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South Africa looks to expand market access for citrus in BRICS countries

Friday was an important day for the South African citrus industry as the Minister of DAFF, Tina Joemat-Pettersson met with the Citrus Growers Association (CGA) and AgriSA.

The main topic under consideration was market access. Apart from the present circumstances in the EU, the Minister addressed the issue of widening access in Eastern markets. In particular membership of BRICS should be exploited to widen access into Russia, India and China. In China the emphasis will be on pursuing alternatives to the present cold sterilisation requirement and market development.

The biggest stumbling block for additional access into India is the duty on imported fruit. With regard to the EU, the latest discussions during the RSA-EU Summit have opened the door for joint resolution with regard to managing the CBS risk.

Only one case has been recorded so far this season (July 2013).

"On the part of the ministry ... we've agreed that as government, we will be assisting the citrus industry to deepen market access in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations, especially with India and China," Joemat-Pettersson said.

"When we meet as BRICS agriculture ministers later in the year, we will discuss this further."

Joemat-Pettersson said the trade regime of citrus with China was "a bit complicated", but that the government was committed to entering negotiations with China to help ease matters.

However, the minister emphasised that broadening citrus trade relations with BRICS countries was not an attempt to replace the EU market.

"This is not a replacement of the EU market, but the broadening and expanding of the citrus industry to access the BRICS market as well. The EU and the United States of America remain our traditional markets," she said.

Joemat-Pettersson said the African continent was another new export destination for South Africa's citrus industry. "Trade on the continent has also grown significantly, with Zimbabwe being one of the top importers of our citrus."

The Minister stressed the need for all in the fruit sector to work together in order to move matters forward. This thinking is in line with discussions within Fruit South Africa (FSA – comprising CGA, HORTGRO, South African Table Grape Industry (SATI), SUBTROP and Fresh Produce Exporters Forum). At a meeting on Thursday the FSA Board agreed to test their constituencies with regard to resourcing FSA to address common issues.

A work group consisting of fruit industry representatives and DAFF officials is to be formed to address market access, which will report directly to the Minister. 

Publication date: 7/30/2013


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