Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
According to the latest in the agricultural world, the Australian government is still trying to fathom the reason why China is delaying table grape imports. This is a great matter of concern because this trade is worth millions and is crucial for the country’s economy. Nevertheless, the Minister of Trade, Dan Tehan, is hoping for the best as he resists making a conclusive statement. However, the focal point of this trade war has now become table grapes. In recent years, China has thwarted Australian trade deals worth millions. Some of the items that were up for trade include wine, barley, seafood, timber, cotton and coal.
Whereas table grapes would clear Chinese customs within a day or two, now the situation stands completely transformed. The delays have increased up to twenty days and the fruits are kept without refrigeration. Therefore, spoilage is a major issue in regards to fresh produce. Even though eighty per cent of grapes have entered China seamlessly, the last 20 per cent seem to be a real struggle. The Australian Table Grape Association (ATGA) estimates the delays, which began six weeks ago, could cost growers and exporters up to $40,000 per container.
Typically during the April and May peak season, Australia would send as many as 300 containers of table grapes a week to China, but as few as 125 containers per week have “landed” in China this year. Hari Yellina, of Orchard Tech, states the whole industry is very concerned because the delays are causing huge losses to table grape growers and exporters. Officials have started contemplating the chances of shipment rejection. The main concern is if delayed containers were not powered the temperature it needs, this could cause the fruit to deteriorate and reduce its value. China is the most lucrative market for Australian table grapes and accounts for more than 40 per cent of all table grape exports. Hence, this trade deal needs to go through in order for the economy to remain stable.