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Mexico sends first shipment of blueberries to China

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-16 10:29

MEXICO CITY - In a sign of growing agricultural cooperation between Mexico and China, Mexico dispatched its first shipment of blueberries to the Asian country on a flight from Guadalajara, capital of the west-central state of Jalisco, the government said on Thursday.

The 630-kilo cargo comprised 420 boxes of the fruit cultivated in rural Jalisco, the Ministry of Agriculture said in a statement.

At a high-profile ceremony held at the air terminal, Jalisco Governor Aristoteles Sandoval, officially launched Mexico's first ever China-bound blueberry shipment.

The ministry's coordinator for international affairs, Raul Urteaga, noted Mexico is the world's second-largest producer of berries, including strawberries, blackberries and blueberries.

The shipment represents Mexican blueberry's entry into China's "growing and very significant market," said Urteaga.

According to Sandoval, Jalisco produced 107,109 tons of berries in 2016, generating about $1 billion in export revenue.

Since 2015, Jalisco-grown raspberries have been shipped to China, helping to boost the sector and generate employment for the state.

Mexican blueberries received the green light from China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) following the signing in November of a bilateral agreement on the required phytosanitary protocols and requirements.

Emblematic Mexican agro-products are increasingly popular in China. According to federal government, Mexican agricultural exports to China rose to $150 million in 2015.

According to the Mexican data, beer sales nearly tripled from 2012 to 2015 and avocado sales grew 12-fold from 2013 to 2015, while tequila exports surpassed half a million liters.

Mexican economist Anibal Zottele has said that Mexican farmers can greatly benefit from the Chinese market as the country's growing middle class is always seeking more high-quality products, such as Mexican coffee.

"We have to export quality to China. Mexico cannot rely on exporting quantity alone since I am not certain Mexico's entire pork production could meet Chinese demand," he said.

Mexico and China have an opportunity to take a big step forward in agricultural cooperation, said Zottele, who runs the China-Veracruz Studies Center at Veracruz University, adding that right agreements could see more Mexican agricultural products enter the Chinese market.

Mexican dairy products, corn, beef, tobacco and blueberries are currently exported to China, and negotiations are underway to add bananas to the list.

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