At least one major Chinese fruit importer has had members of staff detained by authorities as part of an investigation into a customs broker.
Importer Dalian Yidu recently informed suppliers and customers in Chile that director Liu Zhi and his import department staff were summoned to cooperate with the government in the investigation.
A source close to www.freshfruitportal.com said it was believed hundreds of containers of Chilean cherries and Peruvian grapes were being diverted elsewhere. The issues could also potentially affect other products en route to Hong Kong.
While South American exporters were reluctant to discuss the issue in the press, New Zealand kiwifruit shipper Zespri – which sends some of its fruit to Dalian Yidu – was open and quick to distance itself from the affair.
“Dalian Yidu imports many New Zealand and global agricultural products and the company deals with less than five percent of Zespri’s China volume,” a Zespri spokesperson said in a statement given to www.freshfruitportal.com.
“Zespri has no financial exposure to Yidu. There is nothing to indicate this investigation involves Zespri Kiwifruit.”
Chinese customs officials and Yidu representatives declined to comment.