Chilean walnut producers are celebrating after an agreement was signed on Thursday setting out the conditions for the establishment of a phytosanitary protocol for imports of walnuts in their shells into China.
Thanks to its Free Trade Agreement with China, Chile’s walnut exports are not subject to any import tariff, whereas its main competitor, the US, has to pay a 25 per cent duty on walnut exports to China.
The protocol was signed in Beijing by agriculture minister Carlos Furche and Zhi Shuping of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). Juan Luis Vial, president of walnut association Chilenut, was also present.
“The agreement marks a new era for Chilean nut exports and will help ease the pressure on the market which has been building as production increases,” Vial said.
He added that “China imports between 70,000 and 150,000 tonnes of shelled walnuts every year, more than Chile’s entire export crop, which in 2015 reached 32,300 tonnes”.