With the aim of strengthening sanitary diplomacy and deepening bilateral agricultural and technological cooperation, the Minister of Agriculture, Antonio Walker, and the Chinese Minister of Customs, Ni Yuefeng, signed several agreements in Beijing, within the framework of the Chile Week 2018.
They signed the protocol for China to export dates to Chile, updated the protocols for Chile to export fresh fruit to China by air with transshipment in a third country, and delivered documentation on the next product of interest: citrus.
Minister Walker highlighted the progress made with Chinese authorities, as it is a tremendous opportunity for Chile to strengthen the commercial relationship with China thanks to the quality of the products produced by hundreds of farmers in the country. "This is just starting. We still need to penetrate the entire internal market of China, as currently we have only penetrated some cities of the coast. The purchasing power of China has increased a lot and they want to consume Chilean fruit. Fruit consumers prefer to eat a Chilean apple than a Chinese one because they feel it is a safe product. It took us 50 years to achieve this and we have to maintain it; that's a tremendous responsibility for the future."
In the last seven years China has opened its doors to different products, such as blueberries, pork meats and by-products, dehydrated plums, walnuts with and without skin, avocados, bovine hides, alpacas and live bovines, and nectarines. Authorities expect China will soon open its doors to pears.
During the morning, Minister Walker participated in the IX Chile-China Binational Business Council.
In the first plenary session, Walker made a presentation about business opportunities in the agricultural sector before more than 200 attendees. In his presentation, "Cooperation in the agricultural industry between China and Chile", Minister Walker described the situation of Chilean agriculture and said there was an opportunity for investment and mutual cooperation.
"Chilean exports of forestry and agricultural products to China between January and September 2018 have grown by 57% when compared to the same period of 2017. Chile has comparative advantages, such as its climate, market openings, stability, and macroeconomic conditions, which make it a perfect place to invest," he said. In the same line, he stressed that there still was a lot of space to continue growing. "It depends on us. We have to do things right. We have to differentiate our product through its quality, condition, safety, and taste."
Promoting the sector
Minister Walker visited a family in Beijing to deliver a symbolic gift. The gift was made up of forestry and agricultural products that were shipped from Chile to promote them within the framework of the Chile Week that takes place in China between November 1 and 6. The Chilean cherries stood out, as this fruit is highly valued in China, were it symbolizes good luck. It should be noted that the fourth version of this promotional event takes place within the framework of the beginning of the cherry season.
The goal of this activity was to make the Chilean products visible on the jd.com portal -the second largest e-commerce in China and one of the largest importers of fruit, wine and seafood from Chile- within the framework of the Singles Day, which begins on January 1.
Minister Walker was accompanied by the National Directors of the Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (Odepa), Maria Emilia Undurraga, and the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), Horacio Borquez, who were part of the delegation of the agricultural portfolio. He was also accompanied by representatives of the private sector.