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G20

G20

Argentina reaches deal at G20 to export cherries to China, with pork and honey negotiations in works

  • American cherries were among the agricultural products targeted by Beijing in the trade war, with China increasing tariffs on the fruit
  • China has become a key market for Argentine agricultural products, including fruit and meat
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 December, 2018, 2:18am
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 December, 2018, 11:04pm

Argentina has reached a trade agreement with China on cherry exports, another step in the South American country’s efforts to become what it calls “the world’s supermarket”.

Details of the agreement, which will be signed on Sunday, were finalised in a meeting between President Mauricio Macri and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the Group of 20 Summit in Buenos Aires on Friday, Luis Miguel Etchevehere, Argentina’s agro-industry secretary, told the South China Morning Post on Saturday.

Argentina was also in the process of obtaining sanitary protocols to export honey and pork to China, Etchevehere said. The terms of those deals were under negotiation, he said.

China has become a key market for Argentine agricultural products, including fruit and meat. Earlier this year, the two countries signed an agreement that opened the Asian market to Argentine beef and lamb, concluding a multi-year negotiation.

Trade between the two countries reached US$16.8 billion across all sectors last year, according to European Union figures.

Amid trade war, Argentina sees opportunities with both US and China

American cherries were among the agricultural products targeted by Beijing in the ongoing trade war. China increased tariffs on the fruit, which has become popular during the Lunar New Year holiday period, to 50 per cent from 10 per cent in response to duties imposed by US President Donald Trump.

That has jeopardised about US$130 million in cherry sales, according to testimony from Cass Gebbers, president and CEO of Gebbers Farms in Brewster, Washington, during congressional hearings in July on the effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Washington state is America’s biggest cherry producer and exporter, according to Iowa State University’s Agricultural Marketing Resource Centre.

Watch: US cherries flood Hong Kong

Etchevehere, who described the goal of making Argentina “the world’s supermarket”, said his country would like to expand its international trade. Last week, the United States agreed to end a nearly 17-year hiatus in the import of Argentine beef that began because of concerns about foot-and-mouth disease in Argentine cattle.

“We would like to increase trade in agriculture with China and the US as our products complement each other,” Etchevehere said. “We hope the US and China will reach an agreement on trade soon because that will benefit all of the countries around the world.”