As mentioned in previous articles, in order to get to the market and exploit the benefits, first it is necessary to overcome the access requirements. In the particular case of food and beverage products the responsible agencies are the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA); Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
However there is another legislation that should be considered: the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA). This regulation establishes the limits and responsibilities of the salesman and the buyer of the product in United States. Therefore, an exporter must know the implications of this legislation in order to analyze and measure its possible impact on his commercial transaction.
Therefore, the mentioned law is something additional to consider aside from the requirements of the USDA, FDA or EPA. The PACA law includes, among other things, the right of notification that establishes that the buyer has a maximum time limit of 8 to 48 hours to reject the product if it arrives to the United States in bad shape. In addition, it determines the right of inspection that grants the importer with the possibility to reject or refuse to pay for a product if at least 5% of the total shipment is ruined.
On the other hand, in recent years, the terrorist threat in United States resulted in the implementation of more controls against bioterrorism that have affected international trade. The new bioterrorism legislation imposed after September 11th includes: a) the registration of national and international infrastructure that produces, processes, packs or stores food; and b) the compulsory previous notification of the arrival of food products to United States to the FDA. Consequently, even though these registrations are free of cost, it is necessary for an exporter to get to know the procedures in order to get the products in the American market.
In conclusion, it becomes evident that market requirements are unavoidable and must be complied in order to get to the market. In that context, a free trade agreement with United States will not be useful unless Peruvian exporters are able to overcome the regulations imposed by this government to grant the health and safety of its citizens. That is why, in this article as in others published before, preparation is the key word.