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China to Buy Colombian Bananas, Grant Avocado Market Access

August 12, 2019

Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez, center, during his visit to China

Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez’s recent trip to China has opened the way for China to buy an additional $40 million worth of bananas annually from Colombia, as well as for Colombia to gain formal market access to China for avocados.

The announcements were made as part of a three-day visit to China by Duque and a delegation that included Colombian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Andrés Valencia Pinzón. The visit, which was focused on boosting Colombian exports to China and investment by China in Colombia, included a meeting between Duque and Chinese President Xi Jinping as well as a Sino-Colombian Economy and Trade Forum, among other events. During the visit, China and Colombia signed 11 agreements covering areas ranging from e-commerce cooperation to raising Colombian coffee exports to China.

The news that China will buy an additional 4 million boxes of bananas per year, equivalent to about $40 million, is of particular note because of its potential to almost double Colombia’s export of agricultural products to China, which reportedly stood at $43.9 million in 2018.

Colombia is the fifth biggest exporter of bananas in the world, following Ecuador, the Philippines, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. Bananas are also Colombia’s third largest agricultural product export. Currently, however, most of Colombia’s banana exports go to the EU and US.

The state visit also saw the signing of a “memorandum of agreement on avocado exports to China,” which agriculture minister Pinzón indicated could lead to the start of trial shipments of Colombian avocados to China as early as this year. Colombia, which will host the 9th World Avocado Congress in Medellin next month, is a rising force in the global avocado trade and is now the fourth largest producer of Hass avocados worldwide.

Peru, Chile and Mexico have all already gained market access for avocados in China and form the main suppliers of the fruit to China, where demand has been growing quickly in recent years. “Colombia has all the potential to overcome and compete with the current suppliers of Hass avocado to China,” Pinzón was quoted as saying by Colombian media. ”Currently, production in Colombia is approximately 90,000 tons and in 2018 Colombian avocado exports totaled 30,008 tons.”

At least one Colombian media report also stated that there had been a specific commitment from the Chinese side to purchase 960 tons of Colombian avocados.

Colombian delegates also expressed a hope for more exports to China of agricultural products like coffee and fresh flowers.

This is an edited version of an article that was originally published in Chinese. Read the original here.

Image: Office of the President of Colombia

Colombian President Ivan Duque Marquez, center, during his visit to China