But growing imports and new fruit varieties

China in 2017: Looming US trade barriers, blockages in India

It has been a moving year for the Chinese produce industry. The threat of looming trade barriers with the US made exporters from Shandong and other large producing regions nervous. Growers expressed their concern about new import regulations and lengthening clearance procedures that could be introduced by President Trump. The election of Donald Trump to US president was a cause of concern for fruit and vegetable exporters to the US. In the run up to the elections, Trump repeatedly antagonised China about its foreign trade policies, threatening to increase supervision and import duties on productions coming from China. Since his presidency has started, Trump’s stand towards China seem to have moderated.

Another topic of concern was the blocking by India of all apple and pear imports from China. In May, the Indian government announced that all imports from China would be blocked from June the 1st. The reasons given were mealybugs and fungi found in an earlier shipment. At first exporters were hopeful that the blockade would be cancelled by August, when apple exports would start to gather speed. However, up to now, the market has remained closed. Last week it was reported that Iran’s exports to India have boomed since the ban, taking advantage of the situation.

Meanwhile, total fruit imports keep on growing in volume and value, with an increasing number of companies setting up import branches. In the article Goodfarmer: bananas key to domestic Chinese market, Goodfarmer explained how it’s business model is shifting from more export focused to more import focused, with the 2011 launch of its import branch. The companies main products are bananas. Bananas need extra care and investment in order to deliver them to the supermarkets and online shops ripe and ready-to-eat, creating more margins for suppliers if they have the means to invest in ripening technology and cold chain facilities and transport. 

Domestic fruit production is gathering speed and momentum. Growers experiment pushing up quality and yield and have also started to work with different varieties and fruits. Kiwiberries are a relatively new fruit to be grown in China. Jinming Fan expresses his enthusiasm about the fruit’s potential in the Chinese Kiwiberry industry still in its infancy.

Citrus greening disease keeps ravaging domestic citrus production. Growers in Southern provinces hope for a harsh Winter, which might slow the spread of the disease. So far, no definite cure is in sight. Growers are making changes to orchard design and planting techniques, which hopefully will start to bring some alleviation in the year to come.

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