Chile is already a food-producing powerhouse – the varied climates it encompasses, the many free trade agreements it has signed, its entrepreneurial spirit and location in the Southern Hemisphere have all combined to make it a key supplier in the global market.
That role is set to become even more prominent after a new agreement signed with the world’s biggest market during Chilean Agriculture Minister Luis Mayol’s recent visit to China, which come in the same month that the European Union announced that it would begin importing live Chilean shellfish.
“We have concentrated mainly in the access of meat, as well as berries and avocados,” said Mayol, announcing that the Asian giant is now open to receive Chilean beef, lamb, avocados and blueberries. The minister said that he anticipated further discussions on the sale of live cattle and dairy produce.
The strategic focus of the trip is set to expand what is already one the pillars of Chilean primary produce exports – the fresh fruit industry.
According to the Chilean Economic Development fund, Chile is already the Southern Hemisphere’s most important supplier of fruit, and the Andean nation is the world’s leading exporter of table grapes, plums and blueberries, and the second-largest exporter of avocado.
The China deal will build on a strong economic relationship between the two Pacific nations – Chile was the first country to sign a free trade treaty with China in 2006, and China is Chile’s most important trading partner, in terms of both volume and value.
Mayol said that once the agreement on meat imports is fully implemented, Chilean officials “will be moving forward with the export of live cattle, both for dairy and beef, and horses.”
The minister added that Chile will also pursue dairy sales to China, expanding an industry that already generates US$300 million dollars in total exports.