RIGA - Beginning Dec. 12 all exporters of foodstuffs to the United States will have to be registered in a special registry and have their production certified in order to continue shipments to the U.S. market.
The new regulations, which are being put into place as a means to minimize the threat of bioterrorism and food contamination, could have a dramatic impact on Baltic companies' sales, experts said.
Inguna Gulbe, head of the Agricultural Market Promotion Center in Latvia, said that if the new U.S. requirements were too complicated, the decision could prove to be fatal to local food producers.
Viktors Grapmanis, director of the food and veterinary department of the Ministry of Agriculture, said that after Dec. 12 the export of food products and produce to the world's biggest market would only be allowed if exporters declared their intention to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, indicating both the amount and assortment of foodstuffs.
More information on changes in U.S. legislation and the new requirements for companies wanting to export will be provided at the bioterrorism workshop taking place in Washington, D.C., Nov. 6 - 7.
According to data from the agricultural center, the proportion of Latvian exports of foodstuffs and agricultural produce to the U.S.A. has increased from 10 percent to 18 percent, reaching a total of 26.2 million lats (40 million euros).