Fruit trade could be caught up in trade war

Peak bodies warn proposed tariffs on Chinese products could come back to bite US suppliers

Industry bodies in the US have raised concerns over what proposed tariffs on Chinese imports could mean for their own trade to the People’s Republic.

US President Donald Trump has suggested US$60bn in annual tariffs could be imposed on over 1,300 Chinese products bound for the North American nation. The move comes in retaliation to allegations of intellectual property theft and the desire to boost local employment in the US.

Speaking with the Yakima Herald, Mark Powers, president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, asked what the outcomes would be for US fruit growers and exporters.

“The question is, how does China react?” Powers said. “For us, China is an important export market.”

China is the largest importer of cherries from Washington State, taking 3m cartons in 2017, while it is also a top five market for the state’s apple suppliers.

Should Trump’s proposal come to fruition, economic experts expect China to impose their own tariffs on US products. Fresh produce products would be a prime candidate for such action based on their contribution to the US economy, according to Washington Apple Commission president Todd Fryhover, who was also interviewed by the Yakima Herald.

Fryhover said the apple industry was keen to avoid a repeat of a similar scenario in 2010, which saw Mexico impose a 20 per cent tariff on Washington apples following a dispute relating to trucking.

“We often see ourselves in the apple industry as being collateral damage,” Fryhover told the Yakima Herald.

Australian grapes showcased in North Asia

Promotional visits to South Korea and Japan create new avenues for trade

A recent outbound trade missions to two key North Asian markets has paid dividends for Australia’s table grape industry.

Lead by the Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA), in collaboration with Hort Innovation, Austrade Japan and Trade Victoria, the delegation delivered a successful and comprehensive promotional programme in Japan and South Korea.

The trade mission began with seminars in Osaka and Tokyo to provide Japanese importers, retailers and food service representatives with important pre-season information.

A similar programme was then held in Seoul. Following the trade seminar, two major South Korean table grape importers travelled to Australia. The importers visited key table grape growing regions in the state of Victoria, as they looked to source new-season fruit.

“We know the fruit quality is very high this year and that new varieties are in demand,” said ATGA chief executive Jeff Scott. “They must have liked what they saw because the number of containers exported to South Korea has now surpassed last year’s total number.”

The delegation included a number of Australian exporters, who welcomed the chance to meet and network with several leading fruit traders.

“Importers and retailers were eager to hear how the Australian season was shaping up They wanted to know what they could expect to see in market and as well in in-store promotional activities,” Scott explained.

“With exports valued over A$29m (US$22m) in 2017, Japan is becoming an important export destination for Australian table grapes. South Korea is an emerging market with momentum building to increase trade.”

Source: Author: Matthew Jones


China announces tariffs on US fruit

China has announced a proposed 15 per cent import duty on US fresh fruit and nuts in response to Trump's planned tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium

China has announced proposed tariffs on US goods worth US$3bn – including a 15 per cent duty on fresh fruit and nuts – in response to US levies on Chinese steel and aluminium imports, according to various reports.

US fruit categories affected by China's proposed tariffs include cherries, citrus, grapes, apples and pears (see full list below).

If the tariffs come to fruition, they could make trade difficult for US fruit exporters to China, pundits said.

China is the largest importer of cherries from the US state of Washington, taking 3m cartons in 2017, while it is also a top five market for the state's apple suppliers.

Washington Apple Commission president Todd Fryhover told the Yakima Herald this week that the apple industry was keen to avoid a repeat of a similar scenario in 2010, which saw Mexico impose a 20 per cent tariff on Washington apples following a dispute over trucking.

China responded to news earlier this month of President Trump’s planned steel and aluminium tariffs by saying that, while it did not want a trade war, it was "absolutely not afraid" of one, the BBC said.

"If things get very nasty, they can make life very difficult for US companies doing business in China," Deborah Elms, executive director of the Asian Trade Centre in Singapore, told the BBC.

Fears of a trade war today pushed Asian stock markets down sharply, with shares also trading lower in Europe and the UK on the morning of Friday 23 March.

