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Machinery hiccup hits Colombian pitahaya exports to Korea, Japan

Despite a free trade agreement (FTA) coming into effect between Colombia and South Korea, a machinery deconfiguration has put dragon fruit exports to the country and Japan on hold along with U.S. negotiations. Grower group Asoppitaya is seeking investments to rehabilitate its vapor heat treatment (VHT) equipment to get back on track with these prospective markets. 

pitahaya zoom

When www.freshfruitportal.com visited Asoppitaya’s packing plant in Pereira in August last year, the group’s general manager Sandra Garcia was excited for an upcoming inaugural shipment to South Korea.

But it did not come to pass.

“Last year we managed to have everything ready to export to Korea, but unfortunately we had an electrical failure and the machine was deconfigured,” she says.

The VHT machinery is supposed to keep the fruit, also known as pitahaya, at 46°C (115°F) for approximately three hours to meet the East Asian country’s specifications.

The treatment is also required for exports to Japan, and forms a vital part of negotiations for U.S. access.

“We didn’t manage to configure it because it has to be done by a Japanese technician, so our attempt failed.

“It cost us a lot of money but we’re still going to try again and we’re looking for foreign investment to bring a Japanese technician.

“It’s a large investment that has to be made in repairs, we’re talking about US$ 50,000 and as small growers for us that’s a lot of money.”

Garcia says discussions are underway with a South Korean company to provide the capital necessary to get the machine back on track, but she is open to further support.

She hopes the funding can be secured for repairs by the end of this year, getting the machine operational for the 2017 season.

In the 2015-16 deal, Asoppitaya exported 28 metric tons (MT) of pitahayas worldwide, to markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, Canada.

When asked about the FTA with South Korea, Garcia says tariffs will be gradually reduced to zero over the next five years, and she will also try to use the agreement to improve some aspects of the export protocol.

“Specifically for pitahaya, the phytosanitary rules are not negotiated as it’s a sovereign right of every country. But what can be negotiated in line with the FTA would be the reduction of some costs to be able to comply with the rules,” she says.

“In this case it’d be about organizing the feesof the inspector which are very high, between transport, food, overseas calls. It cost us almost 30 million pesos (US$ 10,230).

“An important message is that as small growers and business, we want to know the opportunities of every agreement very well. A lot of the time growers don’t make the most of these agreements because they’re not known in the productive sector.”

What else could benefit from the Colombia-South Korea FTA?

In a search of Korea International Trade Organization (KITO) statistics, bananas appeared as the main fruit crop Colombia has shipped to the country in the past.

However, the last registered exports were in 2013 when 164MT were shipped, down from 360MT in 2011 and a much higher figure of 908MT almost two decades prior in 1993.

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AU: FTA with Korea to be game-changing for cherry exporters

AU: FTA with Korea to be game-changing for cherry exporters

The cherry season is about to start in Australia, and according to Simon Boughey, CEO of Cherry Growers Australia, “production volumes are expected to be similar to 2012, of 14.5 to 15 thousand tonnes, depending on seasonal fluctuations until late February. All states report a good flowering, so the situation is quite encouraging at the moment.”

Regarding the market situation, Simon says that it is still early to be certain, “but we’ve had lots of enquiries from the Asian region, with plenty of interest from China and Hong Kong. We are also back into the Thai market, but the real game-changer is the FTA signed between Korea and Australia, which will eliminate the 23% import fee and may come into force in early 2015.”

There is also rising demand from other countries in the area, such as Malaysia and the Philippines. “Overall, there is growing demand in Asia, which is easy for us to cover, because we can ship to any Asian destination within 8 to 10 hours, which is a very competitive advantage,” states Simon.

The domestic market is also quite strong. According to Simon, “in the last couple of years 30% of the production has gone to exports and 70% to the domestic market, but we aim towards 50/50. Hong Kong already takes about 50% of our exports and we continue to expand on our four key markets,” concludes Simon Boughley.

