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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.

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EU agri-food trade sets new record in 2017

EU agri food

The EU confirmed its position as the world’s largest importer and exporter of agro-food goods in 2017 by reaching new heights. Exports of €138 billion combined with imports worth €117 billion, to set a new record of €255 billion. Experts believe the competitiveness of the region’s producers is down to their reputation as being safe, sustainably produced, nutritious and of high quality. Trade agreements have recently been put into place with Canada, Japan and Mexico. 

The world’s five largest agri-food exporters (the EU, the US, Brazil, China, Canada) all posted higher export values in 2017, with an average increase of 4.3%. Meanwhile, agri-food imports of the world’s top five importers (the EU, the US, China, Japan, Canada) recorded an average rise of 5.3%.

EU exports were up to all of its main partners. Even exports to Russia increased for the first time since 2013 thanks to products not subject to the embargo. In terms of its imports, the EU’s sources have diversified over recent years. The most imported products in terms of value were tropical fruits, with a further rise recorded in 2017.

Despite the positive results, the future of the sector’s trade is far from certain due to the prospect of trade barriers going up and the UK’s exit from the EU. Nevertheless, with global population continuing to increase and changing consumer trends, the EU’s operators are well positioned to benefit.

 

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US remain EU’s largest trading partner for agricultural products

US remain

Trade in agricultural produce between the EU and the rest of the world hit €275 billion in 2017, according to Eurostat. Agricultural products are generally divided into three categories: vegetables (trees, plants, vegetables, fruit, coffee, cereals, seeds and oil), foodstuffs (various types of processed goods deriving from vegetable and animal products such as sugar, beverages, tobacco and prepared animal fodder) and animal products (live animals, meat, fish, crustaceans, dairy produce, eggs, honey).

Vegetables accounted for 22% of exports and 48% of EU imports of agricultural products. The largest market for EU agricultural exports in 2017 was the US, accounting for 16% of the total, followed by China (8%) and Switzerland (6%). The largest agricultural suppliers to the EU were Brazil and the US (8% each), followed by Norway and China (5% each).

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Colombian fruit exporters turn their eyes to China and South Korea

Colombia’s fruit producers have set their sights on the markets of South Korea and China. Agriculture minister Juan Guillermo Zuluaga indicated his government’s intention to forge closer trade ties with these countries, where demand for high-quality tropical products is growing. With a Free Trade Agreement signed in 2016 with South Korea, Colombian delegations have been working hard to seal protocols that will allow the entry of several of its products. Indeed, Colombian exports to South Korea rose 44% between 2010 and 2017, to US$104m. As for China, Colombian exports of agricultural products reached US$177m between 2010 and 2017, a dramatic rise from the US$19m total for the 2022-2009 period.

The Fruitnet Forum Colombia is a new two-day event taking place in Bogotá on 26th-27th June. The conference will feature presentations by major importers from both China and South Korea.