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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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The European Packaging Forum: Congress & Get-together on May 14, 2020

The European Packaging Forum: Congress & Get-together on May 14, 2020

The European Packaging Forum is a precisely tailored congress event for the fruit and vegetable industry, focusing on marketing, sustainability, traceability, consumer and trade acceptance, innovative solutions, logistics, protection and functionality, hygiene and law. These are the topics that the experts from all stages of the value chain will be discussing on 14 May 2020 in Düsseldorf at Hotel Nikko Düsseldorf. This will be followed by the DFHV Annual Conference on 15 May 2020. 

The organisers – Agrarmarkt Informations-Gesellschaft (AMI) and Fruchthandel Magazin – will be addressing a central topic in the sector, which is not only being strongly discussed in the entire value chain, but also in society. A press release stated: “Since the recent pictures of dead whales and polluted seas make this topic difficult to be ignored. We want to tackle the challenges and take a close look at them in order to discuss and sketch out alternatives and solutions with the competent experts in the end and thus give the industry new impetus. We want to bring together the most important market partners in the European sector in order to objectify the discussion and jointly develop new ideas and strategies for contemporary solutions and offers for the entire value chain.”

Simultaneous translation is provided of the plenary sessions in German and English.

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EU agrifood exports break records

EU agrifood exports break records

 

Despite impressive volumes of EU agrifood exports in the first half of 2019, the growth increased even further in September 2019 to a record +18% compared to the same month in 2018, reaching  €13.06 billion. Agrifood imports also increased to €9.32 billion – 6% above the level of September 2018. As a result, the monthly agrifood trade surplus increased to €3.7 billion – the biggest monthly EU agrifood trade surplus ever recorded. The highest increases in monthly export values (September 2019 compared to September 2018) were recorded for China (+€509 million, +55.4%), the US (+€305 million, +15.6%) and Japan (+€162 million, +30.6%), while exports decreased most to Hong Kong (-€37 million, -12.1%), Algeria (-€19 million, -9.6%) and Egypt (-€14 million, -9.9%).

The product with the greatest increase in import value was recorded for tropical fruit (+€128 million, +13%).The value of September 2019 EU agri-food imports compared to September 2018 increased most from Ukraine (+€108 million, +27%), South Africa (+€72 million, +25%) and Chile (+€48 million, +29%). The value of imports went down most from the US (-€106 million, -12%), the Russian Federation (-€17 million, 13%) and Ghana (-€15 million, – 11%). 

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US-China trade war rumbles on with increased additional tariffs on US goods

 

The US-China trade war shows no signs of letting up any time soon. Over 1,000 US agricultural and related products have become subjected to higher tariffs since April 2018. The tit-for-tat measures continued when, on August 23rd, 2019, the China’s Ministry of Finance, State Council Tariff Commission announced new tariffs on certain US goods, worth US$75 billion USD. The announcement includes two lists: List 1 to be implemented on September 1, 2019 and List 2 to be implemented on December 15, 2019. Additional tariffs of 10% or 5% are applied to the harmonised schedule tariff lines on each list. Many of these items were already subject to earlier tariff increases by China. The increased tariffs will be calculated in aggregate with earlier additional tariffs.  

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Mixed messages from EU countries regarding treaty with Mercosur

Mixed messages from EU countries regarding treaty with Mercosur

Several European countries are pushing for a trade agreement between the EU and Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay). Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Portugal, Latvia and Sweden have all formally requested that the Commission arrives at an agreement, according to AFP. Nevertheless, some countries (France, Poland, Belgium and Ireland) are concerned about the treaty and the effect it might have on European farming. Aurore Lalucq speaking on behalf of the French Delegation of the S & D Group in the European Parliament, said, “The French MEPs of the Socialists and Democrats group are asking once again for a halt to negotiations.” This might spell trouble for the S & D group of the European Parliament as it is chaired by the Spanish Socialist Iratxe García Pérez who is said to be in favour of the treaty.

 

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Tomato exports to beyond EU plummet

EU exports of tomatoes dropped substantially between 2015 and 2017. According to Eurostat data, the largest non-EU importer, Belarus, saw its receipts of EU tomatoes plummet from 105,000 tons in 2015 to 51,000 tons in 2017. Exports from the EU to Switzerland also fell slightly, from 29,000 tons to 26,500 tons. The next largest markets for EU markets, Norway and Russia also saw similar drops in volumes received. The UAE bucked this trend by increasing its receipts from 4,000 tons in 2015 to 6,000 tons in 2017.

