Closer trade ties bring more Latin American fresh produce to Chinese consumers

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, December 14, 2023
Adjust font size:

A woman takes a photo of Colombian hydrangeas in a flower shop at the Lingnan Flower Market in Guangzhou, capital of south China's Guangdong Province, Jan. 17, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

In April this year, the first batch of yellow pitaya from Ecuador, weighing 420 kilograms in total, officially entered the Chinese market. The exotic fruit quickly gained popularity on Chinese social media, highlighting the growing trade relations between China and Latin American countries.

As cooperation between China and Latin America under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) continues to gain momentum, an increasing variety of Latin American farm produce is finding its way into the Chinese market, benefiting people in both China and Latin America.

Trade facilitation

Among the various types of Ecuadorian farm produce, Chinese consumers are well-acquainted with bananas.

Three years ago, Chinese fresh food company Goodfarmer Group started importing bananas from Ecuador. Today, Ecuadorian bananas account for 65 percent of the company's total banana imports, according to Xu Ke, market director for China of Goodfarmer.

China and Ecuador signed a cooperation document on jointly building the Belt and Road in 2018.

In May this year, the two countries inked a free trade agreement (FTA) to further boost bilateral trade and business ties.

Once the FTA goes into effect, as much as 90 percent of the goods traded between China and Ecuador will be exempted from tariffs, while 60 percent of them will enjoy zero tariffs immediately, according to the deal.

Tariffs on imports of products like bananas, white shrimp, fish, fish oil, flowers, cocoa and coffee from Ecuador will be reduced to zero from the current rates of between 5 percent and 20 percent.

"In the future, consumers will be able to purchase Ecuadorian fresh produce at more favorable prices," said Xu, noting that Goodfarmer sees the potential for expanding markets and hopes to introduce more farm produce from Latin America.

Data from the Ministry of Commerce shows that China stands as a major trading partner of BRI participating countries, with goods trade volume between China and its BRI partners reaching nearly 2.9 trillion U.S. dollars in 2022.

Trade volume between China and Latin America approached 500 billion U.S. dollars last year, maintaining rapid growth for six consecutive years.

Delivery upgrade

Fresh fruits such as Chilean cherries are increasingly favored by Chinese consumers, and the market demand has continued to rise.

Upon harvest, the earliest batch of Chilean cherries is picked and transported to China by air freight routes, with the whole process taking no more than 72 hours.

For bulk orders, fast shipping routes are used, covering the journey of 20,000 kilometers in approximately 22 days, which is around 10 days faster than it was a decade ago.

As Chinese consumers' demand for imported fruits increases, the cross-border logistics system has constantly improved with increased transportation stability, more convenient customs clearance and lower costs, said Jiang Jianli, logistics director of Goodfarmer.

Compared to 10 years ago, China now has a wider range of fruit categories approved for import, said Jiang, adding that the cold chain logistics industry has experienced rapid development.

E-commerce boom

Fresh produce traders from Latin America are eyeing new opportunities that China's thriving internet economy is ready to offer, ranging from "national pavilions" on China's e-commerce platforms to livestreamed shopping events.

Chinese flower shop City Flowers conducts livestreaming for about six hours every day to sell flowers from various countries, including Ecuadorian roses and Colombian hydrangeas. In a matter of clicks, consumers can place an order and the flowers are delivered from across the Pacific in just a few days.

According to Tang Quanzhong, general manager of City Flowers, his company receives two batches of flowers from Latin America every week and they are selling well.

"Our company has carried out cooperation with many BRI participating countries. With the global supply and logistics chains and e-commerce platforms, Chinese consumers can enjoy the beauty of a rich variety of flowers at home," Tang said.

For Garces Fruit, Chile's main cherry producer and exporter that has maintained its presence in the Chinese market for more than a decade, e-commerce platforms have become an important area for development.

Through multiple efforts such as operating online stores, collaborating with leading Chinese fresh produce companies and increasing online visibility, the Chilean brand has brought itself closer to Chinese consumers.

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from