"During the next season (2020/21), Chinese inspectors will visit Italian companies during the pear harvesting phase. It's an important step towards the definitive closure of the dossier, so that the Italian product can be exported to Beijing. The timing? We don't know, so it is pointless for me to make predictions. Everything will depend on the inspection report and the timing of our responses." So said Raffaella Danielato, from the Italian Embassy in Beijing, on Skype last Friday, November 29, 2019, during the World Pear Forum 2019 in Ferrara.
If the Chinese inspectors visit Italian companies between July and September 2020, everyone's hope would be to be able to export pears to China from the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022. Of course, sometimes, some bureaucratic quibbling is enough to delay the procedure for months and that is why nobody can say too much, in order not to create false expectations.
Enrico Berti, from the Italian Embassy in Beijing, sent a video message on the occasion of the conference saying that China produces more than 60 percent of the world's pears, but mostly it is nashi pears. Belgium, Argentina, the Netherlands and New Zealand export pears for over 20 million euros, so Italy must enter this market with great potential.
Raffaella Danielato has specified that the procedure still lacks some key passages, such as how to establish which varieties to insert in the protocol, and the management of storage, packaging and transport. Next year's inspection visit will serve to clarify several issues.
"This visit - said Simona Rubbi international relations manager of CSO Italy - represents a further essential step in the negotiation phase, which makes us concretely hope for a conclusion of the protocol within a reasonable time. The need to export to third markets, and exit from a Europe now saturated with this product, is a priority. At the moment, Italy is mainly focused on the intra-European market; just think that only 8% of exported pear volumes cross EU borders".
"Before the Russian embargo, our two main competitors - Belgium and the Netherlands - exported a large part of their production to the Russian market. Today on the European market it is estimated that we have about 220 thousand tons of pears more. This is an untenable situation which, as CSO Italy, we are facing trying to open up new opportunities for producers", stated Simona Rubbi.
"At the moment we are working on different countries like Mexico (where we are carrying out a joint dossier on apples and pears), South Africa, the United States, Taiwan (currently closed to European pears), Vietnam and, indeed, China as our main dossier".