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Agreement opens opportunities for US fruit in Japan

The US-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA) came into force on January 1, 2020. Once USJTA is fully implemented, up to 90% of all US food and agricultural products imported into Japan will be duty free or receive preferential tariff access. Japan is a key trading partner for the US. In 2018, the US exported $318 million of fresh fruit to Japan, making Japan the 4th largest overseas market for US fresh fruit. The US was the source of one third of Japan’s fresh fruit imports and the leading supplier of fresh oranges, lemons, grapes and cherries. Japan will apply a seasonal US-specific safeguard for oranges starting at 26,435 tons. The safeguard only applies to products imported between December 1 and March 31. If the safeguard volume is exceeded, tariffs on US orange exports will increase for the remainder of that period. The safeguard tariff is 28% in Years 1-3 and 20% in Years 4-6.  The safeguard will be eliminated in Year 7 (2025).

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New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market

New start for Harvest Season and garciaBallester in Asian citrus market
Credit: Press release

An event held on 12th February in Palma del Río, Córdoba, makes official and consolidates the alliance between Harvest Season and garciaBallester. The two large companies, leaders in the business, are now united in achieving the same goal: to become leaders in the Asian citrus import market. garciaBallester’s own facilities were chosen as the ideal setting to seal the union between the two companies. 

Representatives and senior executives from both companies were present from the beginning, with garciaBallester represented by Jorge García (CEO), Jorge C. García, (management coordinator), Lucas (Asian export manager), Miguel Meliá, (GB Palma del Rio’s packhouse manager) and Stephane (sales director), and Harvest Season represented by Tony Zhang (general manager).

The event started with the reception of both parties in garciaBallester’s facilities, and later on they went out to the fields.  Once in the field, which was also in the middle of the orange season, the union between both companies was formalised. To do this, a customised pickaxe was used as a symbolic element to announce their commitment to a new era in the citrus market in Asia. Later, attendees were treated to a guided tour around garciaBallester’s facilities. 

The highlight of the event was the cutting of the opening ribbon, where Harvest Season and garciaBallester celebrated their new chapter together. They were able to share new ideas and also to answer questions from the invited press. The event demonstrated successfully how to start this new stage for Harvest Season and garciaBallester.

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Exotic fruits flood into Vietnam

Exotic fruits flood into Vietnam, Credit: Marco Verch (Flickr)
Credit: Marco Verch (Flickr)



Vietnam imports US$150 million of fresh fruits and vegetables every month, with shipments soaring from the US and Australia. This influx has led to exotic fruits becoming less pricy and fuelling further demand. The General Department of Vietnam Customs reports that the main sources were the US and Australia with imports rising over the past ten months by almost 70%. Shipments of fruits from South Africa rocketed by 39%, while those from New Zealand were up 38%, those from China climbed 36% and those from Chile increased 21%.

The volume of fresh blueberries imported from the US by air has reached 350 tons this year. In the face of the larger supplies, prices have tumbled, with the average price per kilo of blueberries falling 40% since last year and Australian Navel orange prices plummeting 35%

The prices of other exotic fruits have seen similar patterns, such as New Zealand’s kiwis and apples, US grapes, Australian mandarins and South African pears.

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South Korea’s consumers prefer fresh fruit

Korea’s fruit imports have increased steadily after implementing many free trade agreements (FTAs) since 2003.

In 2014, Korea’s fruit consumption per capita, including imported fresh oranges, increased to 66.5 kg due to consumer preferences for more fresh fruit in the diet. However, over the last 10 years the consumption has still been below the international recommended quantities. A sharp decline is noted in consumption of the locally produced ‘Singo’ pears, which were also exported to the U.S. in the past.

Korea’s fruit imports have increased steadily after implementing many free trade agreements (FTAs) since 2003. Its nine major fruit imports, including oranges and table grapes, increased by 4% (24,000 tons) to 615,680 tons during the first 10 months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

In 2016, Korea is still imposing a 10% seasonal tariff on U.S. fresh oranges from March to August under the KORUS FTA; the tariff will be eliminated in 2018. In the marketing year 2015/16, fresh orange imports are expected to increase by 7.5 percent to 120,000 tons, a 9,000 ton increase on the previous crop year, mainly due to the end of the west coast port strike in the U.S. and improved quality for this year’s fruit. The U.S. is the major orange supplier to the Korean market with a 93% market share in the sales year 2014/15, followed by South Africa and Spain with 4% and 2% respectively.

This article appeared on page 18 in the News section of edition 141, Jan/Feb 2016, of Eurofresh Distribution magazine. Read that issue online here.

South Korea flag image: by various [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons