INDIA – India has joined South Africa’s World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute against the European Union’s (EU) citrus trade regulations.

India sees an opportunity to ease food safety standards on its agri-food exports by backing South Africa’s claim, according to Mint.

In April, South Africa announced its second dispute with the EU concerning the bloc’s phytosanitary trade regulations on citrus.

India argues that the current regulations hinder its exports of chilies, tea, basmati rice, milk, poultry, bovine meat, fish, and chemicals.

“Supporting South Africa could pave the way for addressing broader concerns about the EU’s trade barriers affecting multiple exporting countries,” said Ajay Srivastava, founder of the Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI).

The GTRI aims to provide governments and industries with clear information on trade, technology, and climate change.

Srivastava added that India’s exports are “far below potential” and that backing South Africa’s dispute aligns with New Delhi’s stance on various global food safety issues.

Indian exports and South Africa’s case

India’s agricultural exports to Europe grew by 18.65% in 2024, reaching USD3.70 billion, according to Commerce Ministry data.

South Africa is seeking a lasting solution to the EU’s stance on Citrus Black Spot (CBS), a fungal infection that causes blemishes on fruit. The EU’s regulations also aim to prevent the spread of the false codling moth.

South Africa’s current action aims to protect the livelihoods of thousands in its local citrus industry. This is the second time South Africa has challenged EU regulations, after its initial complaint in 2022.

India’s support for South Africa’s dispute may help challenge EU trade barriers that affect many exporting countries.

By siding with South Africa, India aims to address broader global trade issues and boost its agricultural exports.

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