For more information:
Simon Boughey
Cherry Growers Australia
Tel: 0061 3 6231 1229
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 10/24/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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Florida citrus industry juices South Korea

Florida citrus industry juices South Korea

South Korea continues to be a sunny spot for Florida’s flagging orange-juice industry. South Korea went from a minor buyer to a top purchaser of U.S. juice after signing a trade deal in 2012 that eliminated import tariffs on many items, including a 54% tax on U.S. orange juice.

South Korea imported 16.5 million gallons of orange juice in 2013, compared with just three million gallons in 2011. The country is now second to Canada as the top customer for U.S. juice, up from eighth place three years ago.

To help promote U.S.-made juice in South Korea, in the hopes of further boosting consumption, the Florida Citrus Commission awarded an 11-month, $ 300,000 contract to Seoul-based Sohn’s Market Makers on Wednesday morning, the Florida Department of Citrus said in a release.

Sohn’s Market Makers, a trade representative and marketing agency, also works with the U.S. Potato Board, the California Walnut Commission and the Egg Export Council.

“We hope to quickly expand the reach of Florida Citrus in a country that has demonstrated a growing desire for our premium products,” Michael Schadler, director of international marketing at the Florida Department of Citrus, said in the release.

U.S. consumption of orange juice, once a staple of the American breakfast table, has been sliding for decades as buyers opt for more exotic speciality juices, sports drinks and flavoured waters. At the same time, top orange-growing state Florida’s groves have been ravaged by citrus greening, a bacterial disease that stunts fruit growth and causes oranges to drop prematurely from trees.

“Anywhere in the globe we can get more folks drinking orange juice, we’re excited about that,” said Mark Wheeler, a citrus grower in Lake Placid, Fla., with about 2,500 acres of fruit trees.

The most-actively traded orange-juice contract is up 9.1% this year, settling Wednesday at $ 1.5180 a pound, a three-week high.

Source: wsj.com

Publication date: 7/17/2014


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S. Korea: Record pear exports

S. Korea: Record pear exports

For their unique taste and texture, Korean pears are gaining popularity in a wide range of markets from Asia to the Americas and their exports have increased along with apples and strawberries.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, total exports of Korean pears reached a record high of $ 54.9 million, up 16 percent from 2011.

That number will soon grow, after the Mexican government decided this week to import the pears after nine years of negotiations to enter the market. The country is only the third in Central or South America to import Korean pears, following Chile and Peru, which began importing the fruit in 1999 and 2013, respectively. But the amount imported in those two countries has been too small to record.

Along with pears, Korean apples and strawberries are also rapidly expanding into overseas markets.

Korea recorded total fruit exports worth $ 233.4 million in 2013, up 51 percent compared to 2008. Last year, apples and pears stayed competitive with prices in overseas markets thanks to expanded production at home of about 61 percent over the previous year.

Taiwan is the largest importer of Korean pears, purchasing about $ 25.8 million worth last year, or 47 percent of Korea’s total pear exports. Korean pears dominated more than 70 percent of Taiwan’s total pear imports.

The United States, the second-largest importer, likes Korean pears for their unique shape, which stands out from American gourd-shaped pears. However, the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement eliminated fruit tariffs in 2012, opening up opportunities for an increase in exports.

Apple exports, down to $ 5.5 million in 2012, rebounded to $ 7 million last year. Taiwan, which mass consumes the fruit, was the No. 1 buyer of Korean apples last year as its local production declined.

But worldwide, Japanese Fuji apples dominate the market largely because people are not aware of the quality of Korean apples. While Japan’s Fuji apples were selling for 3,300 won ($ 3.27) per unit in Taiwan earlier this year, the same strain produced in Korea was selling for 1,100 won. “Because Korean apples can’t beat those from the United States, Chile and New Zealand in price, we should build our own high-quality brand image like Japan did,” said an Agriculture Ministry official. “It is true that the quality of our apples is still behind in consistency and packaging.”

Korean strawberries are selling well in Southeast Asia because they have firmer flesh when compared with Japanese strawberries. Strawberry exports amounted to $ 28.6 million last year, up from $ 19.3 million in 2011. Hong Kong was the largest consumer, purchasing $ 10.7 million worth of the berries, or 37.4 percent of total strawberry exports.

