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Chilean Minister of Agriculture Leads Delegation to China, to be the Most Important Market for Chile

February 02, 2016
E. S. Jackson

On Jan. 25, the Chilean Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Carlos Furche led a delegation to Shanghai to conduct a series of business meetings

On Jan. 25, the Chilean Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Carlos Furche led a delegation to Shanghai to conduct a series of business meetings. The delegation included representatives from the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, the Chilean Walnut Association, Poultry Exporters Association of Chile, and the Chilean Pork Product Exporters Association. They also traveled to Hangzhou to meet with Alibaba and Beijing to conduct a retail promotion for Chilean cherries and blueberries, and to sign the protocol for the market access of Chilean in-shell walnuts. Produce Report interviewed Minister Furche in Shanghai.

The Minister's visit to China included a very full itinerary. According to a presentation by Chile's Trade Commissioner in Shanghai, Cesar Suarez Sanchez, the delegation visited a Sino-Chilean Center in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. This pavilion aims to help Chilean exporters sell their products in China. Minister Furche visited the exhibition center as well as the headquarters of China Eastern Airlines to enhance the cooperation on the direct cargo flights between Chile and China. Furche also had a roundtable discussion with Chilean enterprises in Shanghai and heard reports on the situation of Chilean exports.

“We met with representatives of fruit, wine, salmon, and other industries and received good feedback. Next, we need to continue to improve their product quality, meet China's inspection and quarantine standards, and emphasize food safety,” Furche told Produce Report.

The Minister then traveled to Hangzhou for talks with Alibaba to discuss promoting Chilean products on online stores such as Taobao and Tmall. The delegation arrived in Beijing on Jan. 27, to participate in a cherry and blueberry retail promotion held at BHG, a high-end retail store chain in China. A protocol giving China access to Chilean in-shell walnuts was also signed with AQSIQ during the trip.

“Fruit is Chile's largest export to China. Ten years ago we negotiated and signed a free trade agreement between China and Chile. It was the first free trade agreement that China negotiated and signed with any country outside the Asian region. I was the chief negotiator. At that time, the most important product was copper and mining. In these ten years, China has become the third most important market for the Chilean fruit exports behind the U.S. and the E.U., and I'm sure in the next five or six years, China will become the first,” Furche told Produce Report. The Chinese market for Chilean fruit exports is growing faster than any other market. For Chilean agricultural products, China is the most important overseas market. For China, Chile is their second largest market in Latin America, after Brazil.

The Minister of Agriculture also said that talks with ASQIQ will include discussing the use of electronic data interchange rather than paper-based inspection and quarantine certificates, saving clearance time, which is beneficial for air shipments. In the past, Chilean products were shipped via container transport. The delegation is about to negotiate the use of pallet transport for export shipments to China, which would save transportation costs through whole ship transport, in turn lowering the selling price of goods and improving the competitiveness of Chilean products.

Currently, cherries, blueberries, and table grapes make up the largest portion of Chilean fruit exported to China. Chilean nectarines, peaches, and plums may be allowed to enter the Chinese market later this year. Chile's Ministry of Agriculture also plans to introduce Chilean lemons and pears into the Chinese market.

After the trip to China, the Minister and his delegation will visit South Korea, where they plan to promote Chilean cherries, which were recently allowed into the Korean market.

On Jan. 25, the Chilean Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Carlos Furche led a delegation to Shanghai to conduct a series of business meetings

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