), Spain’s MY 2014/15 orange production is forecast at approximately 3.3 MMT, a decrease of 8.5 percent compared to the previous campaign, as the high temperatures registered in April and May negatively affected the flowering and fruiting. Fruit quality is expected to be good. The main Spanish orange-producing areas are the Regions of Valencia, Andalusia, and Murcia. Valencia and Andalusia account for approximately 90 percent of Spain’s orange production. Spanish producers try to cover the whole marketing year by growing both early and late varieties to extend the fruit availability. 

Italy’s MY 2014/15 orange production is forecast to be lower than the previous campaign. Blonde varieties are forecast to register a 10 percent decrease (15-20 percent in Sicily in the early areas), while Blood oranges are forecast to drop 30 percent, especially the late varieties. Overall, fruit quality is expected to be good. Sicily and Calabria are the main orange-producing areas, accounting for 59 and 22 percent of total production, respectively. Tarocco, Moro, Sanguinello, Naveline, and Valencia are the chief orange varieties grown in Italy. 

Greece’s MY 2014/15 orange production is forecast to decrease by approximately 12 percent compared to the previous year, because of the heavy rainfall occurred in May and June. Peloponnese and Aitoloakarnaia (western Greece) are the main orange-producing areas. Washington Navel, Commons, Valencia, Navelina, and Newhall are the major orange varieties grown in Greece. 

Portugal’s MY 2014/15 orange production is forecast to increase by 5.3 percent compared to MY 2013/14 with good calibers and qualities. 

Cyprus’s MY 2014/15 orange production is forecast to increase by 15.6 percent from the previous year.

Consumption 

EU-28 oranges are mainly consumed fresh. MY 2014/15 EU-28 fresh orange consumption is forecast at 5.4 MMT, a decrease of 6.4 percent compared to the previous campaign, driven by the decreased production in Spain, Italy, and Greece. Lower volumes are also forecast to be sent to the industry (1.3 MMT compared to 1.4 MMT in MY 2013/14). Spain’s MY 2014/15 fresh orange consumption is forecast at 1.1 MMT, while 800,000 MT are expected to be processed. Spain’s per capita orange consumption is estimated at approximately 20 kg. In Spain, most oranges are consumed fresh, especially Navelina and Navelate varieties. Valencia Late varieties are predominantly used in processing. Italy’s MY 2014/15 fresh orange consumption is forecast at approximately 1.5 MMT, while 308,000 MT are expected to be sent to the industry. Italian Blood varieties (Tarocco, Moro, and Sanguinello) are used mainly for fresh consumption. Italian Late varieties (Ovale and Valencia) are destined to both fresh market and processing industry. Greece’s MY 2014/15 fresh orange consumption is forecast at 330,000 MT, while 170,000 MT are expected to be processed. Portugal and Cyprus’s MY 2014/15 fresh orange consumption is forecast to grow driven by the increased production. 

Trade 

The EU-28 is a net importer of oranges. During MY 2013/14, the EU-28 imported 821,040 MT of oranges, valued at $634.6 million. South Africa (379,012 MT) and Egypt (180,562 MT) confirmed to be the leading suppliers to the EU-28 market, followed by Morocco (66,975 MT), Argentina (41,738 MT), and Uruguay (38,724 MT). On May 27, 2014, the Plant Health Standing Committee of the European Commission decided to increase the control measures on South African citrus exports to the EU, resulting in decreased orange imports from South Africa (- 11 percent) in MY 2013/14, compared to the previous campaign. During MY 2013/14, the EU-28 exported 346,501 MT of oranges (valued at $271 million), mainly to Switzerland (57,195 MT) and Serbia (42,756 MT), followed by Russia (29,203 MT), Norway (26,766 MT), Algeria (24,896 MT), and Canada (21,577 MT). MY 2013/14 EU-28 orange exports to Russia registered a decline of 19 percent compared to MY 2012/13 as a consequence of the Russian ban since August 7, 2014.

Orange Juice

Production 

MY 2014/15 EU-28 orange juice production is forecast at 101,850 MT, a decrease of 8 percent compared to the previous year as fewer oranges are expected to be processed. The total volume of oranges channeled to processing depends on crop quality and quantity of oranges destined for the fresh market, both domestic and foreign. 

