China maintains strong demand for imports of quality fresh produce


Recently, 1.5 tons of durians imported from the Philippines arrived at the Beijing Capital International Airport via an international cargo flight, and completed customs clearance under the supervision of Chinese customs officers.

“The durians were shipped under whole-process cold-chain logistics management, so that they can remain fresh,” said Song Xiaochen, manager of the importer of the fruits in Beijing.

“We’ll expand our supply and bring more fresh fruits around the world to Chinese consumers,” Song added.

Following the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), fresh durians from Vietnam and the Philippines have successively been approved to enter the Chinese market, said Zhu Cheng, an official with the Beijing customs.

“While ensuring bio-safety and food safety, we opened a green channel that enables around-the-clock customs clearance upon reservation, so that fresh agricultural products are immediately checked and green-lighted,” Zhu noted.

Lately, a batch of imported lobsters, dungeness crabs, oysters and other fresh aquatic products were cleared by the customs at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, the largest single air cargo terminal in China, and then distributed to the Yangtze River delta and surrounding areas via supermarkets and aquatic product markets.

“Since the implementation of the RCEP, Cambodia’s longans, Vietnam’s durians, and other fruits from other ASEAN countries have been approved to enter the Chinese market, which has led to a surge in the imports of fruits from ASEAN countries via Shanghai customs,” said a customs official from the customs supervision area of Shanghai’s Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone.

According to the official, the customs supervision area of Shanghai’s Waigaoqiao Free Trade Zone handled 488,000 tons of fruits imported from ASEAN countries in the first five months this year, with a total value of 976 million yuan ($134.81 million).

On June 6, a batch of ham from Spain was imported via a port in Ningbo, east China’s Zhejiang province. This year has seen a significant rise in the imports of meat, aquatic products, fresh fruits and other agricultural products via the ports of Ningbo. Ningbo now has cargo air routes to Bangkok, Osaka and Manila, as well as nine regular cargo flights.

Last year, 13 countries agreed to the quarantine requirements for exporting fresh fruits to China, and a total of 16 fruits were involved.

Driven by the lowered market access, China’s fruit imports went up eight percent in 2022, hitting $14.6 billion. The total weight of imported fruits stood at 7.33 million tons last year, more than doubling the figure in 2012.

According to customs statistics, China’s imports of consumer goods other than passenger cars grew 14.3 percent to reach 686.69 billion yuan in the January-May period this year. In particular, the imports of meat, fresh and dried fruits, and aquatic products went up 11.1 percent, 19.4 percent and 32.9 percent, respectively.

Insiders said the Chinese market will maintain a strong demand for premium fresh produce given the continuous trend of consumption upgrading.

The country will further expand its imports of fresh produce, diversify the source of imports and enrich the varieties of imported products, which will offer Chinese consumers with more choices. 

“We’ll keep deepening international cooperation on the trade of farm produce, promote opening up of the agricultural sector, and expand investment and cooperation in agricultural trade, so as to improve trade facilitation and liberalization, offer more choices for Chinese consumers and ensure the stability of the global supply chain of farm produce,” said an official with China’s General Administration of Customs.


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