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Attaché Report (GAIN)

Costa Rica: Costa Rica Customs Delays Affect Imports

Container freight shipments have slowed to a trickle since a cyberattack took Costa Rica’s customs and taxation systems offline on April 18. Significant delays and increased costs are compounding challenges faced by Costa Rican importers already coping with pandemic-related supply chain disruptions and the war in Ukraine.
On May 16, 2022, the Government of Mexico (GOM) published a presidential decree temporarily exempting the payment of import duties on 66 tariff lines covering staple food items and basic commodities for food processing. The tariff suspension is part of the GOM’s recently announced Program to Combat Food Price Inflation and Scarcity.
On May 2, 2022, the Ministry of Consumer, Food and Public Distribution, through the Directorate General of Foreign Trade announced approval for the importation of an additional 550,000 metric tons (MT) of soybean meal (including GE derived).
The new Costa Rican government has announced a resumption of Hass avocado imports and proposed abolishing minimum prices for milled rice, following through on campaign promises to respect international law and address rising consumer prices.
In the first quarter of 2022, U.S. agricultural exports fell to the lowest level in four years. While expanding U.S. direct exports to China, and lingering shipping issues continue to drive the overall decline in U.S. agricultural exports to Hong Kong, government restrictions in response to the city’s fifth wave of the pandemic exacerbated the drop in U.S. agricultural sales.
Germany, the largest economy in the European Union, is a large and promising pet food market. Imports of pet food account for more than half of the total market. While the market is mature and somewhat saturated, it is steadily growing.
The Government of Mexico (GOM) has announced a program to combat food price inflation and scarcity titled “Paquete Contra la Inflacion y la Carestia (PACIC).” Along with PACIC, President López Obrador announced a plan to maintain “fair prices” for the basic food basket, through a voluntary agreement with the private sector, without the use of mandatory price controls.
Resolution 810 of 2021, issued by Colombia’s Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MINHEALTH), is set to go into effect on December 16, 2022. Resolution 810 establishes the technical regulations of the nutrition and front-of-pack labeling requirements for packaged food for human consumption in Colombia.
On Friday, May 13, 2022, the Indian government announced a ban on wheat exports, effective immediately, citing the sudden spike in global wheat prices and the resulting food security risks to India.
On April 26, 2022, the Philippine Department of Health’s Food and Drug Administration notified the World Trade Organization of a “Draft Administrative Order Revised Rules and Regulations on the Licensing of Food Establishments and Registration of Processed Food, and Other Food Products, and for Other Purposes Repealing Administrative Order 2014-0029.” Trading partners and other stakeholders have until June 25, 2022 to submit comments.
On Thursday May 12, the Government of Brazil (GOB) cut import tariffs for several categories of goods, focusing on food staples in an attempt to reduce consumer inflation. Import tariffs on beef, chicken, corn, wheat flour, wheat, cookies and bakery products were eliminated through the end of the year.
In 2021, the total value of U.S. agricultural and food exports to Hong Kong dropped 12 percent compared to 2020, continuing its decline from the 2017 peak and reaching its lowest level since 2008. The overall drop in exports was driven primarily by lower sales of consumer-ready products which offset recoveries in other product categories.