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Peru and China to Ink Deal on Blueberry Imports

November 06, 2016

First Peruvian blueberries are awaited in China by the end of this month

Photo: iQonsulting

On November 2nd, Peru’s SENASA (National Agricultural Safety Service) and China’s AQSIQ (General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine) came to an agreement on protocols allowing Peruvian blueberry imports into China, as reported by El Comercio. The final agreement is expected to be signed by the two countries during Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Peru on November 17-20. In expectation of the signing, China Eastern Airlines is preparing for the first Lima-Shanghai cargo flight, scheduled for November 21st, as China Eastern Airlines and Peru's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism have already signed a cooperation agreement in October of this year on the transport of Peruvian products, including blueberries, to China.

Both of these agreements are milestones in Peru’s trade relations with China and highlight the increasing trade ties between the two countries. The success of Peru’s blueberries in gaining market access to China is comparable to the fairly recent accomplishment of Peruvian avocados being granted import permission into China. By obtaining this AQSIQ import permission, Peruvian blueberries have effectively gained access to a massive market of 1.4 billion potential customers. Likewise, the direct air shipments provided by China Eastern Airlines will significantly diminish transport times between the two countries and lay the foundation for future cooperation and advances in distribution.

Preliminary negotiations proved to be challenging at times, as meetings between SENASA and AQSIQ were both lengthy, lasting over 12 hours, and at times rife with disagreement, as neither agency necessarily saw eye to eye on all protocol aspects, at least initially. However, groundwork was laid in August 2016 when SENASA received a delegation of AQSIQ experts to inspect fields and packing houses in the valleys of La Libertad, Lima, and Ica. During the inspectors’ visit, a number of talks were held in order to demonstrate the credibility of the phytosanitary certificates of the Peruvian producers and to guarantee the high quality and safety standards of the blueberries that were to enter the Chinese market.

Peru exported 11,327 tons of blueberries globally in 2015, with the USA, the Netherlands, the UK, and Canada as main destination markets, respectively. This year’s export volume has already surpassed this figure, with 17,547 tons of Peruvian blueberries having been exported worldwide in 2016 so far.

It is expected that by Chinese New Year 2017, Chinese consumers will already be enjoying a steady and stable supply of Peruvian blueberry imports. In the future, China Eastern Airlines’ subsidiary Eastern Air Logistics will take over and manage Peru-China cargo flights, based on market demand.

These blue “Incan treasures” are supposed to be already offered for pre-purchase in China, as the agreement with Eastern Air Logistics also includes product introduction and promotion to Chinese consumers. The company has indicated that the e-commerce websites Alibaba.com, benlai.com, womai.com, and the offline fresh produce boutique chain Pagoda will feature Peruvian blueberries in order to further facilitate presales.

First Peruvian blueberries are awaited in China by the end of this month

Photo: iQonsulting

Peru’s Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Eduardo Ferreyros and Eastern Air Logistics General Manager Li Jiupeng after signing a cooperation agreement

Photo: Peru's Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism

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