Trump's aluminium and steel import tariffs are a response to allegations of intellectual property theft by China, and a desire to boost local employment in the US.

The US president has railed against the US trade deficit of about US$375bn with China. He said he had asked the Asian country to cut that deficit by $100bn "immediately".

The list of US fruit and nut categories affected by China's proposed tariffs include: citrus (oranges, mandarins, clementines, tangelos etc, grapefruit, pomelo, lemon, limes); grapes; melons; papayas; apples; pears; quince; stonefruit (cherries, nectaries, peaches, plums); berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries); kiwifruit; durians; persimmons; pomegranates; dragonfruit; starfruit; lychees; sapota; custard apples; bore/jujube; starfruit; bananas; avocados; dates; figs; pineapples; guavas; coconuts; and several types of nut (brazil, cashew and others).

Source: Author: Luisa Cheshire

AHEIA working with Vietnamese trade delegation

AHEIA's Dominic Jenkin participated in a working lunch hosted by Viet Kong Bank, at which cooperation in horticultural trade was discussed as an important opportunity to increase trade between Australia and Vietnam. Bilateral trade allows mutual support of both countries.

AHEIA is currently working on an ATMAC project - Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation program, a grant from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, to address supply chain issues.

Australian fruit and nut exports to China up 500% in last four years

ANZ Future of Fresh reports that fruit and nut exports from Australia to China have increased by 500% in the last four years.

This report, which appeared in China this week, shows that the development of horticulture already shows great improvement. It has turned into an industry that is worth 10 billion Australian dollar [7.7 billion USD]. Furthermore, it is the fourth largest category of agricultural export products. The industry was only worth 3 billion Australian dollar [2.3 billion USD] in 2016.

Trends and figures show that the middle class has become a strong supporting community for the Australian fruit and nut industry. The consumers particularly favour almonds, macadamia, tropical fruit and stone fruit, and traditional apples and fresh grapes - and they are willing to pay for quality.

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Publication date: 3/19/2018
Author: SanderM Molenaar

Australia needs infrastructure for export

Insight from China could help the country reach its A$100bn agriculture goal by 2030

China does infrastructure better and more cost-efficiently than just about anybody, according to KPMG’s Asia business adviser, Doug Ferguson.

Ferguson believes that Australia has something to learn from this, and could improve our infrastructure plan to align with China’s Belt and Road program, fostering trade.

The Land reported that successful regional hubs like Toowoomba’s Wellcamp Airport in Queensland offer considerable opportunities to service direct exports of perishable fresh produce to markets in Asia and elsewhere.

The National Farmer’s Federation has a goal to lift the value of farm production in Australia to A$100bn by 2030. Ferguson believes this is “unattainable” unless the country takes an assertive approach.

Building better regional transport, strong water infrastructure and international airport hubs are just some ways that Ferguson believes Australia could improve.

Australia’s current inland rail project offers considerable opportunity to transport produce to airport hubs. “If an airport already exists, these aren’t big ticket projects,” said Ferguson.

“You’d only need A$50 million to A$100m (each) to get these facilities handling product from various food production zones around the country.”

According to The Land simply sealing rural roads could cut transport costs by around 24 per cent.


Author: Camellia Aebischer

China: Consumption trends - JD 2018 Report on New Year consumption of fresh food

The JD Data Research Institute issued the "Global search for tastes, Chinese year of innovation-2018 report on New Year consumption of fresh food". JD data shows that the sales volume of fresh food in 2017 increased by more than 330% in comparison with 2016. The retail value increased by more than 240% in comparison with 2016.

As far as products during Spring Festival 2018 are concerned, consumers particularly enjoyed fresh food products as New Year's gifts. The sales of fresh food products increased explosively during the Spring Festival season. The retail value of fresh food sold during the Spring Festival period increased by 198.8% in comparison with the same period in 2017. The categories of fresh food with the highest retail value during Spring Festival season 2018 were seafood and aquatic products, fruit, and pork and mutton.

