Executives from Nicaraguan slaughterhouses have complained that Guatemala has had phytosanitary restrictions in place for two years on beef imports, arguing that this has caused huge losses, both in terms of money and business connections.
Annual losses due to the obstacles by Guatemalan authorities amount to $10 million, said Ramiro Lau, Executive Director of Matadero Central, S.A., MACESA to Elnuevodiario.com.ni.
"Guatemala argues that Nicaraguan meat is contaminated, it fails in terms of safety, but they are not taking in account the fact that we export to Japan, Taiwan, the United States, Puerto Rico, and many other places which are in fact more stringent in their standards," said Lau.
Honduras, Panama and Costa Rica are other countries that have prevented the entry of shipments of beef from Nicaragua, for similar reasons, creating $30 million losses for exporters.
Industry executives argue that the real reasons behind these measures is to protect the interests of the local industries against strong competition. Managers are demanding that the government intervene promptly with the authorities in Guatemala or resort to dispute settlement mechanisms established in the isthmus.
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As with the case of beef with other countries, Honduras has placed phytosanitary restrictions on 20,000 pounds of sausage from Nicaragua, which is being disputed by exporter Delmor S.A.
The general manager of Delmor S.A., Zacarias Mondragon confirmed that his company stopped exporting to the Honduran market because of the imposition of phytosanitary restrictions a year and a half ago by the authorities of that country.
Restrictions by Honduras, Guatemala and Panama on Nicaraguan beef exports have caused a reduction in revenues of about $60 million for exporters, who are demanding reciprocal measures to those countries.
Since 2010, Nicaraguan farmers have failed to collect about $60 million in profit due to the restrictions imposed by the authorities of Honduras, Panama and Guatemala on importing meat from Nicaragua, said industry leaders in the El Nuevo Diario.
Honduras is joining other Central American countries in blocking the entrance of Nicaraguan meat.
Honduras imposed a 30 to 45 day period for Nicaraguan breeders to increase their sanitation controls. With this action they join Guatemala, which has blocked Nicaraguan meat since November 2009.
On January 1st, Guatemala blocked the entrance of Nicaraguan meat, causing breeders losses for $2 million.
Nicaraguan meat businessmen are demanding their government to take similar actions against Guatemala, and suspend trade with it.
According to Canicarne (an association of beef producers), and the Trade and Economy ministries of Nicaragua, Guatemala’s actions violate trade dispositions, as the northern country has blocked the products without conducting inspections at Nicaraguan slaughterhouses. They argue that Guatemala blocked the products on January 1st, while inspections will take place on March 20th.