Turkey targets to export US$1 billion food products to China by 2023 as trade soars
Current food exports to China grew by 86% in the first 10 months of 2019, totalling US$205 million, compared to US$110 million in the corresponding period last year.
The data was released by the Aegean Exporters' Association (EİB).
According to Birol Celep, vice president of EİB and chairman of the Aegean Dry Fruit and Products Exporters Association, China remains a priority and one of Turkey’s biggest export markets.
"China has a fruitarian culture, meaning it is a community that loves fruit,” he said.
“The Chinese have a habit of consuming fruit rather than sweet things. We want to use this potential very well,
“Food exports to China have increased, especially in dried fruits and nuts. Turkey needs to take advantage of this situation."
According to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), dried fruit exports to China rose 131% to US$18 million this year, compared to US$8 million in 2018.
Similarly, fruit and vegetable products exports saw a 70% increase, to reach US$25 million this year. Fresh fruit and vegetable exports rose to US$3 million, on the back of cherry exports this year.
Olive oil exports also grew 16% to reach US$0.76 million.
Hazelnuts and hazelnut products continue to make up the bulk of food exports to China, achieving US$71 million in 2019, which was more than double (107%) from 2018 (US$34 million).
In seafood and animal products, Turkey exported US$29 million to China this year, compared to US$6.8 million in the same period last year.
Celep added that promotional activities for the Chinese market would continue in the coming months. Most recently in August, EİB launched an account on Chinese social media platform, WeChat, for marketing purposes.
In early November, 54 Turkish companies, mainly dried fruits, olive oil, fruits, vegetables, aquaculture and animal products exporters attended the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.
Celep said bilateral talks between EİB and executives from Cofco Sundry, a Chinese agri-products supplier took place.
Touching on the importance of the expo in promoting relations between both countries, he added: “There will be a signing ceremony (with the Deputy Trade Minister Gonca Yılmaz) with the participation of our two companies. China as a country now looks at us warmly."