Food exported to China soared from US$72 million in 2014 to US$144 million by the end of 2017, which was a 100% growth, Birol Celep, vice president of the association said.
Opportunities are abundant for meat, fish, dried fruits, olive and vegetable oil, fruit and vegetables, and hazelnut exporters, whom Celep urged “should concentrate on the Chinese market.”
“China is almost the size of a continent. China should not be the future, but today’s target market,” he said, adding that China’s annual food import is nearly $50 billion.
China will remain as one of the priority markets for Turkey’s export, he stressed.
Demand for high-quality and healthy food from high-income Chinese is one of the reasons for fuelling Turkey’s food export to China.
The association will take further steps to cement trade ties with China.
For instance, negotiations with the Guangdong Food Exporters Associaion had borne fruit – a trade delegation from Turkey to China would be organised.
The delegates would meet in December this year to conduct bilateral business meetings, including visits to Chinese food markets and supermarkets, official institutions and organisations.
Celep urged Turkish food exporters who want to grow in the Chinese market to grab the opportunity.
Besides China, the association will also take part in four food fairs in Hong Kong, Russia and France by year end to promote Turkey’s products.
Mediterranean fruit fly
Some of the obstacles Turkey face in ramping up exports to China include the need for a 16-day cold chain treatment for its cherry exports.
Cherries can be exported into China via sea or airfreight. Either of which, cold treatment by cooling the cherries to one degree Celsius and keeping them for 16 days is necessary.
The Aegean Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Exporter's Association believe that if they can eliminate the 16-day cold chain requirement for cherry exports to China, China will become a very important market for the export of cherries.
“Considering that the majority of the companies that want to buy are located in China, it is of great importance to accelerate the process of facilitating the protocol on the export of cherry from the country to China and to initiate the permit process for other products,” the association said in a statement.