China gives final go-ahead for Spanish grape imports
Spain can now begin exporting table grapes to China after the Asian country's authorities gave the final approval.
Spain's Agriculture Ministry on Monday received official authorization from the General Customs Administration of the People's Republic of China for exports to begin.
This finalizes the agreement reached on Nov. 28 during the state visit to Spain by Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The development comes after several years of negotiations “in which many technical difficulties have been overcome,” since according to the Ministry, “China is an extremely demanding country when it comes to phytosanitary issues."
The plots, warehouses and cold facilities authorized by China have already been registered in the computer application of the Ministry for the management of imports and exports. Exporters are mostly located, in the regions of Murcia, Alicante and some areas of Aragon, Andalusia and Castile-La Mancha.
China produces about 11 million metric tons (MT) of table grapes, but imports are significant and have been growing over recent years. Currently, China imports table grapes mostly from Chile, Peru, Australia and South Africa, with some smaller volumes from the U.S.
Spain already had protocols for the export of citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, mandarins and grapefruits (since 2005), and stone fruits, such as peaches, nectarines, Paraguayo peaches and plums (since 2016).
The latter category caused the value of Spanish fruit sales to China to skyrocket, going from 1.3 million euros in 2014 to over 49 million euros in 2019.