Chinese pickles sail to Japan through RCEP

24/11/2023    65

In a factory in Fuling District, southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, a batch of uniformly sized, emerald-green pickled mustard tubers roll off the production line. Soon, they will be packaged and shipped to Japan's Yokohama.

The history of pickle-making in Fuling, a major pickle production base in China, dates back more than 150 years. The district's traditional method of producing preserved mustard tubers was listed as a state-level intangible cultural heritage in 2008.

In recent years, the region's unique pickled mustard tubers have been exported to various overseas markets, with Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) being two major destinations.

"These mustard tubers are selected precisely in terms of size, quality and color," said Zhou Linxiang, general manager of Lvling, a local pickle-making company. "We always emphasize product quality, and our exports to Japan and ROK have increased in recent years."

China and Japan forged bilateral free trade relations for the first time following the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, which took effect on January 1, 2022. The agreement has played a positive role in promoting bilateral trade in goods and services.

Lvling exported 50 million yuan (about 7 million U.S. dollars) worth of pickled or fresh mustard tubers to RCEP member countries in the first three quarters of this year, up 5 percent year on year. Mustard tubers worth about 20 million yuan were exported to Japan during the period, up 6 percent year on year.

Thanks to the free trade agreement, the customs clearance time has been further shortened, and now it only takes a week to ship mustard tubers to Japan. Also, the import costs of Japanese clients have been reduced through tariff concession policies, according to Zhou.

"At a food exhibition in Japan's Chiba Prefecture, many clients sought to cooperate with us," said Zhou, adding that the company plans to build overseas warehouses and increase product varieties to provide more high-quality pickles.

During the first three quarters of this year, Chongqing Customs issued 693 certificates of origin under the RCEP agreement for export to Japan, up 8.45 percent year on year. The total value of the goods was 62.6 million dollars, up 37.74 percent from the same period in 2022.

"Fuling has ramped up efforts to stabilize and optimize foreign trade. It has streamlined customs clearance procedures, giving a boost to specialized product exports to the overseas market," said Li Hangyang, with Chongqing Customs.

The growth of pickle exports has also brought wealth to the locals, said Yang Fei, head of Qingxi Township, Fuling, where the company is located.

"We will optimize the pickled mustard tubers industry and implement scientific planting methods, as part of efforts to help more products from Fuling go global," she said.

Source: People’s Daily Online