BEIJING: China produced more than 260 million tons of fruit and more than 700 million tons of vegetables in 2014. Despite these impressive figures and the fact that China is a significant fruit and vegetable producer, it has yet to realize its potential as a fruit and vegetable trading power. According to a report from the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China entitled “China’s Agricultural Products Import and Export Statistics Data 2014,” China’s vegetable exports rose by 4.5% in 2014 to a total value of $8.229 billion. Similarly, Chinese fruit and nut exports in 2014 grew to $4.318 billion, an increase of 3.5% from 2013.
Totaling 865,000 tons in 2014, China’s apple exports fell by 13% as compared with 2013, with the total export value also declining by 0.2% to $1.028 billion; however, the average unit price rose 14.7% in 2014, reaching $1,187.90 per ton. 90% of China’s total apple exports were concentrated in markets in Asian countries, most notably Indonesian and Burmese markets, with the next largest market being Russia. Russia’s embargo of agricultural products from the European Union created certain opportunities for Chinese fruit and vegetable exports to Russia, but due to unsolved logistical problems, only a rather limited quantity of fruit and vegetable exports were able to reach Russia’s main consumer hubs in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
China apple exports are mainly concentrated in the low-end market. High-end markets such as Europe and the United States account for only roughly 15% of total apple exports. In addition to European countries and the United States, Canada, Australia, South Africa, Argentina, and Chile currently allow Chinese apple imports. In order to further an opening up of the Chinese apple high-end international market for 2015, the AQSIQ and the USDA have signed the “Chinese Apple Imports Plant Quarantine Work Plan,” which opened the door for Chinese apples to achieve widespread market access in the United States. Consequently, apples from Shanxi, Shandong, Liaoning, and other apple-producing locations in China were able to obtain “visas” to enter the United States and become available to American consumers.
From January to December of 2014, China exported 980,000 metric tons of citrus fruit, which was a decline of 5.9% from a year earlier. However, the total value of exports rose by 1.2% to $1.17 billion and the average unit price increased by 7.6% to $1,194.20 per ton as compared to 2013 figures. In 2014, traditional Asian markets for Chinese citrus exports accounted for 76% of total international citrus exports from China, followed by Europe at 21.74% and North America with 2.24%.