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The WORLD FRESH FORUM: a business and institutional networking space to take advantage of opportunities in China, Singapore and India

The WORLD FRESH FORUM: a business and institutional networking space to take advantage of opportunities in China, Singapore and India

Jesús Pérez

23 Sep 2019

The 11th edition of  Fruit Attraction will host, for the third consecutive year, the World Fresh Forum, which will present the existing business opportunities and commercial challenges in the countries invited to this edition: China, Singapore and India. Organised by the Secretary of State for Trade, ICEX Spain Exportation and Investments, IFEMA and FEPEX, the World Fresh Forum will take place on 23 and 24 October, the second and third day of the fair in the IFEMA Press Room (on the 1st floor of the office building).

The first day, 23 October, will be dedicated to the market in China. The fruit market in China is experiencing rapid growth and agricultural productive capacity is expanding significantly, with an increase of 15% in the period 2012-2017 and an average growth of 2.8%. Spanish exports to China have grown at an average rate of 146.38% in the last 4 years, from just 1.3 million euros in 2014 to over 29 million euros in 2018. Spain currently has protocols for the export of citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, tangerines and grapefruit), stone fruit (peaches, nectarines, Paraguayans and plums) and, since this September, also for table grapes.

This opens up a stage which offers high-potential opportunities for the export of fruit with protocols already having been signed. An in-depth knowledge on how the sector operates and on the specific demands of fruit importers is essential. All this will be analysed by those responsible for the Administration, both of MAPA and MINCOTUR and by the Chinese importers and distributors who will participate in the session. The notable differences between Mainland China and the special area of Hong Kong regarding the entry and export of fruit will also be analysed.

The day will be opened by Raúl Calleja, director of Fruit Attraction; José Mª Pozancos, general director of FEPEX and Javier Serra, general director of Company Internationalisation at ICEX, before moving on to a panel discussion that will revolve around “The process of opening up the Chinese market for the fruit and vegetable sector. Public instruments to support internationalisation, which will be moderated by José Mª Zalbidea, general secretary of FEPEX. Miguel Ángel Martín, deputy director of Sanitary Agreements and Border Control of MAPA will be taking part; as will Guillermo Kessler, deputy director of International Merchandise Trade at MINCOTUR, and María Naranjo, director of Food, Wine and Gastronomy at ICEX. The second panel discussion covers the subject of ”Keys and opportunities in the Chinese market. Differences between Mainland China and Hong Kong, which will be moderated by Alfonso Noriega, former Economic and Commercial Advisor in Shanghai; and Jack Song, purchasing director of GuiZhou ShouYang Agriculture; Jason XU, general manager Shanghai Supafresh Trading; Loren ZHAO, general manager Shanghai FreshBridge Trading, and Yan Xue, senior director Beijing Chunbo Technology.

The second day, 24 October, will be focused on India and Singapore. The Spanish fruit and vegetable sector has a high concentration of exports in the EU, which accounts for more than 94% of total exports, both in volume and price. Some South-East Asian markets offer interesting opportunities for destination diversification, such as India and Singapore.

Singapore is one of Asia's largest importers of agri-food products, and has the highest levels of consumption of per capita food products in South-East Asia, as the country barely produces any food. During 2018, total fruit imports in Singapore amounted to USD 680 million and the main countries from which products were imported were the United States (15%), Malaysia (12%), China (10%) and Australia (10%). Spain came 14th in the ranking. The recently signed Free Trade Agreement between the EU and Singapore opens up interesting opportunities for quality Spanish fruit, especially the one protected by DO/IGP. Singaporeans increasingly value the quality of products and associate European markets with high standards, in a clear strategy of diversifying the origins of fruit imported by volume and in carrying out new searches for unique or premium products, according to ICEX.

For its part, the fruit market in India is growing rapidly. Growing demand is being satisfied with increasing and also more efficient national production and with higher and higher levels of imports. Imports of fruit from India have increased by 35% in the last five years from 2,672 MUSD in 2014 to 3,327 MUSD in 2018. Exports from Spain increased by 189% in the same period from 0.8 MUSD in 2014 to 2.34 MUSD in 2018. Our market share is still small. However, there is ample room for improvement. Spain currently has grapes, citrus fruit, pome fruit (apples and pears), stone fruit (apricots, cherries, peaches, plums and blackthorn) and persimmon authorised for export to India.

At this seminar, the opportunities and challenges offered by this market will be analysed with local importers and Spanish companies that operate in the Region.

During this session two panel discussions will be held on: “The importance of markets outside the EU: the process of opening and instruments of promotion and support from the public sector, moderated by José Mª Zalbidea, general secretary of FEPEX, in which Cristina Clemente, deputy director of Food Promotion - MAPA will take part, as well as Guillermo Kessler, deputy director of International Merchandise Trade MINCOTUR, and María Naranjo, director of Food, Wine and Gastronomy - ICEX. The second panel discussion will deal with “Keys and opportunities for the fruit and vegetable sector in Singapore and India”, and will be moderated by Verónica Semper, deputy assistant director of Commercial Relations with Asia; Rey NG - Business, executive at Benelux Flowers & Food; Chuanxin Xu - Director of Purchases Import Business Unit of Sunmoon Distribution & Trading; Amit Gidwani, general director of GT Fruitech, and Carlos Bonet, export director of AMC Asia Fruit & Natural Foods.

The two sessions will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., ending with a networking breakfast for participants

Organised by IFEMA and FEPEX, Fruit Attraction 2019 will be held from 22 to 24 October in Halls 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 at Feria de Madrid. A meeting which will bring together 1,800 companies and 90,000 professionals, making Fruit Attraction the most effective international meeting point, at a key moment for the professional supply and demand of fresh products.