Monday, 3 december 2018 | Redacción CEU
Last week was marked by the visit to Spain of the Chinese President, Xi Jiping. This was the first state visit of a Chinese president to the country since the one by Hu Jintao in 2005, in which the agreement of preferential relationship between the two countries was signed. Thirteen years later, this meeting has been turned into a strong commitment to openness and the fight against protectionism. A series of commercial, institutional and cultural agreements have emerged from this official encounter. But if something stands out of this meeting is the signing of two protocols that will enable the opening of the Chinese market to table grapes and the expansion of the export of pork to the country. Today, at The CEU IAM Business School, we analyze what opportunities these agreements offer and what their keys are.
Until now, the current regulation did not enable the exportation of meat products with less than 313 days of curing, with bone or that were not frozen. In other words, the legislation prevented the export of products like loin, spicy sausages, shoulder ham and the emblematic and distinctive ham legs. So, Spain exported frozen meat and offal to China, although it must be said that they did not have legal coverage. Regarding the processed products, Spain exported ham, but it was always boneless. Therefore, this fact was detrimental to their greatest added values, its cutting and tasting. Both are very important for the optimal consumption of this product.
The visit of Xi Jiping has marked a turning point in the commercialization of pork in China. Last Wednesday, both countries signed several trade agreements. As could not be otherwise, among them stood out the export protocol for pork. Its ratification has not only opened the doors to a wide range of products that were previously banned, it has also meant the entry of one of the flagship products in Spain: Iberian ham. It should be noted that by 2007, China had already accepted the import of pork products, but the restrictions on pork were numerous and strict, and this fact was a considerable trade barrier.
Table grapes to Chinese tables
This meeting has also been key to another Spanish product, table grapes. China and Spain have also reached an agreement to set the phytosanitary requirements which are necessary for the export of this fruit. Thanks to this new protocol, the Asian country will open the doors to the importation of Spanish table grapes with a tariff of 13% and a VAT of 11%. Until now, Spain only exported to China citrus (according to an agreement which was signed in 2005) and peaches and plums (thanks to another protocol which was signed in 2016).
It is important to mention that China leads the world ranking of fruit and green vegetable producers. However, this country also reaches record figures in their consumption. Its imports of fruit keep increasing year after year. These products usually come from nearby countries, like the ones from Southeast Asia. However, the high demand for fruit has had an impact on the country's increasing bet on markets which are further away. All these data suggest that the imports of table grapes and other fruits will increase in the country and that the current consumption trend will not decrease.