Argentina and China have negotiated phytosantitary protocols to allow Argentinean table grapes access into mainland China.
Negotiations have been underway since 2012, with Chinese authorities visiting Argentina in February 2015, before the trade agreement was reached in Beijing on 11-12 July.
The first shipments of table grapes from Argentine to China are expected to commence in January 2017, with the South American nation hoping to capture a slice of China’s growing demand for table grapes.
The major challenge for Argentina will be ensuring it packs the right colour fruit for the market, and that it arrives in the correct condition, said Hugh Meldrum, managing director of Singapore-based Global Fruits.
"As far as Argentine grapes are concerned, I am not sure how much volume of Red Globes will be available to load to China, now that Argentina and China have agreed a protocol, and what the conditions of the protocol actually are. Volumes of grapes exported from Argentina have reduced in recent years and their place in some Asian markets has been taken by Peru, South Africa and early fruit from Chile," Meldrum said.
In 2015, China imported 216,000 tonnes of table grapes worth US$586m from Chile, accounting for 42 per cent of imports by volumes, followed by Peru (34 per cent), the US (10 per cent) and Australia (7 per cent).
Argentina's major export markets for table grapes during the last season were Russia, accounting for 32 per cent of the 13,012 tonnes, followed by Brazil (27 per cent), the Netherlands (17 per cent) and Bolivia (5 per cent).