The General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China informed the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in early September of the official authorization to export Spanish table grapes to Chinese markets.
By Juan Herrera, agri-food journalist.
With this authorization the agreement reached is fulfilled, on November 28, 2018, during the state visit to Spain of Chinese President Xi Jinping, visit in which important export agreements for agri-food products of our country were reached.
In fact, the forecast and previous organization of the export campaign by the administrations and the sector, allowed that, after this authorization, the exports were possible immediately in the current campaign. Thus, at the beginning of September, the parcels, warehouses and cold facilities authorized by China were already registered in the computer application of the Ministry for the management of imports and exports CEXVEG (Foreign Trade in Vegetables), in order to address exports in this campaign According to the Chinese delegation itself, this application “is a key element of control and management, which gives confidence in the phytosanitary certification system in Spain”.
In this way, this campaign is already being able to export grapes from registered plots and facilities and that meet the requirements of the export agreement between Spain and China, mainly from the regions of Murcia, Alicante and some specific areas of Aragon, Andalusia and Castilla la Mancha.
The negotiations for the authorization of the export of table grapes have been prolonged over several years, in which there have been many technical difficulties and audit visits on the ground, since China is an extremely demanding country Phytosanitary
The last audit of the delegation of technicians and representatives of the Chinese administration to Spain took place last July, in order to verify compliance with the signed protocol. The result of the visit was very satisfactory for the auditors themselves, who highlighted the strength and seriousness of the Spanish phytosanitary control and certification system.
Main consumer and producer
In addition to being the world’s first fruit producing country, China is the main consumer and its exports increase year after year. Citrus fruits were the first Spanish fruits that began to be exported to this Asian country, with an important growth rate, from 1,300 tons in 2014 to 26,230 tons in 2018. In 2016, the market for peaches and plums opened , exporting in 2018 the amount of 220 tons.
China produces around 11 million tons of table grapes, but imports have an important value and the forecasts are that, in the coming years, they will continue to increase. Currently, the main exporters of table grapes to China are Chile, Peru, Australia and South Africa, although the United States also has sales for very significant amounts.
The main interest of China is in the acquisition of high quality fruit, mainly without seeds, and for new varieties in this market that can make a difference with domestic production.