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Argentina: Blueberries and cherries, closer to Asian breakthrough

Even though the Chinese inspectors of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) visited the blueberry plantations in Northwest Argentina in 2015, and it seemed that negotiations for the approval of the protocol of admissibility this fruit would be finalized in 2016, the procedures have taken longer than expected.

President Macri's upcoming tour of Asia could be the perfect setting to put the final signature on the protocol and give headway to a new product that is on the waiting list - cherries.

Carlos Stabile, the president of Argentina's Blueberries Committee (ABC) said that they had met with the National Service of Health and Food Quality, SENASA, two weeks ago, and that they had discussed the details of a technical visit to China and Japan to accelerate the entry of Argentine products.

"The highest priority are the blueberries and cherries. We believe that the country will finally sign the protocol for blueberries with China on Macri's next tour, between May 14 and 19. We aren't 100% sure about this because we have not received the final protocol from AQSIQ, but we are confident that this will happen," he said.

Stabile added that, even though the signing of the protocol was not confirmed and despite them not knowing what the final requirements will be, he believes there were two possibilities.

"We suppose that the requirements could be methyl bromide fumigation at 15°, like we do for the USA, or a cold treatment."

In the hypothetical case that the signing of the protocol takes place in May, Stabile said everything was ready to begin the tests.

The executive manager of the Argentine Chamber of Producers of Integrated Cherries (CAPCI), Anibal Caminiti, said that the process to open a market was slow, especially in Asia, where the products are defined in order of priority and they don't start a new process until they complete an ongoing one. As a result, the cherry producers from Argentina are hoping that the protocol for blueberries will be signed in May, as they are the next product that should be negotiated with China.

"We have already made some drafts and are waiting for the first AQSIQ inspection visit by the end of the year. However, it is fundamental that the blueberry protocol be finished, so that we can continue to advance," he said.

Caminiti said that things were different with Japan. "We have made good progress in the negotiations with Japan and South Korea. In Japan, we are defining the mitigation systems, particularly for the fruit fly, in a job that SENASA is doing very proactively."

Source: infocampo.com.ar

Publication date: 4/21/2017


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