Consumption 

While orange juice is the most popular juice within the EU-28, it competes with other non-alcoholic drinks and juices made from other fruits. Despite the reduction on the purchasing power and the competition of other drinks, MY 2014/15 EU-28 orange juice consumption is forecast to be stable. The convenience of orange juice is reflected in its better adaptation to modern consumption habits than whole fresh oranges. In terms of packaging, the carton retains its dominance across Europe. 

Trade 

During MY 2013/14, the EU-28 imported 1,051,191 MT of orange juice, valued at approximately $2.2 billion. Brazil confirmed to be the leading supplier to the EU-28 market, representing 87 percent of total imports. Follow the United States, Mexico, and Switzerland. In MY 2013/14, the EU-28 exported 59,186 MT of orange juice, valued at $146 million, with Saudi Arabia and Switzerland being the leading destinations.

Tangerines/Mandarins

Production 

MY 2014/15 EU-28 tangerine production is forecast to slightly decrease from the previous year, because of the reduced volumes expected in Italy. 

According to the latest data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Environment, and Food (MAGRAMA), Spain’s MY 2014/15 tangerine production is forecast to stay flat at 2.1 MMT. Grades are expected to be normal so as color. Spain’s main tangerine-producing areas are the Regions of Valencia, Andalusia, and Catalonia. New early and late varieties continue being developed to extend the fruit availability.

Italy’s tangerine production consists of over 80 percent seedless clementines and nearly 20 percent mandarins. Italy’s MY 2014/15 tangerine production is forecast to decrease by approximately 10 percent compared to the previous campaign. Italy’s MY 2014/15 clementine production is forecast to decrease by approximately 10 percent (600,000 MT compared to 668,000 MT in 2013/14), so as mandarin production (110,000 MT compared to 121,000 MT in 2013/14). Quality is expected to be better than the past year for both clementines and mandarins. Calabria, Sicily, and Apulia are the main tangerine-producing areas, accounting for 50, 23, and 14 percent of total production, respectively. Comune or Oroval and Monreal are the leading clementine varieties grown in Italy. Avana and Tardivo di Ciaculli are the main mandarin varieties. 

Greece’s MY 2014/15 tangerine production is forecast to remain flat. The main producing areas include the prefectures of Igoumenitsa, Arta, Mosologgi, and Thesprotia, located in northern Greece. Clementine is the major tangerine variety grown in Greece. 

Cyprus’s MY 2014/15 tangerine production is forecast to increase by 9.2 percent from the previous year. 

Portugal’s MY 2014/15 tangerine production is forecast to increase by 11.4 percent, with normal calibers and quality. The Region of Algarve accounts for 80 percent of the total producing area.

Consumption 

EU-28 tangerines are mainly consumed fresh. MY 2014/15 EU-28 fresh tangerine consumption is forecast to stay flat. Spain’s MY 2014/15 fresh tangerine consumption is expected to remain steady. Italy’s MY 2014/15 fresh tangerine consumption is forecast to slightly decrease from MY 2013/14 driven by the decreased production. Italians consume large quantities of clementines and mandarins during winter holidays when the bulk of production hits the market. In Greece, Clementines are consumed mainly along the west coast and cover early and late season demand, both domestically and abroad. Cyprus and Portugal’s MY 2014/15 fresh tangerine consumption is forecast to grow driven by the increased production.

Trade 

During MY 2013/14, the EU-28 imported 367,078 MT of tangerines, valued at $459 million. Morocco (104,445 MT) and South Africa (84,046 MT) confirmed to be the leading suppliers to the EU-28 market, followed by Peru (47,021 MT), Turkey (46,805 MT), and Israel (41,377 MT). Imports from Morocco registered an increase of 63 percent compared to the previous campaign. During MY 2013/14, the EU-28 exported 349,717 MT of tangerines, mainly to Russia (67,444 MT), Ukraine (51,473 MT), Switzerland (41,352 MT), and the United States (40,568 MT). However, MY 2013/14 EU-28 tangerine exports to Russia registered a decline of 35 percent compared to MY 2012/13 as a consequence of the Russian ban since August 7, 2014. MY 2014/15 EU-28 tangerine exports are forecast to decrease as a result of the Russian ban. Moreover, approximately 30,300 MT of produce are forecast to be compensated by the EU intervention programs. Approximately 18,000 MT of the Mandora variety and 500 MT of the Nova one are expected to be withdrawn from the Cypriot market. Moreover, approximately 11,800 MT of tangerines have been withdrawn in Spain, of which 7,000 MT in the Valencia Region.