As far as areas during Spring Festival 2018 are concerned, the overall consumption level of fresh food in each area maintained a growth rate of more than 100% on average in comparison with the same period in 2017. There were preferences for different kinds of fresh food in different cities and areas. Fresh food consumption in typical coastal cities has local characteristics. The online purchase preferences for fresh food also varied.

The most welcomed imported fresh food products based on retail value during Spring Festival 2018 were, in order from high to low, Chilean cherries, Argentinian wild shrimp, Ecuadorian white shrimp, Vietnamese Red Heart dragon fruit, and Chilean handpicked blueberries. The provinces where fresh food consumption during Spring Festival 2018 increased the fastest in comparison with Spring Festival 2017 include Chongqing, Shaanxi, Liaoning, Fujian, and Hubei. Their retail value increased on average by more than 300% in comparison with the same period in 2017.

Source: via 

Publication date: 3/12/2018

China's Import volume of fruit & nut increased by more than 40%

The large database of ASKCI shows the following: the overall import volume of fruit and nuts throughout China in 2017 was 4.51 million tons. This adds up to an increase of 11.1%. The overall import value in 2017 was 6.2 billion USD. The import volume of fruit and nuts in China showed growth in every single month of 2017.

The newest data show that the import volume of fresh and dried fruits and nuts in February 2018 was 430 thousand tons, which is an increase of 43% in comparison with February 2017. The accumulated import volume of fresh and dried fruits and nuts in China in January and February was 932 thousand tons, which is an accumulated growth of 22.6%.

The import value of fresh and dried fruits and nuts in February was 751.5 million USD, which is an increase of 102% in comparison with February 2017. The accumulated import value of fresh and dried fruit and nuts in January and February was 1.84 billion USD, which is an accumulated growth of 63.8%.

Source: via 

Publication date: 3/12/2018

Kiwfruit harvest kicks off after good kiwiberry and avocado seasons

The New Zealand kiwifruit harvest is commencing today at produce company, Seeka. It has just completed its Nashi and Packham pear harvests in Australia and avocado and kiwiberry harvests in New Zealand.

2018 has seen unsettled weather in New Zealand already with ex-tropical cyclone Gita having impacted in New Zealand's South Island and it was feared that the remnants of tropical cyclone Hola may have hit the Te Puke area on Monday, but the storm drifted to the east of the country. MetService said it would bring a short spell of wind, rain and larger swells, with possible severe weather in places. Now there is a new Cyclone Linda brewing in the Coral Sea in New Caledonia.

Michael Franks said that Seeka are ready to go with the new kiwifruit harvest. "We are at the end of a very good kiwiberry harvest, and having completed Seeka’s most successful avocado season ever. In the kiwiberry space around 1605 bins have been processed across Seeka’s new kiwiberry processing plant – a converted cherry grader. The machine has commissioned well, and provided Seeka and its growers with 5 times the capacity to pack. Its delivered a significantly better risk profile for our growers, particularly with the unsettled weather pattern. This is well up on last year’s approximate 1297 bins processed at Seeka. The first kiwifruit are now ready for harvest. The weather during the kiwifruit growing season has been very unsettled with less than ideal amounts of sunshine punctuated with heavy rain. The result is a very large size profile. Dry matters are comparatively low and we are closely monitoring the fruit to get it harvested when the criteria is achieved."

Last year Hayward [green] yields were low with big sizes, this season's yields are expected to be more normal and Seeka are expecting to pack between 29 million and 30 million trays, compared to last year's 25.5 million.

Seeka is currently recruiting for the season but there doesn't seem to be the usual numbers of backpackers registering as in previous years. This is a new phenomenon in New Zealand and in the Hawkes Bay, the apple packers are at crisis levels. "The labour situation is always a bit confused at this time of the year," according to Franks. "People sign up to three or four packhouses in the region and will go to the place that starts packing first, so it is hard to get a handle on the overall situation right now. The numbers seem ok but we are unsure about how it will pan out. Seeka does have innovative programs underway with Government departments to encourage out of region New Zealanders to work at Seeka including subsidised transport and specialist training. We also have our overseas workforces coming in
which we use to complement the local kiwi workers."

