The Colombian Hass avocado industry has secured market access to China, with the news being announced on the same day that Japan officially opens its doors to the product.
Both developments were announced by Colombia's Agriculture Minister, who is currently on a tour around Asia.
Andrés Valencia Pinzón last week announced in Japan that exports to the country could begin as of today (July 31st). The Ministry of Agriculture first announced it had reached a market access agreement with Japan in March 2018.
And also today, Valencia announced in China that access had been secured to that market too.
"We have achieved our objective," he said. "This year we are going to begin exporting Colombian Hass avocados to the People's Republic of China."
He expects six containers will be shipped to China in 2019 and will increase over the coming years.
Last year China imported 43,859 metric tons (MT) of avocados, with a value of US$133 million. Its main suppliers were Peru, supplying 38% of the total, Mexico with 34%, and Chile with 27%. New Zealand is the only other country with Hass avocado access to China, which it achieved last year.
But unlike Chile, Peru and New Zealand, Colombia and Mexico do not have free trade agreements with China. It is not clear what tariff level Colombian avocados would face.
However, Valencia said: "Colombia has all the potential to surpass and compete with the current supplies of Has avocados to China."
Colombian Hass avocado exporters get green light for Japan
As for Japan, Colombia is able to export Hass avocados to the market effective July 31. Valencia confirmed the news last week when he was visiting the country, prior to arriving in China.
Japan has imported an average of US$211 million worth of avocados annually over recent years. Mexico has been the main supplier.
Production in Colombia is currently around 90,000MT and in 2018 Colombian exports totaled 30,008MT. Over the first five months of this year the value of exports rose by 31% year-on-year to US$47.1 million.
The Netherlands remains the country's main market, receiving 50% of its exports. The U.S. is in second place with 24%.