`China Lightens Spanish Olive Oil Stock with $9 Million Order - Olive Oil Times

China Lightens Spanish Olive Oil Stock with $9 Million Order

Jan. 31, 2011
Christian Brazil Bautista

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Chinese vice pre­mier Li Keqiangs visit to Spain resulted in a $7.5 bil­lion trade agree­ment that includes a nine mil­lion dol­lar pur­chase of Spanish olive oil stock. The two coun­tries, which have forged diplo­matic ties over the past few decades, for­mal­ized gov­ern­ment agree­ments and com­mer­cial con­tracts for 16 sectors.

According to a report from China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, the agree­ments include the olive oil pur­chase in addi­tion to $13.5 mil­lion in meat prod­ucts, $6 mil­lion in wine and $260,000 of Spain’s famed cured Iberico ham.

The vice pre­mier, who met with Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Foreign Minister Trinidad Jimenez and King Juan Carlos, said that he plans to feast on Spanish prod­ucts dur­ing the Chinese Spring Festival which starts on February 3. According to the Xinhua report, Li said that China and Spain would work closely together and take joint mea­sures to face var­i­ous risks and challenges.

China… has con­fi­dence and great inter­est in the Spanish mar­ket,” Li said on the sec­ond day of his European Union tour. He added that Spanish prod­ucts are pop­u­lar among Chinese con­sumers. In fact, the coun­try is set to host its sev­enth International olive oil exhi­bi­tion in Shanghai this year.

China imports 60,000 tons of olive oil every year. However, olive oil still lags behind in pop­u­lar­ity against cheaper options such as peanut oil, soy­bean oil and sun­flower oil. Chinese con­sumers pre­fer extra vir­gin olive oil, and Spain pro­vides about half of the stock that fits this cat­e­gory. The other half of the extra vir­gin olive oil mar­ket is divided among com­peti­tors includ­ing Italy and Greece.

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China’s biggest cities such as Beijing and Shanghai account for a large part of the coun­try’s mar­ket for imported olive oil. Italy and Greece still hold a big chunk of the mar­ket share in China. Spain, how­ever, the largest olive oil producing
coun­try in the world, has exhib­ited con­tin­u­ous growth over the past few years.

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