The European Union rejects fewer Dominican products, but some remain in its sights
Santo Domingo.- The European Union maintains stringent standards for accepting foreign-grown products into its market, and this includes products from the Dominican Republic, a major exporter of organic bananas and cocoa to Europe. While the frequency of physical controls on Dominican green beans was reduced from 50% to 30% over the past year, there are still concerns regarding at least two products under special observation.
Between 2020 and 2023, 18 notifications were registered on a digital platform of the European Commission, involving eight countries that raised observations, some of which included alerts or rejections of Dominican fruits and vegetables due to elevated pesticide levels.
Although these notifications are considered lower than in previous years (over 25 rejections in 2014 and about 20 in 2019), they underscore the importance of adhering to European standards. Notable incidents include Germany, where a shipment of eggplants was destroyed for exceeding allowable pesticide levels, and Belgium, which rejected a shipment of pineapples due to pesticide residue above accepted parameters.
While these incidents remain a concern, the Dominican Republic is actively addressing the issue. In the first nine months of 2023, the country exported chili peppers, eggplants, and long beans, which are subject to increased controls due to a history of pesticide residue findings. Luis Araque, Head of the Trade Section of the European Union delegation in the Dominican Republic, noted that progress is being made, with fewer notifications and relaxed controls on some products.
Araque explained that the Dominican Republic was required to accompany these products with a health certificate to demonstrate compliance with maximum residue limits. For chili peppers, controls have been relaxed since 2022, with no new notifications. Eggplants and green beans saw significant improvements as well.
The Ministry of Agriculture in the Dominican Republic attributes the increase in pesticide use to climate change-induced pest outbreaks, leading to producers applying more pesticides since 2014. The ministry has developed a plan to address these issues, including temporary suspensions of non-compliant producers from exporting. By implementing protocols, rejections to the European Union decreased by 80% in 2022 compared to 2019.
In addition, the ministry has taken 203 samples for shipments and certificates, with 16% being retained in the country to prevent rejections in the destination market. These efforts demonstrate the Dominican Republic’s commitment to meeting European standards and improving its export quality.