Top-level discussions suggest decision to grant access under a Systems Approach is imminent

Chilean grapes C

The Chilean table grape industry said it has made “definite progress” in its bid to secure access to the US market under a Systems Approach following a video call between agriculture minister Esteban Valenzuela and his US counterpart, Tom Vilsack, last week.

Chile has been negotiating with the US government for more than 20 years to replace fumigation with methyl bromide with a series of mitigation measures at origin. This would make it more competitive against other supply countries whose grapes that do not require fumigation.

José Guajardo, national director of the Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG), commented: “We have been working for a long time, since 2000 and these are the final steps and we are giving clear signals that we are going to achieve it now”.

In return, Chile will authorise imports of US-grown blueberries during its counter season.

Iván Marambio, president of Frutas de Chile, said the move would improve the condition and quality of Chile’s grape shipments to the US.

“Today, 61 per cent of our fresh grape exports go to the US, and of that amount, more than 35 per cent are grown in regions that will benefit from the Systems Approach – regions that additionally have been dealing with the effects of serious drought”.