Mexican avocados say 'hola' to China

Avocado exports from Mexico to China are expected to jump from 14,172 tons last year to about 60,000 tons by 2020, as Chinese consumers develop a taste for the posh fruit.

Mexico is the world's largest producer and exporter of the fruit, and its sales in the Middle Kingdom grew 200 percent between 2015 and 2016, with 15 to 16,000 tons of Avocados to enter the Chinese market this year.

These impressive figures actually represent slower growth due to a smaller production interval, according to Ramon Paz Vega, advisor of the Association of Producers, Exporters and Packers and Avocados from Mexico, during a seminar in Guangzhou on May 16.

Many produce importers from across Guangdong province attended the seminar, showing strong interest in importing the vitamin-rich fruit for the local market.

Mexican avocados first entered the Chinese market in 2012, and the country's demand growth rate is the highest in the world, compared with 12 to 15 percent every year in the United States, 25 percent in Japan and 17 percent in Canada last year.

"The growth that China is having is very important," Paz said, adding Mexico had a 90 percent share of the Chinese imported avocado market last year, with the other 10 percent taken up by Chile and Peru.

While Chile and Peru export avocados tariff-free to China thanks to bilateral free trade agreements, Mexican avocados exported to China are levied a 10 percent tariff, a rate already halved and put into effect last year.

With Chinese market research completed, Paz's organization is launching promotional campaigns in China through platforms such as digital media, social networks and in stores. Facilities for ripening avocados in Hong Kong and Shanghai are in place, and Paz expects to see more such facilities built in China in the future.

Editor: Will