Lemons

Production 

MY 2014/15 EU-28 lemon production is forecast to rise by 16 percent at 1.5 MMT, thanks to the increased volumes expected in Spain, Italy, and Cyprus. 

According to the latest data from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Environment, and Food (MAGRAMA), Spain’s MY 2014/15 lemon production is forecast at 965,900, an increase of 18 percent compared to the previous year. The Spanish lemon season started approximately two weeks earlier than usual, because of the mild summer temperatures. Fruit quality is forecast to be satisfactory, so as calibers. Lemon production is concentrated in the regions of Murcia and Valencia, and the Provinces of Malaga and Almeria in Andalusia. Fino and Verna are the leading lemon varieties grown in Spain, accounting for 70 and 30 percent of the total production, respectively. The Fino variety is predominantly used in processing. 

Italy’s MY 2014/15 lemon production is forecast to significantly increase by 14 percent. Quality is expected to be excellent. Sicily produces more than 86 percent of Italy’s lemons. Femminello Commune (F. Zagara Bianca, F.Siracusano, F. S.Teresa), Monachello, and Interdonato are the main lemon varieties grown in Italy. 

Greece’s MY 2014/15 lemon production is forecast to remain steady. The main lemon-producing areas include the prefectures of Korinthos, Achaia, Piraeus, and Ilias, located in northern Greece. The major lemon variety grown in Greece is Maglini, whose fruit is strongly aromatic, with a quite sour juice. It has a thin, shiny peel and when fully ripe has a yellow color. 

Cyprus’s MY 2014/15 lemon production is expected to surge 44 percent.

Portugal’s MY 2014/15 lemon production is forecast to stay flat, with normal calibers and quality.

Consumption 

EU-28 lemons are mainly consumed fresh. MY 2014/15 EU-28 fresh lemon consumption is forecast at 1.4 MMT, an increase of 11 percent compared to the previous campaign, driven by the higher production. EU-28 per capita lemon consumption stands at 2.7 kg. Greece has become increasingly reliant on imported lemon juice to meet consumer demand for soft drinks. The yield for lemon juice is 15-17 Kg of fresh lemons to produce 1 Kg of lemon juice, depending on the quality of the fruit. 

Trade 

The EU-28 is a net importer of lemons. During MY 2013/14, the EU-28 imported 375,965 MT of lemons, valued at $556.4 million. Argentina (104,713 MT), Turkey (99,386 MT), and Brazil (74,619 MT) confirmed to be the leading suppliers to the EU-28 market, followed by South Africa (36,044 MT) and Mexico (34,585 MT). During MY 2013/14, the EU-28 exported 100,683 MT of lemons (valued at $131 million), mainly to Russia (27,760 MT), Switzerland (16,372 MT), Belarus (9,001 MT), and Canada (8,039 MT). Spain, the leading EU lemon producer, exported 618,067 MT of lemons in MY 2013/14, of which 91 percent was sent to other EU Member States. According to Ailimpo, the Spanish Interprofessional Association for Lemon and Grapefruit, the Russian ban should not affect the early part of the season, since lemon exports to Russia generally get underway in March and sales there only represent approximately 3 percent of Spain’s export volume. However, in September 2014, Ailimpo asked Brussels to include lemons in the list of products covered by compensation schemes “to give a positive signal to growers that aid is available should problems arise, and to avoid buyers exploiting the ban by introducing speculative pricing”.