Seeka have two packhouses with Near-Infrared technology in the lines which scans fruit to measure dry matter levels. The gold kiwifruit must reach a certain threshold to be classed as Zespri class I fruit for export. The technology tries to segregate the specific sized fruit to ensure that the dry matter levels are sufficient to meet customer's demands. Once packed the fruit is rechecked to ensure it is at the level.

"Its tricky technology to employ, and as the fruit matures and the harvest continues the cameras and technology needs recalibrated. It is time consuming at a time when we are very busy. It is not possible to take the machine down for a whole day for recalibration. The whole process is expensive to the point where its economic benefits are marginal, but we do it because the market and growers expect it of us," said Franks.

"We anticipate a better crop volumes this season, up 4.5million trays on last year. Hayward will be better so we are expecting around 18 million conventional and organic trays and also a lift in the Sungold fruit, but we are conscious that it does have lower dry matter," stated Franks.

Meanwhile at Seeka Australia the financial performance last year was up significantly, mainly due to a very good kiwifruit harvest, but according to Franks, there is still room to improve. The focus in on production to get all varieties performing at their optimum. Last year the Nashi volume was down but they are predicting a bumper crop this year across all varieties. Seeka Australia has experienced unprecedented export demand for its kiwifruit. The orchards, while in a difficult growing environment, produce fruit of excellent taste and quality. The combination of high temperatures, high sunlight hours and strict quality standards has delivered an excellent kiwifruit, according to Franks. Export volumes are expected to surge by 60% with Seeka continuing to market through its dedicated European customers.

Seeka continues to invest; it is developing 60 hectares of new kiwifruit orchards as well as new pear varieties. The company has deployed new high-brix high yielding pears focused on its key Australian customers. These new exciting pears are intended to meet growing market demand and replace commodity pears.

For more information:
Michael Franks
Tel: +64 21 356 516

Article and Image Source:


Publication date: 3/14/2018
Author: Nichola McGregor

China: First batch of Australian peaches arrive in Shandong

According to the official website of the Shandong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau, the first cargo aircraft with 1,300 kg of Australian fresh peaches on board arrived at Qingdao Airport a few days ago. This special cargo port of Qingdao Airport has been open in January 2018. Since then, the Australian peaches are the 3rd shipment of high-end fruits.

China Inspection and Quarantine Bureau officer examines nectarines

Qingdao Airport has the biggest port for fruit import in Shandong Province. Up to now, there have been five batches of fruits imported through Qingdao Airport, with a total weight of more than 6 tons and a value of nearly 100,000 US dollars.

Source: via 

Publication date: 3/14/2018

Australia and Victoria seed potatoes gain market access to Indonesia

Certified seed potatoes from South Australia and Victoria have been approved for market access to our nearest neighbour, Indonesia, at recent bilateral trade discussions held in Melbourne.

Market access to Indonesia enables certified seed potato growers in South Australia and Victoria to supply the Indonesian market with potentially 85,000 tonnes of certified seed potatoes with a market value of $AUD110m annually.

The agreement signed by Australia and Indonesia is the result of a near decade long collaboration between industry groups (ViCSPA, Potatoes South Australia), certified seed potato growers, exporters, state and federal governments and Indonesian agencies. The result is a win for certified seed potato growers and is a demonstration of what can be achieved when strong relationships and collaboration is built between industry and government, at all levels.

The Seed Certification Scheme operated by ViCSPA provides complete traceability and documented evidence which supports the high health status of certified seed potatoes produced in South Australia and Victoria. The ViCSPA Seed Certification Scheme is on par with the world’s best and the ViCSPA Board has invested heavily in developing robust database management systems which underpin the certification scheme to trace all seed plots submitted for certification.

The robustness of the ViCSPA seed certification scheme has been integral to this pursuit and subsequent success of new markets such as Indonesia. The ViCSPA scheme has highly trained certification officers for crop inspections and uses modern crop monitoring systems to certify seed potato crops. Indonesian officials audited both the ViCSPA seed scheme and the seed production areas. It is gratifying that they were impressed with the comprehensiveness and professionalism of the ViCSPA Seed Certification Scheme and the quality of the seed potatoes that are the result of the strict protocols adhered to.

