Uruguay aims for U.S. citrus approval, blueberries in China

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Uruguay aims for U.S. citrus approval, blueberries in China

Uruguay's fruit union is hopeful for U.S. citrus market entry in 2012 with expectations the final decisions could be made soon by authorities, website Elobservador.com.uy reported.

Horticulture Producers and Exporters Union (UPEFRUY) president Horacio Ozer, told the website the law relating to Uruguayan citrus would need be published in the coming days if it were to come into effect in 2012.

"If not, we could lose another year and at the same time competitors like Chile and Peru will continue to grow their share of the market," Ozer was quoted as saying.

He said markets were becoming more and more competitive so Uruguay needed to expand its options, while the government was also trying to replicate Chile's success with blueberries in China.

"Uruguay presented its interest in blueberry entry to the Chinese Government," he was quoted as saying.

"We have sent a list of priority markets that we have interest in accessing, to the (Uruguayan) International Affairs Unit of the Ministry of Livestock, Agriculture and Fishing (MIGAP)."

Ozer told El Observador the country's citrus exports would fall 20% this year due to the effects of drought in the summer, but blueberry exports could grow by 15% based on increased plant sizes.

He said the country's productivity had not increased to help offset the effects of rising costs, highlighting efficiency improvement would need time and investment, the story reported.

"Uruguay lost its competitiveness with other producers in the Southern Hemisphere, which have lower costs, incentive programs for fruit industry works, aggressive policies for opening markets and free trade agreements which have left us far behind," he was quoted as saying.

"Private (business) continues investing in improving productivity and reducing costs, but these investments will start to bear fruit in four or six years, while decisive and effective public policies are necessary to help the sector bridge this gap.

"We are not alone in the market, we have to compete and we have to give concrete and fast signals to export companies."


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