Agriculture Minister Lee Dong-pil last month chose strawberries as one of the next-generation export items in which the government will invest 19 billion won over the next decade to develop a new strain that can stay fresh for longer. The goal is to reach $ 100 million in strawberry exports by 2022.

Usually, strawberries can stay fresh for about a week, which means the berries must be exported by plane. If the fruit can stay fresh for up to 20 days, they can be exported by boat, which will reduce shipping costs and allow for a lower selling price.

Because Korea has signed trade deals to allow for increased exports, the domestic agricultural market will be more exposed to an inflow of foreign-produced fruits.

One example is cherries from the United States, which became hugely popular in Korea after the Korea-U.S. FTA eliminated tariffs in 2012. Korea imported 9,325 tons of American cherries in 2012, almost twice as much as the 4,737 tons brought in the previous year. Last year, Korea bought 17.4 percent of the United States’ total cherry exports.

Experts are worried that the increase in cherry imports may result in reduced consumption of locally grown fruit this summer.

The Nonghyup Economic Research Institute said that the proportion of imported to exported fruit is increasing by up to 3 percent each year in total fruit sales at local large discount chains where most Koreans shop.

A study by the Rural Development Administration estimated that about 28 percent of local consumers purchase less local fruit to buy American cherries instead.

“There should be a set of sales strategies to encourage people to buy locally grown seasonal fruits,” said Jung Jun-ho, a researcher at the Nonghyup institute. “Also, the Korean government should enhance the quality of Korean cherries to attract local cherry lovers to buy locally produced cherries.”

Source: koreajoongangdaily.joins.com

Publication date: 7/4/2014


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S. Korea: Record pear exports

S. Korea: Record pear exports

For their unique taste and texture, Korean pears are gaining popularity in a wide range of markets from Asia to the Americas and their exports have increased along with apples and strawberries.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, total exports of Korean pears reached a record high of $ 54.9 million, up 16 percent from 2011.

That number will soon grow, after the Mexican government decided this week to import the pears after nine years of negotiations to enter the market. The country is only the third in Central or South America to import Korean pears, following Chile and Peru, which began importing the fruit in 1999 and 2013, respectively. But the amount imported in those two countries has been too small to record.

Along with pears, Korean apples and strawberries are also rapidly expanding into overseas markets.

Korea recorded total fruit exports worth $ 233.4 million in 2013, up 51 percent compared to 2008. Last year, apples and pears stayed competitive with prices in overseas markets thanks to expanded production at home of about 61 percent over the previous year.

Taiwan is the largest importer of Korean pears, purchasing about $ 25.8 million worth last year, or 47 percent of Korea’s total pear exports. Korean pears dominated more than 70 percent of Taiwan’s total pear imports.

The United States, the second-largest importer, likes Korean pears for their unique shape, which stands out from American gourd-shaped pears. However, the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement eliminated fruit tariffs in 2012, opening up opportunities for an increase in exports.

Apple exports, down to $ 5.5 million in 2012, rebounded to $ 7 million last year. Taiwan, which mass consumes the fruit, was the No. 1 buyer of Korean apples last year as its local production declined.

But worldwide, Japanese Fuji apples dominate the market largely because people are not aware of the quality of Korean apples. While Japan’s Fuji apples were selling for 3,300 won ($ 3.27) per unit in Taiwan earlier this year, the same strain produced in Korea was selling for 1,100 won. “Because Korean apples can’t beat those from the United States, Chile and New Zealand in price, we should build our own high-quality brand image like Japan did,” said an Agriculture Ministry official. “It is true that the quality of our apples is still behind in consistency and packaging.”

Korean strawberries are selling well in Southeast Asia because they have firmer flesh when compared with Japanese strawberries. Strawberry exports amounted to $ 28.6 million last year, up from $ 19.3 million in 2011. Hong Kong was the largest consumer, purchasing $ 10.7 million worth of the berries, or 37.4 percent of total strawberry exports.

Agriculture Minister Lee Dong-pil last month chose strawberries as one of the next-generation export items in which the government will invest 19 billion won over the next decade to develop a new strain that can stay fresh for longer. The goal is to reach $ 100 million in strawberry exports by 2022.

