Turkish raisin exporters seem to have turned the trade dispute between the United States and China, which have placed tariffs on billions of dollars of each other’s goods, into an opportunity.
They are enjoying increasing demand and have managed to rev up their exports to China after Beijing imposed additional tariffs on fruits and vegetables from the U.S.
Turkey’s overall raisin exports from Sept. 1 to Nov. 16 amounted to nearly $162.71 million, up 9% compared to the same period of last year, according to Aegean Exporters’ Association (EİB) data.
Exports to China in the said period increased by 14% year-on-year to $1.6 million, up from $1.4 million. Turkish exporters also achieved favorable results at the import fair held in China earlier in November, and expect a further rise in exports to the country.
Birol Celep, chairman of the Association of Aegean Dried Fruits and Products Exporters, said the Chinese Import Fair was very productive.
Indicating that both promotional activities and the trade war between China and Turkey have boosted demand for Turkish products, dried fruits in particular, Celep told Anadolu Agency (AA) that they also received requests at the fair.
Underlining that dried fruits come to the fore among products that Chinese companies seek to import from Turkey, Celep stated: “Through the business connections we established there and our companies' quality products, the growth trend in our exports of dried fruits to the most populous country in the world will continue. We will keep on working on sustainability by using China's fruitarian dietary habits. Even if the trade war is over, we will maintain our presence in China with our quality and price advantage and continue to increase our exports.”
Şemsettin Özgür, a board member of the Association of Aegean Dried Fruits and Products Exporters and of a company exporting raisins to China, stated that the raisin sector has made a rapid start to the season.
Pointing out that Turkey’s traditional raisin export market is Europe, Özgür emphasized that they are nevertheless in search of new markets.
Stressing that they regard China as one of these target markets, Özgür said China also has its own raisin production. “However, there is interest in imported grapes with the increase in the middle-income population. Therefore, it is a very serious market for raisins.”
Pointing out that China used to buy raisins from the U.S. before, he stated: “However, due to trade wars with the U.S. and additional tariffs, our products have turned out to be more favorable than U.S. ones. Therefore, China is seen as a quickly growing market.”
The U.K., one of the major markets for raisin exports, was a top market for Turkey’s raisin exports with $46.5 million from Sept. 1 to Nov. 16 this year, followed by Italy with nearly $19.54 million and Germany with $19.1 million.
While the export price per ton has hovered at around $2,000 in recent years, the raisin sector has been in search of new markets in addition to traditional ones.
There has also been an increase in exports to the Far East market, which dried fruit exporters have been targeting for years.