On 27 may, the European Commission announced restrictions on citrus imports from South Africa due to an outbreak of “black spot” plant disease there. South African politicians are concerned about the economic ramifications for the world’s largest citrus exporter.
The restrictions could jeopardize 80,000 permanent and seasonal jobs in South Africa and cost the country over $1.2 billion (13 billion Rand) every year. South Africa is the largest exporter of citrus fruit in the world, accounting for more than 25 percent of global trade, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More than half of its exports go to Russia and the European Union. The second-largest exporter is Egypt.
The E.U. placed a similar ban on South African citrus imports in November 2013. Though analysts said it wouldn’t have a major impact at that time, since exports usually dropped during that period, but USDA researchers warned of economic problems if it persists.