Grapefruit

Production 

MY 2014/15 EU-28 grapefruit production is forecast to reach 131,000 MT, a growth of 16 percent compared to MY 2013/14, thanks to the significant production increase projected in Spain. Spain’s leading grapefruit-producing areas include the Regions of Murcia, Andalusia, and Valencia, representing 60, 25, and 12 percent of total production, respectively. Ruby Red is the main grapefruit variety planted in Spain. 

Cyprus’s MY 2014/15 grapefruit production is forecast to slightly increase by 2.5 percent. White Marsh Seedless, mostly grown in the Limassol area, is the leading Cypriot grapefruit variety. New plantations have been established in the district of Paphos where the Red varieties (Star Ruby, Red Blush, and Rio Red) have been introduced to meet the increased market demand. 

Italy’s MY 2014/15 grapefruit production is forecast to decrease by 6.7 percent. 

Greece’s MY 2014/15 grapefruit production is forecast to stay flat. Greek’s prefectures of Corinth and Kavala, the region of Thessaly, and the island of Crete are the major grapefruit-producing areas.

Consumption 

EU-28 grapefruits are mainly consumed fresh. MY 2014/15 EU-28 fresh grapefruit consumption is forecast to remain stable at approximately 436,000 MT. 

Trade 

The EU-28 is a net importer of grapefruits. During MY 2013/14, the EU-28 imported 363,881 MT of grapefruits, valued at $322.5 million. China (91,363 MT), Turkey (88,222 MT), and South Africa (83,764 MT) were the leading suppliers to the EU-28 market, followed by the United States (41,847 MT) and Israel (40,928 MT). Imports from the United States were valued at $46 million. During MY 2013/14, the EU-28 exported 19,460 MT of grapefruits (valued at $20 million), mainly to Russia (5,549 MT), Belarus (4,357 MT), Switzerland (2,802 MT), and Ukraine (1,965 MT).

EU Policy 

The first part of the following policy section focuses on the new single Common Market Organization (CMO), which is part of the first pillar of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and any other policy related issues that are relevant to the citrus fruit sector. The second part explains the EU measures that were taken in response to the Russian embargo, while the third part refers to the ban of South African citrus imports in the EU. 

1. The New Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) Reform

The single Common Market Organization (CMO) provides a framework for market measures under the CAP, which is outlined in Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013, and entered into force on January 1, 2014. The CAP 2020 reform consists of four basic regulations, supplemented by delegated acts. Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 499/2014, which entered into force on May 16, 2014, amended the implementing rules for the fresh and processed fruit and vegetables sectors (Commission implementing Regulation (EU) No 543/2011). 

These market measures aim to: 

a) Create a more competitive and market-oriented sector 

Producer Organizations (POs) are still the key elements in the EU's CMO for fruit and vegetables. POs are legal entities established by producers to market commodities, including citrus fruit. EU subsidies are not paid to individual producers but are channeled through POs. In order to qualify for EU subsidies, a PO must submit an operational program financed through an operational fund. The EU's financial contribution is paid directly into each PO’s operational fund. The calculation of the estimated amount of the operational fund is based on the operational program and the value of the marketed production. As of January 20, 2014, operational programs are approved under the Regulation (EU) No 1308/2013. Commission Delegated Regulation 499/2014 introduced new elements regarding the operational programs and clarified the criteria with which the POs must comply in order to be eligible for EU funding. It also introduced a sanction mechanism in the case of non-compliance. 

Fresh fruit and vegetable imports into the EU are checked for compliance with EU-harmonized marketing standards. These standards apply at all marketing stages and include criteria such as quality, size, labeling, packaging, and presentation. Commission implementing Regulation (EU) No 543/2011 provides for a general marketing standard for all fresh fruits and vegetables. Specific marketing standards are still in place for ten products, including citrus fruit. The specific marketing standards are set out in Part B of Annex I to this Regulation: for citrus fruit can be found in Part 2 of that same section (p. 111). 

b) Diminish crisis-related fluctuations in producers’ income 

To achieve this objective, EU funding is offered under the operational programs for: 

- Product withdrawal 

- Green harvesting/non-harvesting; 

- Promotion/communication tools; 

- Training measures; 

- Harvest insurance; 

- Assistance to secure bank loans, and support for administrative costs associated with setting up mutual funds. 

