U.S.-Chilean Trade:

Pesticide Standards and Concerns Regarding Chilean Sanitary Rules

GGD-94-198: Published: Sep 28, 1994. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) compared U.S. and Chilean processes for registering pesticides, setting pesticide residue tolerances for food, and monitoring compliance with these tolerances; (2) reviewed whether Chilean sanitary rules restrict potential U.S. agricultural exports; (3) reviewed Chile's environmental regulatory structure; and (4) discussed pesticide risks from imported Chilean pine logs.

GAO found that: (1) the United States and Chile have relatively open processes for setting pesticide standards; (2) the countries' different standards and procedures for registering pesticides have not impeded agricultural trade between the two countries; (3) the United States sets its pesticide residue tolerances independently, while Chile accepts international standards; (4) the United States routinely monitors all types of domestic and imported foods for pesticide residues, but Chile only routinely monitors certain domestic dairy products and samples for particular pesticide residues; (5) Chilean exporters have established extensive controls to ensure that their exports meet U.S. standards and their violation rate is significantly lower than that of all other foreign countries; (6) certain Chilean sanitary rules, or the lack thereof, could impede U.S. exports of some agricultural products; (7) Chile's process for establishing sanitary regulations is not always clear and Chile lacks formal procedures that would facilitate U.S. access to Chilean markets; (8) U.S. officials are working with Chilean officials to resolve pesticide and sanitary issues in advance of formal negotiations on a free trade agreement between the two countries; and (9) efforts are under way to find a substitute for treatment of imported pine logs with methyl bromide, an ozone depleter that is being phased out.

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