Chile optimistic about its market growth, touting free trade agreements
Chile has brought its largest ever contingent to Seafood Expo Global, hoping to expand its trade in Europe and beyond on the back of its free trade agreements and a strategy built around open markets.
With 26 free trade agreements signed with 64 economies, Chile has free access to the largest global markets, according to Rául Fernández Daza, Chile’s ambassador to the European Union. Fernández Daza officially opened the Chilean pavilion, which this year has 29 seafood exhibitors, on Tuesday, 24 April.
Due to those trade agreements, Chile has preferential access to 64.1 percent of the world population and to 86.3 percent of global GDP, Fernández Daza said. The European Union is Chile’s third-largest trade partner after China and the United States, comprising 14 percent of Chile’s total trade in 2017. Chile’s value-added seafood exports to Europe grew 23 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year, reaching USD 180 million (EUR 147.6 million) and representing 50 percent of the country’s total value-added exports, Daza said.
SalmonChile Chairman Arturo Clément also spoke at the pavilion’s opening ceremony. He praised the work done by the industry and the Chilean government to expand the country’s seafood trade, especially in regard to salmon. Over the last 15 years, the country’s seafood exports have quadrupled, jumping from USD 1.2 billion (EUR 1 billion) in 2003 to USD 4.6 billion (EUR 3.8 billion) in 2017.
And while, the United States remains Chile’s largest seafood export market, followed by Japan, Brazil, and Russia, the European Union is in the country’s sights moving forward, Clément said. Advances in freezing technology means the quality of Chilean salmon can be maintained on its trip to Europe, and Chilean salmon can compete on value with European product, despite its geographic disadvantage, Clément said.
“The Chilean salmon sector has seen an amazing growth,” he said. “The value created by the salmon industry has increased the standard of living of the people in the country’s southern region and is today the third-[largest] economic activity of Chile. Despite Chile’s distribution disadvantages to the European market, we would like to increase our market share in Europe through powerful marketing of our value-added products, our innovations in the logistic chain and Chile’s abundance natural advantages for high quality production of salmon.”