Costa Rican pineapples are now available on Chinese e-commerce platforms as well as big retail outlets after the Central American country received official permission in May.
After 25 days en-route, the first shipment of pineapples arrived in Shanghai in June, making Costa Rica, the largest producer and exporter of pineapples in the world, Chinese mainland's newest importer of pineapples after Thailand, the Philippines and Taiwan.
Pineapples are a vital cash crop to Costa Rica in terms of employment and foreign trade, with 43,000 acres of planting area and 30,000 people working in the industry. Last year, Costa Rica exported to 170 countries their pineapples, ranking first in export value at $900 million, followed by the Netherlands and the Philippines.
"I think Chinese consumers are happy that, finally, Costa Rican pineapples are in their markets," Jose Pablo Rodriguez Cordero, Commercial Director for Asia - Export Promotion Agency of Costa Rica (PROCOMER), told the Global Times.
Rodriguez said he has high expectations for the Chinese market, where demand for pineapple imports grows at 40 to 50 percent per year in contrast to just 1 percent annual growth in North America and Europe.
"Chinese people want the best pineapple and we have the best," Rodriguez said. The Philippines and Taiwan have good pineapples, but he doesn't think there is enough pineapples in all of Asia to cover the Chinese mainland over the next 10 to 15 years, he said.
Luis Alberto Munoz Madriz, Consul General of Costa Rica in Shanghai, told the Global Times that the launch of Costa Rican products like pineapples from companies with high standards, social responsibility and sustainable environment practices will be an important part of strengthening relations between China and Costa Rica.
The Consulate General of Costa Rica in Shanghai was newly opened last August. This year, Costa Rica celebrates the 10th anniversary of its diplomatic relations with China.
"There is a lot of exchange between the two countries between the knowledge and the product. I think we are very good strategic partners," he said.