China’s apple imports are estimated to be up almost 8% in 2019/20 (July-June), to 100,000 tons in response to growing consumer demand for high-quality fruit, according to USDA data. Domestic production is up this year but cannot match imports in terms of quality. In 2018/2019, China’s apple imports soared 49%, with 87% coming from New Zealand, Chile and the US. While Chile and New Zealand both have free trade agreements with China, the current trade dispute with the US saw apple imports from the North American country fall 35%. This allowed increases in imports from New Zealand (+75%) and Chile (+70%). Other apple suppliers to China are France, South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Poland, Japan and Italy.
Meanwhile, China’s apple exports are expected to recover in 2019/20, up almost 30% to 1.05 million tons, due to the significant increase in exportable supplies. The main destination markets for China’s fresh apples are in South and Southeast Asian countries.