National authorities must determine, in their national strategies, which of these instruments can be funded in their countries. POs may take out loans on commercial terms to finance crisis prevention and management measures. The repayment of the capital and the interest on those loans may be eligible for financial assistance under the operational programs of POs. 

c) Encourage increased consumption of fruit and vegetables in the EU 

The European “School Fruit Scheme” (SFS) originated as a measure to combat child obesity and includes three elements: free distribution of fruit and vegetables in schools, information campaigns on healthy eating habits, and monitoring and evaluation. The EU funds, to be matched by national and private funds, for the 2014/15 SFS has increased from $115 million (€90 m) to $191 million (€150 m), which was agreed in the context of the CAP 2020 reform and allocated to the participating Member States (MS). For the first time, these funds will also be used to accompany educational measures, such as school gardens and nutritional lectures. 

On January 30, 2014, the Commission presented a proposal to bring the SFS and the “School Milk Scheme” together under a joint framework. Further discussions with the EU Parliament and Council are ongoing with a view to adopt the file in early 2015. The reformed “school scheme” is expected to take effect in 2016. 

The sector may also benefit from the European promotion budget for agricultural products and quality schemes. The Commission reformed its promotion policy with an extension of the product scope and a greater focus on export markets. The promotion budget will increase gradually from $76 million (€60 m) to $255 million (€200 m) annually until 2020. National co-funding will no longer be needed and EU associations will be able to apply directly for a program. 

d) Increase the use of environmentally friendly cultivation and production techniques 

At least 10 percent of operational program funding must be spent on environmental actions that go beyond mandatory environmental standards. MS with recognized POs must draw up a National Framework for Environmental Action (NEF) as part of their “national strategy for sustainable operational program.” The NEF must contain a non-exhaustive list of environmental actions and the conditions applicable to them in the MS concerned. 

2. Certification of Fruit Shipments 

Plant products need a phytosanitary certificate to be exported to the EU. Phytosanitary certificates issued by a USDA/Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspector are required to accompany fruit, vegetable, and nut shipments. APHIS issues phytosanitary certificates in accordance with international regulations established by the International Plant Protection Convention of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. This standard-setting body coordinates cooperation between nations to control and prevent the spread of plant and plant product pests. 

Council Directive 2000/29/EC contains provisions concerning compulsory plant health checks. This includes documentary, identity, and physical plant health checks to verify compliance with EU import requirements. 

Commission Regulation 1756/2004 provides for plant health checks to be carried out at reduced frequency when justified. The list of products recommended for plant health checks at reduced levels was issued on September 30, 2014. On an annual basis, the Commission monitors imports of fruit and vegetables to determine how to adjust the frequency of testing consignments. 

3. Maximum Residue Levels for Fruit 

Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticides, including import tolerances, have been harmonized throughout the EU since September 2008. As a marketing tool, some retail chains in the EU adopt private standards that exceed EU regulations by requiring their suppliers to adhere to stricter company policies that limit the maximum residues to 30, 50, or 70 percent of the respective EU MRL. 

4. Tariffs 

EU imports of fresh fruit and vegetables are subject to the Entry Price System (EPS) which has been in place in its current form since the Uruguay Round. It is a complex tariff system that provides a high level of protection to EU producers. In this system fruits and vegetables imported at or above an established entry price are charged an ad valorem duty only. Produce valued below the entry price are charged a tariff equivalent in addition to the ad valorem duty. The tariff equivalent is graduated for products valued between 92 and 100 percent of the entry price. The ad valorem duty and the full tariff equivalent are levied on imports valued at less than 92 percent of the entry price. 

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 499/2014 has introduced provisions on the entry price system, which aligns the clearance of goods that are subject to the entry price to the Custom Code.

These provisions, applicable since October 1, 2014, introduced a flat rate, which is the standard import value, to clear customs when products are sold on consignment. 

Tariff levels for 2015 are published in Commission Implementing Regulation 1101/2014. The tariffs for citrus fruit remain unchanged compared to the levels of 2014 and can be found on page 96 for oranges, tangerines, lemons, grapefruit and other citrus fruit, while the tariff for orange juice can be found on page 163. 

