(Yicai Global) March 28 -- Chile has increased its exports to China almost 19-fold over the past 10 years to surpass Thailand as the country's largest source of imported fruit, according to official data.
Chilean fruit exports to China totaled nearly USD1.3 billion last year, a significant increase from just USD67 million in 2007.
As the largest fruit exporter in the southern hemisphere, Chile exports more grapes and plums than any other country. Its fruit exports to China have increased considerably in recent years. In 2007, exports to China made up just 2 percent of Chile's total exports, but by the end of last year, that figure had risen to 25 percent. Its three biggest exports to China are cherries, grapes and plums.
Due to its location, Thailand has long been the main source of imported fruit in China. However, in 2006, Chile became the first South American country to sign a free trade agreement with China, which allowed the country's fruit to enjoy a 13 percent tariff concession, lowering prices, increasing efficiency and boosting market competitiveness.