China opens up for Chilean blueberries
Deputy Minister of China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIC) Wei Chuanzhong, signed the official framework in a visit to Chile.
The framework was also signed by the host country's Agriculture Minister José Antonio Galilea.
The approval also includes the export of South American camelids such as llamas and alpacas, with Galilea hailing the agreement as a positive expansion of Chile's agricultural exports to the Asian country.
"(It) responds to the line of work developed by the government, aimed at further expanding markets for Chilean products and consolidate the country's position as a food power," he said.
The negotiation process involved the phytosanitary organizations of both countries conducting pest risk analysis tests and exchanging information, while the Chilean regions approved for blueberry export stretch from Atacama in the north to Aysén in the south.
The agreement is the sixth fruit protocol signed between China and Chile, adding to approval for kiwifruit, apples, table grapes, cherries, fresh cherries and prunes.
China's blueberry consumption has risen in recent years due to the fruit's high nutritional value, particularly among the middle classes of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen
Chile's total exports in 2010-11 were 69,300 metric tons (MT), of which 58,300MT were bound for the U.S. The South American country's exports to Asia and Europe continue to grow at rates of 31% and 18% respectively.
Chile's blueberry exports to Hong Kong and Japan also continue to grow with rates of 26% and 45%, according to Chilean Blueberry Committee statistics.