Growth continues for Peruvian grapes despite roadblocks

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Growth continues for Peruvian grapes despite roadblocks

With significant growth for Peru's table grape exports over the last five years, exporters have been hopeful that the country is ready to make a significant jump in new international markets, most notably Asia.

While exports dropped in 2012 to the United States, Asian countries picked up the slack. Exports to Hong Kong and Russia increased 42% and 11% respectively.

According to the Peruvian Foreign Trade Society (COMEX PERU) fresh grape shipments out of the country in the first quarter of the years between 2008 and 2013 grew at an annual average of 23.6%.  While the first quarter of 2013 saw a 9% uptick in total fresh grape exports totaling US$128 million, exporters continue to find important markets in Europe and China, and are looking to expand.

As part of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Peru's National Agricultural Health Service (SENASA) recently established new phytosanitary protocols with Korea - a country that makes up about 3% of the country’s grape shipments. uvas_50035144 panorama

In the coming weeks, a mission from Japan will be visiting the country in order to examine Peruvian agricultural products, including table grapes. If a deal can be worked out, it could mean US$129 million in Japanese sales for Peruvian agricultural exports.

China is undoubtedly a large, nearly untapped market for Peruvian grapes. COMEX PERU figures show that US$28 million worth of table grapes arrived in the East Asian country between January and July this year, representing a 153% year-on-year spike.

The society's Jorge Acosta says this has fostered great hope in Peru. With a 20% growth expected this season from the country’s producers and a responsive first quarter, there are high expectations for the export season.

Acosta's worries that recent indications from the country’s Commission on Dumping and Subsidies mean that an upcoming anti-dumping bill, specifically with regards to China, may hamper such hopes.

Last year, the government launched investigations of anti-dumping against the U.S. This year it's China, Acosta notes.

Acosta is concerned that the anti-dumping investigations are leading to overzealous protectionist policies within Peru. According to the WTO, the number of subheadings introduced for investigation into anti-dumping with respect to clothing imports from China increased from an average of 15 per quarter in 2010 to a total of 276 in 2012.

Some wonder whether China will engage in retaliatory trade measures over the investigations.

The grapes are ready to go to China, says Acosta, but the investigations are harming that process and China is getting less comfortable with the situation.

Grape exports still remain on an upward trend. In 2012, 155,000 metric tons (MT) were exported, at US$366 million - a 29% increase from 2011; 58% of these exports originated in Ica, while 28% came from Piura.

The Red Grape variety makes up the bulk of varieties exported from the country, at 78%, though seedless varieties are also starting to make headway in international markets. The darker color Red Globe variety, which comes out of the Piura region, doesn’t fit exactly with the demands of the Chinese market, where a more cherry red color is preferred, but other Asian markets remain open to the Peruvian stock.

"We’re expecting other players in the region to have a higher amount of production this season," says Acosta.

"However, if we continue to expand our operations and put less roadblocks toward trade with Asia and especially China, exports trends should continue."



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