Foreign Affairs Minister Andrés Allamand and Agriculture Minister María Emilia Undurraga chaired a meeting this morning to monitor the serious situation affecting cherries in China and set up a public-private task force to restore normality to this important market.
The meeting was attended by International Economic Relations Undersecretary Rodrigo Yáñez; Director General of ProChile Jorge O’Ryan; Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG) Director Horacio Bórquez; Chile’s Ambassador to China, Luis Schmidt; Chile’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary on Special Mission to the Asia-Pacific region, Eduardo Frei; President of the Chilean Fruit Exporters’ Association (ASOEX), Ronald Bown; President of the National Agricultural Society (SNA), Ricardo Ariztía; President of the Chilean Meat Exporters’ Association, Juan Carlos Domínguez; President of the Federation of Fruit Producers (FEDEFRUTA), Jorge Valenzuela, and President of the ASOEX Cherry Committee, Cristián Tagle.
Over the last few weeks several publications have appeared on social networks referring to an alleged detection of traces of COVID-19 in cases of cherries. It must be emphasized that no official communication has been received from the Chinese government confirming this information.
During the 2019-2020 season, 11,500 containers with more than 41 million 5-kilo cases of cherries were exported to China, with an FOB (Free on Board) value of around US$1.5 billion. In 2021, this is expected to increase by 50% with forecast sales of US$1.8 billion FOB.
Although the Chinese market is open in terms of phytosanitary policy, with fruit entering normally, thanks to strict compliance with the agreed measures, a significant decrease in demand for cherries at major sales points has occurred over the last few days.
The COVID-19 follow-up and prevention measures implemented both in Chile and China provide the appropriate guarantees to safeguard the health of people who consume products imported from Chile.
At this morning’s meeting, it was agreed to continue holding regular meetings to further monitor the situation, as well as to strengthen contact with China so as to find a solution to the cherry problem. A public-private communication campaign will also be implemented in order to restore normality to the cherry market.
The Agriculture Ministry reported that, since the beginning of the global pandemic, Chile’s export industries have implemented a series of additional health measures, ensuring strict control with high quality standards throughout the entire production process. All measures are overseen by the Agriculture Ministry through the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) and the Health Ministry in accordance with WHO and FAO requirements.
All of these follow-up and prevention measures implemented both in Chile and China provide the appropriate guarantees to safeguard the health of people who consume products imported from Chile.