To understand the importance of Peruvian table grapes' trade with China, one must first understand Peru's position in the world agricultural trade. Peru exported more than $5.285 billion in agricultural products in 2015, making it one of the world's top 10 agricultural exporters. Agricultural exports gave Peru a trade surplus of $1.214 billion. Non-traditional products accounted for 87% of all agricultural exports in 2015, amounting to $4.5 billion. Table grapes ranked first among non-traditional farm exports with exports of more than $690 million, making it the world's fifth-largest supplier of table grapes. Through this series of data, it can be seen that table grapes play a very important role in Peruvian agriculture and provide a large number of employment opportunities. This is all thanks to the combined efforts of the public and private sectors. Clear policies, open markets, heavy investment and a nationwide agrotechnical service have all contributed to Peru's table grape industry.
In terms of international trade, Peru, with its good foreign relations, has been actively expanding the export of table grapes to Asia, a region with high economic growth, especially in China, the fastest growing market. In the Chinese market, 99 percent of imported Peruvian table grapes are red grapes and another 1 percent are Cressen seedless grapes. Others in Peru include SugarOne seedless grape, Flame seedless grape and Thompson seedless grape.
In the 2014-2015 season, China (including mainland China and Hong Kong) was the largest importer of Peruvian table grapes, followed by the United States and the Netherlands. The United Kingdom, Thailand, Russia, Canada, Colombia, South Korea, Brazil and Ecuador also import Peruvian table grapes. And Southeast Asia could be a new growth market. In the last quarter of the 2015-2016 season (December-February), Peru's red fruit exports to China are expected to decline by 15-18 percent due to market adjustments. Wholesale prices for table grapes exported to China were also lower than in the previous three quarters, according to Agronometrics.
The Peruvian table grape industry is also facing various challenges. The first is the decline in export growth. Although exports have increased by 5.5% in the past two quarters from 270,000 tons to 285,000 tons, the growth rate is much lower than the previous 30-40% growth rate. It also shows that Peru's grape industry is facing a transformation problem and needs more new table grape varieties. Red grapes now account for about 70 percent of the total table grape crop. Then there is the weather, which last year forced grape growers to take various measures to cope with the adverse effects of El Nino, although in the end the weather did not affect production as much as expected. In addition, opening new markets is a long-term challenge, as Peru needs to reach phytosanitary agreements with new countries to ensure that the export market for table grapes continues to expand. All this will require Peru's public and private sectors to work together again.
For the huge market of China, there is a greater need to strengthen market research, promote new investment, open up new wholesale markets, establish local trade infrastructure, and promote the generation of new business platforms.