Chile will be able to export table grapes to the U.S. with Systems Approach

June 30 , 2024

After more than 20 years of bilateral work, Chile will finally implement the long-awaited Systems Approach for table grape exports from the regions of Atacama, Coquimbo, and Valparaíso to the United States.

The first grapes exported under the System Approach are expected to reach the U.S. this year, in November. Chile's Fruit Association reported that the achievement is a "significant step forward for the table grape industry." 

Various authorities from both Chile's and the United States agriculture sectors signed an agreement this morning. The meeting included Chile's Minister of Agriculture, Esteban Valenzuela, the president of Fruits from Chile, Iván Marambio, Apeco's president, and U.S. ambassador, Bernadette M. Meehan. 

"This is very relevant. After cherries, table grapes are the country's main fruit export with more than one billion dollars, almost half of which goes to the United States, and entering the United States without methyl bromide, without fumigation, according to different projections, will increase the value by 40 to 45%, which is very significant at a time when the economy is reactivating and we need to recover jobs in the central northern regions," Valenzuela said.

The Systems Approach ensures phytosanitary conditions and high-quality standards for table grapes, avoiding fumigation at the destination and thus entering the U.S. market with better quality conditions. This will mean better positioning in the United States and a level playing field with other suppliers, such as Peru. 

Meehan said she is elated to "announce that Chile has achieved the Systems Approach for table grapes. The United States is the main market for this product and this protocol benefits not only the workers but also the economy and the people of the Atacama region, as well as the regions of Coquimbo and Valparaíso. We have been working hard for almost 24 years (...) this is another example of the very close relationship between the United States and Chile."

The president of Frutas de Chile, Iván Marambio, described the approval of the Systems Approach as the "most important historical fact for table grapes".

"Chile is a grape-growing country, our traditional fruit is the grape and this means improving our competitiveness, approaching the consumer in a different way than we have been doing since the United States is our main market, and with this we have the possibility of reaching 60% of the grapes that Chile exports to the world without fumigation, which is extraordinary and brings us closer to other origins in terms of competitiveness and the way to reach the US consumer," he said.

Victor Catán, The president of Fruit Producers of Chile (Fedefruta), also praised several local associations like the San Felipe Farmers Association and Luis Alberto Luraschi, of the Santa Rosa de Los Andes Farmers Association, and congratulated two senators from the region for "being capable of putting the interests of the regions at the country level that are often postponed and forgotten."

Víctor Catán also highlighted “the important work of the United States agricultural attaché in Chile, Bred Tate; from Ambassador Bernadette Mehan; the arduous work of SAG through Rodrigo Astete; the Foreign Ministry, the Chilean ambassador to the United States, Juan Gabriel Valdés and the efforts of President Gabriel Boric with his counterpart from the United States.”

In 2023, Chilean grape exports totaled US$905 million, reaching 72 destinations worldwide. Shipments to the United States alone totaled US$431 million, being the main destination of shipments, representing almost 50% of Chilean shipments of fresh grapes.

Chile and Peru will join forces on August 8, 2024, at the first Global Grape Convention, to be held at the Casino Monticello Events Center, to face the great challenge of grapes worldwide.

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