Costa Rica sets sights on Chinese pineapple and melon markets

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Costa Rica sets sights on Chinese pineapple and melon markets

Costa Rican pineapple exporters are optimistic about the prospect of forthcoming phytosanitary certificates for shipments to China, while melon producers are more cautious.

The Ministry of Foreign Trade (Comex) is current negotiating certificates for exporting these fruits to China following a free trade agreement that came into force in August last year.

Pineapple exporter Ganaflor commercial sales executive Cindy Suarez, said she was pleased certificates were being drafted.

"We are very interested in new countries where we can export, and of course, China would be very important for us. We are looking for information about exporting to China and certificates about the quality required is essential."

Melon exporters were more cautious, expressing concern about the time required to ship their fruit, which is less hardy than pineapples.

Frutas de Parrita president Jose Antonio Urgelles, said his company would not be considering exporting melons.

"In order to get the balance in refrigerated containers you need more than two shipments a week and I don't believe there is any line which will give us this itinerary at the moment."

He said that shipments every 10 days from Costa Rica to China was insufficiently frequent, given that it takes more than two weeks for consignments to arrive to China, while the U.S. takes 4-9 days and Europe 14 days.

Urgelles added Costa Rica's melon season from November until April dovetailed well with supply in the U.S. and Europe but he was not so sure if the same window existed for China.

The negotiations are part of discussions to define protocols for a range of products including pork, poultry, dairy products and seafood, website reported.

Costa Rica already has protocols in place for bananas and is in the final stages of achieving protocols for beef.

Exports to China have dropped since 2009 with agricultural, livestock and fishing shipments accounting for less than 2% of total exports.

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