Usually, strawberries can stay fresh for about a week, which means the berries must be exported by plane. If the fruit can stay fresh for up to 20 days, they can be exported by boat, which will reduce shipping costs and allow for a lower selling price.

Because Korea has signed trade deals to allow for increased exports, the domestic agricultural market will be more exposed to an inflow of foreign-produced fruits.

One example is cherries from the United States, which became hugely popular in Korea after the Korea-U.S. FTA eliminated tariffs in 2012. Korea imported 9,325 tons of American cherries in 2012, almost twice as much as the 4,737 tons brought in the previous year. Last year, Korea bought 17.4 percent of the United States’ total cherry exports.

Experts are worried that the increase in cherry imports may result in reduced consumption of locally grown fruit this summer.

The Nonghyup Economic Research Institute said that the proportion of imported to exported fruit is increasing by up to 3 percent each year in total fruit sales at local large discount chains where most Koreans shop.

A study by the Rural Development Administration estimated that about 28 percent of local consumers purchase less local fruit to buy American cherries instead.

“There should be a set of sales strategies to encourage people to buy locally grown seasonal fruits,” said Jung Jun-ho, a researcher at the Nonghyup institute. “Also, the Korean government should enhance the quality of Korean cherries to attract local cherry lovers to buy locally produced cherries.”

Source: koreajoongangdaily.joins.com

Publication date: 7/4/2014


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South Korea Granted Poultry Inspection Equivalency

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added South Korea to the list of countries eligible to export poultry products to the U.S. after determining that the country’s poultry-inspection system is equivalent to ours.

“Under this final rule, slaughtered poultry or parts or other products thereof processed in certified Korean establishments will be eligible for export to the United States,” reads the Federal Register notice published Wednesday. “All such products will be subject to re-inspection at United States ports of entry by FSIS inspectors.”

In 2005, the government of South Korea requested approval for the importation of Korean poultry products into the U.S. South Korea stated that its immediate intention was to export two types of ginseng chicken stew products. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) then began to evaluate South Korea’s inspection system to determine whether it is equivalent to the U.S. system.

After two audits and two corrective action plans, FSIS proposed equivalency. This final rule will become effective on May 27, 2014.

Under import regulations, the South Korean government must still certify to FSIS that those establishments that wish to export poultry products to the U.S. are operating under requirements equivalent to those of the United States.

Food Safety News

U.S. citrus industry feuds with South Korea over frozen OJ

U.S. citrus industry feuds with South Korea over frozen OJ

Florida citrus growers, alarmed about South Korea squeezing their business, are pushing U.S. officials to settle a tariff dispute they say is costing them millions of dollars in sales. The fight, which began last year, centres on U.S. exports of frozen orange-juice concentrate to South Korea and comes while the industry is struggling with a devastating plant disease called citrus greening.

For years, South Korea had levied a 54 percent tariff on the product, making sales prohibitively expensive and keeping U.S. exports low. But under a trade agreement that took effect two years ago, the tariff disappeared, leading to an explosion in U.S. business. Exports of frozen orange-juice concentrate to South Korea jumped from $ 11 million in 2011 to $ 30 million in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It was a promising expansion for the $ 9 billion Florida citrus industry, which grows the majority of oranges used in U.S. juice, including concentrate. The good times didn’t last long, however. Last spring, about a year after the free-trade agreement took effect, customs officials in South Korea began to scrutinize the concentrate coming into the country and questioned the source of oranges in the frozen-juice mix.

Under the agreement, only concentrate made exclusively from U.S. oranges is allowed to skirt the tariff, and South Korean officials suspected some of the oranges blended into the concentrate were from another country. “Oranges that came in from Brazil and then went to Korea wouldn’t qualify,” said Mike Sparks, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual, a trade group.

Sparks said American citrus companies have provided proof that the concentrate going to South Korea is solely of U.S. origin, but to little avail. What’s worse, he said, is that Seoul has threatened to retroactively seek tariffs on past sales if customs officials find evidence that foreign oranges were used in the concentrate.

