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  • Chile to export shelled walnuts to China

    Feb 1st, 2016

    Unprecedented agreement

    The agreement to export shelled walnuts, signed on 28 January in Beijing between the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile and representatives of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of China, is the result of a pioneering strategy led by the Ministry of Agriculture together with the union of exporters of nuts, which in five years managed to meet all requirements and be granted all authorizations to allow Chilean exporters to access the Chinese market."This agreement complements the one signed with China in 2014, which allowed the entry of unshelled nuts to that country and which only represented 5% of Chinese imports. Now, this agreement gives us access to the remaining 95% of the Chinese market for shelled walnuts," said Andrés Rodríguez, CEO of the Chilean Walnut Commission, stressing that China is the world's largest producer of nuts, but also the largest importer, with purchases ranging between 70,000 and 150,000 tonnes per year.

    Chile is currently the sixth largest producer of walnuts, but it ranks third in terms of exports, behind the United States (California) and Ukraine. "If the annual growth rates are maintained, we could double our production in the next five years and become the second largest exporter worldwide," pointed out Rodríguez. Furthermore, there are comparative advantages over other importers due to the quality of the Chilean product, the fact that production takes place in the Asian off-season, as well as an FTA tariff of 0%, compared to the 25% of other origins.The Chilean walnut harvest in 2015 exceeded 65,000 tonnes and this year it is expected to get close to 80,000 tonnes, with nearly 40,000 hectares planted and about 2,800 new ones every year. This increase is a direct result of Chile's comparative advantages compared to other global producers, such as being in phytosanitary isolation, with a local agriculture protected from foreign pests; having a Mediterranean climate, optimal for this type of crop; the gradual introduction of technology in the production process and the solid product image that Chile has achieved overseas."In this global positioning process, a key aspect has been the creation of the brand Walnuts from Chile," affirms Rodriguez, highlighting the impact on the sector's international promotion of having the support of ProChile. "Promotional campaigns have been organised in Europe and Asia, resulting in great achievements and improving Chile's reputation as one of the most reliable in terms of quality," added the CEO.