Effective immediately, China’s Customs has been instructed to detain and inspect all US fruit shipments for seven days upon arrival into China for pesticide residue testing. A shipment of Washington apples in Shenzhen port was rejected on Saturday [28 April 2018] and sent back to the US…Full Article: Fresh Plaza Apr 2018

Key Point

  • From November 2017 to April 2018, China Customs only randomly sampled ~30% of U.S. fresh fruit imports for inspection. As of late April 2018, all (100%) fresh fruit imports would be inspected. These inspections could take anywhere from two days to two weeks, and could cause spoilage if fresh fruit imports are left idle at ports for prolonged periods. The U.S. now joins Peru and Australia, which also have a 100% inspection rate for fresh fruits.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In January 2018, it was reported that Tasmanian Cherries by Reid Fruits began adding QR (Quick Response) Codes and special identification stickers to China-bound cartons in order to counter the counterfeit trade of their products
  • In 2017, according to China Customs, China imported 102,000 MTs (valued at ~USD 770 million) of cherries. The top suppliers were Chile, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Turkey. During the same year, according to the Northwest Horticultural Council Washington and Oregon exported approximately 2.97 million 20-lb [~27,000 MTs] boxes of cherries, valued at ~USD 127 million, to China. Washington State has approximately 1,400 cherry growers, with China Eastern Airlines (via Seattle to Shanghai) shipping some of the exports.
  • In May 2017, Zhengzhou International Airport imported 88 MTs of cherries from the USA. The shipment represented the first air freight imports of fresh fruit for 2017.  At the same, it was forecasted that Zhengzhou will import (via air freight) approximately 10,000 MTs of fresh fruit in 2017, making it one of the top Chinese distribution hubs for fresh fruit.
  • From November 2016 to March 2017, Shenzhen imported 61,000 MTs (~80% of all imports) of Chilean cherries (China imported 75,600 MTs in total). Nearby Guangzhou is a major distribution center and sells approximately 90% of China’s imported cherries.
  • From November 6th to the end of December 2016, 90 air freight flights reportedly transported approximately 10,000 MTs of fruit from Chile to Zhengzhou, Henan Province. In 2016, Chile was expected to export 100,000 MTs of cherries to China. In general, Chile accounts for roughly 98% of China’s blueberry imports and 77% of its cherry imports.
  • In January 2015, Washington State comprised the bulk (~90%) of the USA’s China-bound cherry exports. The growing season for US cherry producers occurs from June to August (e.g. summer), with delivery to China occurring within 2-3 days thanks in part to FedEx, UPS, Korean Air, Asiana Airlines and China Airlines (Taiwan). Michigan, a competitor of northwestern US growers, produces sour cherries. Domestic production in China primarily takes place in Liaoning Province, but this province (at this time) was unable to compete with US exports due to poor logistics (i.e. packing and shipping).
  • In December 2014, Australian cherry producer, BiteRiot (based in New South Wales), announced that counterfeit boxes of their cherries were being sold in China. The company was alerted by a customer and had yet to trace the origin of the counterfeit cherries.
  • From 2009 to 2011, Hong Kong imports of fresh cherries increased from 18,300 MTs to 31,800 MTs. The top cherry suppliers to Hong Kong were Chile, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Argentina. Over the same time period, mainland China imports of fresh cherries increased from 6,184 MTs to 23,773. Chile, the United States, and New Zealand were the top suppliers. Overall (i.e. China, Hong Kong, and Macau), in 2011, Chile had a 68% share of the import market by volume, while the U.S. and Canada had a 26% and 2.8% import market share, respectively. All other suppliers had an import market share of less than one percent in 2011.

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