The tough tactics have made U.S. exporters reluctant to ship concentrate to South Korea. Overseas sales have fallen by millions of dollars since last spring, said Sparks, though neither he nor government officials provided specific figures.

source: sun-sentinel.com

Publication date: 2/28/2014


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Australian grapes poised to enter Korea and Japan

Australian grapes poised to enter Korea and Japan

The export of Australian grapes started a couple of weeks ago with air freight to Thailand and Hong Kong, the main volumes will come in in the next couple of weeks.

The early varieties are well under way and the main varieties Thompson and Crimson seedless, Crimson will start in 3-4 weeks along with Red Globe shortly after. Jeff Scott, CEO of the Australian Table Grape Association, says the quality is excellent this season, “When the Australian grapes hit the market they commanded a good price. This is also helped by the exchange rate which is giving around 15% more returns than last year.”

He goes on to say that volumes are looking good especially for Thompson’s and Crimson volumes are around average.

Australia is looking forward to entering new markets this year, FTA’s with Korea is almost complete and Japan access should occur soon after. Scott expects exports to Korea to start mid February if all the paper work is completed.

According to Jeff the FTA’s are vital for building market share in these countries, also if they come through then Australia will be able to export to every country in the world.

He expects that within 3-5 years Australia will be sending 10,000 tonnes of grapes into Korea. The consumers in Korea and Japan prefer the very sweet varieties and Australian exporters will be targeting the premium market with their high quality Crimson and Thomson seedless varieties. Jeff adds that these countries are also starting to show a taste for the white grape varieties.

Publication date: 1/10/2014
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


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Australia signs free-trade deal with South Korea

TGF-FruitImageagreement big win for Australia’s exporters and growers:
Australia signs free-trade deal with South KoreaAgriculture could be the big winner of Australia’s free-trade deal with South Korea, announced by the Federal Government today. Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott told the House of Representatives today Trade Minister Andrew Robb had completed negotiations.

As a result tariffs would be eliminated on Australia’s major exports and there “will be significant new market openings in services and investment”, he said.

Mr Abbott said it was good news for exporters, jobs, farmers and the country at large. “Under this agreement tariffs will be eliminated on Australia’s major exports to Korea and there will be significant new market openings in services and investment,” he said.

As part of the agreement, tariffs of up to 300 per cent will be eliminated on key Australian agricultural exports such as beef, wheat, sugar, dairy, wine, horticulture and seafood, as well as resources, energy and manufactured goods.

The government says the deal will make a difference at the farm gate, “from mango exporters to macadamia and potato growers”.

It said agricultural exports to Korea will be 73 per cent higher after 15 years as a result of the deal and overall exports to Korea will be 25 per cent higher resulting in the creation of more than 1700 jobs.

“It’s a great outcome for Australia’s farmers and producers and achieved within the first 100 days of the Coalition Government,” Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said.

“The Korea-Australia FTA will provide important new opportunities for Australian agricultural exporters and give our producers and exporters a more level playing field on which to build our market share.

National Farmers Federation president Brent Finlay said the deal recognised agriculture as one of the nation’s export strengths and will open opportunities for the sector in Korea.

“While the deal doesn’t deliver everything the Australian agricultural sector had advocated for, it is a strong step towards securing Australia’s important trading future with Korea and in improving international market access for
Australian agricultural goods,” Mr Finlay said, speaking from Indonesia where he has been chairing the Cairns Group Farm Leaders trade discussions.

“The NFF is heavily involved in all of Australia’s trade negotiations regarding agriculture, so we understand how complex and challenging it is to secure agreement.

The free trade agreement with Korea is a win for Australia’s 2,000 potato growers, who will now be able to access a developing market without the restrictions of tariffs.

“Potatoes will see an immediate elimination of tariffs into Korea, which means that growers will be able to reap the benefits of the new agreement in the early months of 2014,” said AUSVEG spokesperson, Hugh Gurney.

He said in 2012-13, $ 7.4 million of vegetables, including $ 6.3 million of potatoes, were exported to Korea.

Joining the list of vegetables now eligible for trade with Korea under the FTA are cherries, dried grapes, fruit and vegetable juice, apricots, mangoes, peaches and plums.

Source: weeklytimesnow.com.au

Publication date: 12/5/2013

 

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