Asian markets increasingly open to exports of pears, apples and kiwifruit from Italy
Italy’s pear, kiwi and apple exporters have received a major boost to China, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand following a series of recent controls.
Asian markets are increasingly open to exports of pears, apples and kiwifruit from Italy, according to representatives of trade and market access specialist CSO Italy.
The agency recently organized four inspection visits to the region, each aimed at facilitating the export of certain Italian fruits to these countries.
These inspections were carried out in China for pears, South Korea for kiwifruit, Taiwan for apples and Thailand for pears.
After six years of waiting and a concerted effort by the Emilia-Romagna Region, CSO Italy and several Italian exporters, a protocol was signed on June 26 allowing the country to export pears to China.
The agreement represents a major advance for the Italian pear sector, which has been drastically reduced in size in recent years as a result of disease outbreaks, drought and, more recently, floods.
Negotiations began in 2017, but were slowed by the Covid-19 pandemic and resumed only at the end of 2021.
After overcoming a number of technical hurdles, the first series of so-called hybrid inspections (real and virtual) took place in September 2022.
In these Chinese officials visited companies in Emilia-Romagna, where 70% of Italy’s national pear production is located.
Now, after a second hybrid inspection by Chinese officials in September to check that certain conditions have been properly implemented, it is expected that Italian exporters will be given the green light to send their pears to China in time for the start of the 2024/25 season. .
“A special thank you must go to the Italian Embassy in Beijing for everything they have done over the years. Together with [το ιταλικό υπουργείο γεωργίας] Masaf, they supported us every step of the way,” says Simona Rubbi, head of international relations at CSO Italy.
“During both visits, the two representatives of the Chinese embassy in Rome made it easy for all the remote Chinese technicians to understand everything.”
Chiara Bignami, who supported Rubbi’s work to promote stronger trade relations with China, agrees that the teamwork shown by Italy’s regional and national officials was “fundamental” to this latest breakthrough.
“And it is also due to the great support from the companies themselves, who have also shown great professionalism, despite the dramatic situation that the pear business is in.”
The negotiated protocol provides for several shipping options, including the possibility of using traditional refrigerated carriers, which have apparently already been used to halve the travel time of Italian kiwifruit shipments to China.
“Now we will work on the apples,” adds Rubbi, “and hopefully the times will be shorter.”
New doors are opening
A separate visit by Thai inspectors, aimed at opening the Thai market to Italian pears, took place in mid-September as part of a wider series of checks coordinated by the European Commission on behalf of Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Portugal.
With those officials acting satisfied with what they saw in Emilia-Romagna, a final protocol allowing exports to begin should be published in early 2024.
And for Italy’s Kiwi businesses, a new opportunity has arisen in South Korea. In October, he sent inspectors to check orchards and packing houses in Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont and Veneto. And just a few days later, the official permission came for the expeditions to begin immediately.
And Taiwan is also expected to open its doors to Italian apples very soon, following an official inspection of production and packing centers in Piedmont, Lombardy and Veneto in mid-October.