Hass Avocado Access in China ‘A Long Time Coming’

Brian German Fruits & Vegetables, Industry

Hass avocados will soon be entering the Chinese market after a recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the United States Trade Representative. California Hass avocados can now be exported to China as one of the provisions of the U.S.-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement.

Hass avocados

“It’s been a long time coming; a very windy road,” said Ken Melban, Vice President of Industry Affairs of the California Avocado Commission. “Now the real work begins to try and go in and try to develop that market and what kind of benefits we’ll receive from that market.”

While it is a victory for Hass avocado growers, there are still some challenges that will need to be addressed to maximize the benefits of the recent announcement.  Melban explained that as the Chinese market opens, avocados are still subject to significant tariffs of approximately 60 percent. “We are very hopeful that this administration and the Chinese government will continue to work on negotiating reductions in tariffs sooner rather than later,” said Melban.

The process to gain access for Hass avocados from California into the Chinese market initially began back in 2005. The size of the country and the number of consumers in China with disposable income present significant opportunities for avocado producers. The next step will be making headway in the marketplace, with California growers competing against avocados sourced from other areas. “Current countries that can import there are Mexico, Peru, and Chile, so it is very similar to what we see here in the U.S.,” Melban noted.

The avocado industry has been successful in expanding its market share in other countries in recent years.  Melban explained that funding support from the Market Access Program has helped tremendously over the past three years in markets such as Japan and South Korea. “If we’re successful again for 2021 we will reconsider and see if we want to use some of that funding in China for market promotion,” said Melban.

Listen to the interview below.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West