Chilean cherry exports to South Korean could get underway by 2015 following a visit by a delegation headed up by Chilean agriculture minister to Seoul last week.
During the meeting between Carlos Furche and his South Korean counterpart Jun-won Lee, it was agreed that a Korean technical team would visit the Andean nation this year to inspect facilities and speed up the export process.
Furche said the news represented a breakthrough, representing a “new stage in the process of opening the market”.
The decision formed part of wider discussions on updating the Free trade agreement between Chile and South Korea which has been in force for ten years.
Ronald Bown, president of exporter association Asoex, who was also at the meeting, said the agreement a major step forward and that he was “optimistic” that the new protocol would be in place in time for the 2015 season.
“If the inspections are carried out before December then the prospect of Chilean cherry exports getting underway next season looks highly promising, as the subsequent stages in the process of establishing the protocol are administrative and can be concluded quickly,” he said.
Bown noted that the exponential growth in Chilean cherry production made it a priority to open up alternative markets. He added that reports that Japan is also considering modifying its treatment protocol, meant two potentially important markets could soon be open to Chilean exporters.