The United States tends to sell high quality products at higher prices, which typically do not face additional duties. 

I. Russian ban on agricultural products 

On August 7, 2014, the Russian government implemented a ban for one year on a range of agricultural and food products, including citrus fruit, from the United States, the European Union (EU), Canada, Australia, and Norway, in response to U.S. and EU sanctions over Russian actions in Ukraine. This ban has a significant effect for agricultural markets in Europe, as Russia is the EU’s second largest market for food and drinks, purchasing 28 percent of EU fruit exports and 21.5 percent of EU vegetable exports in 2011. 

The CMO rules (see Regulation 1308/2013 in part I) provide various market management tools to stabilize markets. In addition, the Commission is also empowered under the reformed CAP to take "exceptional measures" in case of market disruption. 

As such, the Commission introduced specific market support measures for the first time for citrus fruit, including oranges, mandarins, and clementines on September 29, 2014. Regulation 1031/2014 provided a new program of $208.5 million (€165 million) to withdraw surplus volumes from the market for four product categories and will run until the end of the year. The annex to this regulation lists the specific volumes for 13 MS that are eligible for EU intervention support. The five MS exporting citrus fruit are Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Croatia, and Italy. 

The four product groups are apples and pears (total 181,800 tons); citrus fruit: oranges, mandarins, clementine (total 96,090 tons); other vegetables: carrots, cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes (48,300 tons); other fruits: kiwi, plums and table grapes (total 76,895 tons).

In addition, each of the 28 MS are entitled to 3,000 tons for supplementary withdrawals for the products listed in this program, plus cauliflowers, cabbages and mushrooms, allowing some flexibility as MS are allowed to prioritize certain products. 

These rules for temporary support measures are granted to POs in the fruit and vegetables sector, as well as to producers who are not members of such organizations and cover withdrawal, non-harvesting and green harvesting operations. MS would allocate the quantities between POs and non-member producers following the first come, first served system. However, MS may decide to set up a different system for the allocation of quantities, if this is based on objective and non-discriminatory criteria. Then MS may take into account the extent of the effects of the Russian import ban on the producers concerned. 

II. South African Citrus Checks 

On July 3, 2014, a Commission Implementing Decision was published setting out the rules for tighter checks on South African citrus fruit imports to prevent the spread of Citrus Black Spot (CBS). This is a highly contagious fungal disease found in several imports last year, but is currently absent in the EU. While harmless to humans, citrus black spot reduces both harvest quality and quantity. The Commission banned South African imports from areas hit by the fungus in November last year but the move was largely symbolic as it came at the end of the import season. Citrus fruit producing countries such as Spain and Italy rejected the initial Commission plans and requested stronger measures to guarantee the security of their citrus producers. 

According to these new measures, citrus fruit imports from South Africa are subject to more stringent criteria: pre and post-harvest chemical treatments would be registered, as well as packing houses and there would be on-site official inspections at citrus orchards. A sample of at least 600 pieces of each type of citrus fruit per 30 tons would need to be taken by the South African authorities. All fruit showing symptoms would be tested and no distinction would be made between citrus fruits for fresh consumption and citrus fruits for processing. In case of five recurring interceptions of citrus fruit contaminated with CBS, these measures will be further strengthened and additional restrictions may be imposed. 

As a result, on September 8, 2014, South Africa voluntarily suspended citrus exports to the European Union (EU) as a precaution not to reach the five CBS incidents that could have resulted in the EU further strengthening the citrus import measures. South Africa has indicated that these measures are unscientific and directed at prohibiting South African citrus exports to the EU. The South African citrus industry has been continuously engaging the EU to address the CBS issue. One of the industry proposals is that the EU should not impose a blanket import restrictions to the entire EU, but should impose stricter regulations for imports into citrus growing areas of the EU such as Spain and Italy. The South African government and key industry stakeholders have been quoted in the media stating that the EU measures on CBS were driven by protectionist rather than plant health concerns, and directed at prohibiting South African citrus exports to the EU. The South African Minister of Trade and Industry has indicated through the media that South Africa will be lodging a formal dispute to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the EU