The Chair of ViCSPA, Kay Spierings said, “ViCSPA is delighted that as an independent, industry based organisation, ViCSPA continues to be recognised as a leader in seed potato certification. The export potential of the Indonesian market is significant and we look forward continuing our strong collaborative relationships to build further opportunities for our growers.” Dr Nigel Crump, General Manager, ViCSPA said, “On the back of the recent success, ViCSPA will continue to strive for excellence in our seed certification program to maintain existing markets and pursue new markets. Recently, with a grant from Agriculture Victoria, we have developed a geospatial software tool that has been integrated with the existing seed potato certification database”.

“Importantly, the collection of geospatial data that relates to the field used to produce seed potato crops enhances the evidence of data that is required to support market access and subsequent trade”, he added.

For ViCSPA, the long history of soil sampling and laboratory testing all fields used to produce certified seed for pests and disease such as Potato Cyst Nematode (PCN) and the ongoing leaf testing program for monitoring levels of Potato Virus Y were critical in securing market access to Indonesia. Surveillance of this type provides strong evidence to support claims made on the supply of high health certified seed potatoes.

Robbie Davis, CEO Potatoes South Australia stated that the industry was thrilled at this long-awaited protocol and that it provided a valuable new market. She said, “Of critical significance, the high quality of seed potatoes and professional approach by seed potato growers in South Australia and Victoria were major contributing factors in securing the trade. Strong collaboration has been key.”

It is envisaged that there will be an ongoing exchange of knowledge and capacity building between Australia and Indonesia and plans are already underway for ViCSPA to run pest and disease workshops in Indonesia later this year. It is important that the Indonesian and Australian potato industries work together into the future to continue to foster ‘business-to-business’ trade and improve potato production in both countries.

For for information:
Dr Nigel Crump (ViCSPA)
Tel: +44 3 5962 0000

Publication date: 3/7/2018

Cost a key factor in falling fruit consumption in Japan

A reliance on imports coupled with a weak currency has been a big factor in declining fruit consumption, says leading industry figure
japanese fruit consumption has been steadily declining over the past decade, and one of the country's leading industry figures says rising costs are contributing to the decline.

“Since the Generation Y segment of the population is always on the go, they want the convenience of pre-packaged and/or easy to eat fruit; however, cost still remains the primary concern,” said Jack Moriya, president of major importer and wholesaler Tokyo Seika and head of the Japan Fresh Fruit Importers Association.

“The younger generation has a propensity to choose the convenience of juices, and smoothies which has become great competition for fresh fruit.”

Changing behaviour among both younger and older generations is a factor in the decline, he said, but figures indicate there are more significant economic factors at play.

Data from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications shows a direct correlation with increased expenditure, meaning an increased cost of fresh fruit.

Ultimately though, fluctuations in worldwide supply and demand has increased pricing of fresh produce, and it’s putting off Japanese consumers.

“The weak Japanese yen makes imported fruit more expensive than ever before,” Moriya explained.

“Also, a factor is that (with few exceptions), many fresh fruits are considered a luxury item in Japan. And with the high cost, consumption in Japan is extremely low compared to other advanced countries such as the US, and many European countries.”

Price inflation contributes to the perception that fruit is an indulgence, not a necessity. Although household expenditure of fruit has remained relatively stable over the past decade, the increasing costs mean volumes are decreasing as a result.

In 2008, the average Japanese household spent around ¥36,118 (US$340) on fresh fruit. In 2017 the figure was at ¥36,052 (US$340) with a variation of around ¥2,500 (US$23) in the years between.

Comparatively, the volume of fruit consumed in 2008 was 89.47kg versus 75.05kg in 2017.

Bananas still continue to be the favourite fruit of Japanese consumers, maintaining stability throughout the past decade, despite a slight slump. Gaining swift popularity, kiwifruit have seen a significant increase in both expenditure and consumption.

Moriya believes there is a solution to this ongoing decline of fruit consumption in Japan.

“[It’s] simple, much lower fruit prices.”


Author: Camellia Aebischer