Source: Eurostat

Morocco continues to establish itself as the number-one supplier of third-party tomatoes to the EU. Exports to the EU increased from 380,000 tons in 2015 to over 400,000 tons in 2017. Turkey, Morocco’s nearest rival, also saw growth in shipments to the EU over this period (from 35,000 tons to 100,000 tons). However, this growth may be in some part attributable to the Russian temporary ban on Turkish produce (now lifted). The next largest tomato suppliers to the EU are Albania, Tunisia and Senegal.

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Frozen processed potato trade almost doubles in 10 years

Frozen processed potato trade almost doubles in 10 years

According to Rabobank’s World Potato Map 2019, north-western European potato producers benefited most from the growth in global trade over the past decade. The trade in fresh, seed, and frozen processed potatoes accounted for around 7% of total potato production in 2017, with the rest consumed locally. Despite the small proportion, the international potato trade is starting to grow.

Frozen processed potato trade has increased from around 4 million tons to over 7 million tons in the past ten years, due to rising consumption in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. Dutch exports dominate the trade in seed potatoes, with a market share of over 50% of global trade. The four main exporters of frozen processed potato are the Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, and the US, representing 80% of volumes. Belgium, in particular, has seen its share of global exports rise from 18% in 2007 to 29% in 2017.

As for fresh potatoes, between 2007 and 2017, exports rose by around 2.5% annually. Most of this trade is concentrated in Europe, particularly in imports by the Netherlands and Belgium to feed an expanding processing industry. Elsewhere, China, Pakistan, India, and Egypt are also starting to become major players in the fresh potato market. Between 2007 and 2017, Egypt saw its fresh potato exports almost double to 652,000 tons, while quadrupling its frozen processed potato exports.

Source: Rabobank

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Fruit and vegetable sector remains vital for future of EU’s agriculture

Fruit and vegetable sector remains vital for future of EU’s agriculture

Fruit and vegetables accounted for approximately 14 % of the total value of the EU’s agricultural production in 2018. This sector is fundamental for many EU Member States, especially those of the Mediterranean region and some northern and eastern European countries. Moreover, all EU Member States produce at least a few types of fruit and vegetables.

Apples and tomatoes are the main products of the EU’s highly diversified fruit and vegetable farms. These farms are mostly small-sized with relatively high labour input. They earn incomes ranging from average (for fruit specialists) to very high (for horticulture specialists, including also flower and ornamental plant production). In the EU’s fruit and vegetables trade, internal flows exceed external flows. Nevertheless, the EU tends to be a net importer of F&V.

The EU has a comprehensive support system, consisting of a regulatory framework for the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products. It has also developed promotional and quality policies and applies income support and rural development measures. Recent EU legislation imply significant  adjustments for the fruit and vegetable sector, whose future will be shaped by its capacity to overcome structural vulnerabilities and weak organisation, while innovating and responding to changing consumer needs.

 

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Brazil closes border to Argentinian apples and pears

Argentina’s apple and pear exports rise despite smaller crop

Brazil has stopped imports of apple and pears crossing into the country from Argentina’s provinces of Río Negro and Neuquén due to pest detections in shipments of fruit. Codling moth larvae was reported to be found in several loads of apples and pears. Meanwhile, Argentina’s phytosanitary agency Senasa is negotiating with Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture to enable shipments to resume as soon as possible. Senasa is also working with the affected growers and exporters and taking steps such as closing production sites and packhouses. These incidents echo a similar occurrence in 2015, when Brazil suspended market access for Argentine fresh apples and pears for several weeks following codling moth detection.

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Spanish grapes to enter China

Spanish grapes to enter China

Spanish grapes have gained access to the lucrative Chinese market. The agreement was signed in December and follows two years of work to obtain the necessary protocol. Spain is the EU’s leading producer of seedless table grapes, which are particularly popular in China. Spain is also working on finalising bilateral protocols with China for strawberry and cherries. The agreements come as demand for fruit in China is increasing.

In 2014, Spain began exporting citrus to China and, with US$34.6 million shipped in the first nine months of 2018, it is now the fifth largest exporter to China, behind South Africa, Australia, the US and Egypt.