After Turkey recently got the approval to export cherries to China, following years of successful negotiations, the two countries have now decided to remove red tape on Turkish pistachio exports to the country, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan has confirmed.
Pekcan announced that the long-standing technical obstacles to pistachio exports to China have been overcome and an export permit has been issued.
The development comes after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's official visit to China earlier this month. Pekcan, who was also in China earlier this month to open the Turkish National Day at Expo 2019 Beijing, announced that Turkey has so far exported 25 tons of cherries to China. She hoped that necessary permits to export other vegetables, fruits, marine and dairy products would be given as well.
"'The Protocol on Phytosanitary Requirements for Pistachios Exported from Turkey to China,' was signed between Turkey's Agriculture and Forestry Ministry and the General Administration of Quality Control, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China on Sept. 3, 2016," the minister told Anadolu Agency (AA).
"Due to the failure to meet certain technical requirements of the protocol in question, our pistachio exports to China could not officially start. The Trade Ministry is discussing the issue with the Chinese authorities," she added.
"Thanks to some intense negotiations, the bureaucratic and technical barriers that prevented the export of pistachios have been overcome and the export of pistachios to China was allowed by the country's General Customs Administration."
Pekcan said this positive development paves the way for a new $2.8 billion market for pistachio exporters. Currently, Turkey has 39 companies that meet the technical requirements to sell pistachios in China.
She pointed out that producers and industrialists should improve their conditions to increase the number of pistachio exporting companies, adding that they give support to exporters on many issues, such as market entry certificates, fair participation, the founding of foreign units, branding and promotion.
According to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat), Turkey's shelled and unshelled pistachio exports stood at $72 million last year, while exceeding $52.6 million only in the first five months of this year.
The largest amount of shelled and unshelled pistachios was exported to Italy, valued at $29.5 million last year. Germany, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Portugal and Israel are among the other leading importers of Turkish pistachios.