Feb 5, 2013
China opens to U.S. pears

For the first time in history, U.S.-grown pears have officially gained access to the Chinese market, according to Pear Bureau Northwest.

“We have been working on this for 20 years, and the official request from our government happened in 1994,” said Kevin D. Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest. “During that time, the pear bureau and the Northwest pear industry have worked diligently with our partners at the Northwest Horticultural Council and USDA APHIS to bring this to fruition. We are appreciative of all involved for their dedication in gaining access for U.S.-grown pears to China, which has the potential to become an important export market for our industry.”

“Based on our exports to Hong Kong and Taiwan and the overall market size of China, it could easily rank among the top five export markets for USA pears within the next two or three seasons,” Moffitt said.

Pear Bureau Northwest had a promotional strategy in place to take immediate advantage of the market opening.

To raise awareness of the policy change that allows access of U.S. pears into the Chinese market, the bureau will immediately engage and educate Chinese importers and retailers about the market access, the current pear crop outlook and the varieties grown in Washington and Oregon. Targeting importers and retailers who have handled imports of Washington apples and California table grapes, the bureau will introduce promotional plans for the remainder of the season.

The bureau anticipated access to the Chinese market during this season, and allocated a percentage of its annual budget to take advantage of the opportunity.
Jeff Correa, director of international marketing at Pear Bureau Northwest, said a significant amount of Northwest pears could be exported to China in the first quarter of 2013.

“We could expect to ship pears to China into April, which would be similar to our exports to Taiwan and Hong Kong,” he said. “That would give us two-and-a-half months of shipments into China.”

Correa estimates that 25,000-40,000 standard 44-lb. boxes of pears could be shipped to China in that time period. And, with red being an auspicious color in Chinese culture, Correa projected that China would most likely become the top export market for red pear varieties, such as Starkrimson and Red Anjou.

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