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U.S. set to import avocados from the third-largest producer

The United States has reached an agreement to allow Colombia's Hass avocados to enter the U.S market. Vice President Mike Pence made the announcement during a press conference following his bilateral meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos during his official visit to Colombia.

Pence highlighted the progress of the trade agreement, which he said has created jobs and opportunities in both nations.pubInt38859Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

While it is the third-largest producer of avocados, Colombia is not yet among the major exporters.

"The United States is a market with a lot of potential," María Claudia Lacouture, Colombia's minister of commerce, industry and tourism, said in a press release. "In 2016 [the United States] imported about $2 billion [of avocados], almost 90 percent was bought from Mexico. So it is an opportunity that opens for Colombian producers."

The United States has doubled its avocado consumption between 2005 and 2014, and 96 percent of that demand corresponds to Hass avocados, and U.S. imports rose from $913.7 million in 2012 to $1.993 billion in 2016.

For Colombian exporters, the United States will represent shorter transportation times and lower logistics costs because it is a closer market for Colombia. Today that product is sold almost entirely to Europe.

As a condition of entry, fresh Hass avocados from Colombia will have to be produced in accordance with a systems approach that includes orchard and packinghouse requirements and port of entry inspection.  The fruit will also be required to be imported in commercial consignments and accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the national plant protection organization of Colombia with an additional declaration stating that the fruit has been produced in accordance with the requirements. This action will allow for the importation of fresh Hass avocado fruit from Colombia while continuing to provide protection against the introduction of plant pests into the continental United States.