Chile and the United States working to strengthen the exchange of fresh fruits

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Chile and the United States working to strengthen the exchange of fresh fruits

A delegation from the USDA, and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) visited Chile last week in order to advance work with their counterparts on issues of mutual interest related to the bilateral exchange of fresh fruit.

The discussion covered topics including the progress made for exports of blueberries from the U.S. to Chile, the process of implementation and approval of the Systems Approach for table grapes from Chile, the application of irradiation for exports of grapes and blueberries to the U.S., and the implementation of a substitute product for methyl bromide, among other issues.

The visit ended with a day of camaraderie with the participation of the US Ambassador to Chile, Bernadette Meehan, and the Minister of Agriculture, Esteban Valenzuela, accompanied by directors and representatives of SAG and ASOEX, as well as the Chilean Office of Agrarian Studies and Policies (Odepa).

“Both countries have common concerns such as the water issue and collaboration on fires. Today, the central issue is sanitary safety for our exports, where we have been able to resolve the difficulties that have arisen,” said Valenzuela. 

Meanwhile, U.S. representatives who also participated in the meeting included more than 10 members of APHIS and the USDA along with members of the U.S. Embassy in Chile.

“All the conversations that have taken place seek nothing more than to increase exports and imports between the United States and Chile. This is yet another demonstration of the strong collaborative relationship that exists between the two nations," said Meehan.

"These bilateral meetings are relevant for our fresh fruit exports. In the 2021-2022 season, our fruit shipments placed the United States as our main destination market with 30% of total shipments to the world. 

It is a key market for our blueberries, citrus, and table grapes, a process that, with these types of meetings, is moving forward in a positive way," added Iván Marambio, president of ASOEX.

Important topics covered 

All topics discussed were centered around sanitation as the most important factor, according to María Ignacia Fernández; the National Director (s) of the SAG. 

“The topics of interest to the United States during this working day were related to the export of blueberries produced in the eastern United States to Chile, as well as the recognition of the blueberry genetic material production center Fall Creek Farm and Nursery in Oregon. 

Other topics discussed included the export of canola grain to Chile and mitigation measures for weed seeds in wheat grain exports to Chile, among others,” said Rodrigo Astete, head of SAG's Agricultural, Forestry, and Seed Protection Division.

The delegations also discussed the entry of Chilean oranges and lemons to Puerto Rico and Hawaii, as well as preparing northern grape growers and exporters to implement the Systems Approach.

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