China opens for Portuguese table grape imports
China has cleared a path for Portuguese table grapes to begin entering the country, with the publication of export protocols.
In a statement posted on its website last week, China's General Administration of Customs said that Portuguese table grapes in compliance with phytosanitary requirements are now allowed to be imported.
The requirements include measures to prevent the entry of more than a dozen quarantine pests.
All production sites and packing and storage facilities must first be certified by and registered with Chinese authorities.
Portuguese table grapes will be subject to cold treatment. This will be at either 1.11°C for 15 days, or 1.67°C for 17 days or 2.22°C for 21 days.
Portugal's season runs from July through November, with about two-thirds of production on the domestic market. Exports mainly go to other European countries.
In 2018 the country's table grape exports amounted to a modest 3,800 metric tons - equivalent to US$8.3m - according to International Trade Center (ITC) data. Exports have declined over the years, having halved since 2014.
Neighboring Spain received the final green light to export table grapes to China just earlier this month. But exporters there say they do not expect volumes to be significant in the near future, mainly due to the logistical challenges associated with shipping to such a distant market.
Currently, China imports table grapes mostly from Chile, Peru, Australia and South Africa, with some smaller volumes from the U.S.