Chile became the leading exporter of fresh fruits to China in 2016, overtaking Vietnam and even Thailand, local media reported last week. Chile exported $1.2 billion of fresh fruit, mainly cherries, to China last year, the report said, citing data from Chile’s export promotion agency ProChile.
Thailand ranked in second place, with $1.15 billion in fruit exports, followed by Vietnam, with $635 million. Despite a 3.7-percent decline in national exports overall, Chile’s fresh fruit exports to the Chinese market grew 23 percent over 2015.
“In the past 10 years, our exports to China have grown 18-fold, going from $65 million in 2007 to $1.2 billion in 2016,” said Alejandro Buvinic, ProChile’s director. The growth followed the signing of a free-trade agreement between China and Chile in October 2006.
“China gradually increased its presence, until it became our leading trade partner in 2015, a position it maintained in 2016,” said Buvinic.
Cherries led the list of fresh fruit exports,followed by grapes, plums and cranberries.
Buvinic said that 98 percent of the imported cranberries in the Chinese market are from Chile, as well as 80 percent of fresh cherries and plums.