Ultimas Noticias


The Dutch Market for Nuts

By Wendalin Kolkman

While exports of U.S. tree nuts to the Netherlands have declined in recent years, the future of the market is bright. Because of their premium quality, U.S. nuts play an important role in Dutch imports ofalmonds, pistachios, pecans, walnuts andpeanuts.

Consumer Purchasing Habits
The private label market in the Neth-erlands is showing significant signs of growth. Many Dutch shoppers want a wider variety of private label products in supermarkets, especially in peanuts and
other nuts. There is a clear trend toward growth of name brands.
Current consumer trends indicate that buying decisions are increasingly based on
quality, and here is where U.S. nut products have a definite advantage. The Dutch consumer interest in organic products isgrowing. According to the U.S. Organic Trade Association, the Netherlands has the highest per capita consumption of edible nuts in Europe. As a result, demand is higher
for all sorts of edible organic nuts, especially peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts and wal-nuts.
This is partly due to the Dutch inclination for Indonesian and Chinese cuisine, where these items have an important place.

The Dutch primarily consume nuts as snacks. Salted peanuts are the most popu-lar,
and supermarkets are the most popular outlets for these snack products.

Packaging Industry for Nuts
Because of mergers, only a few nut packaging companies are left in the Neth-erlands.
The Dutch-based Nut Company B.V. is the European market leader in the sector. This market includes nuts that are processed in various ways and nut-based products. The three major segments of this
market are consumer brands, private label products and ingredients. The Nut Company
is active in all of these segments and has production operations throughout Europe.
The Dutch company Duyvis B.V. is the main processor of coated and salted packed
peanuts in the Netherlands. In this product category, Duyvis is the only premium quality
brand in the country.

Future Prospects

As a result of outbreaks of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, and foot and mouth disease and consumer concerns about high dioxin and polychlorinated bi-phenyl levels in North Sea and Baltic Sea
fish, Europeans are eating less meat and fish.
Nuts have good prospects in the European market in general.and the Dutch market in particular as an alternative source of protein.
Therefore, good export possibilities are expected in this market for U.S. nuts.

The author is an agricultural marketing
specialist at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague,
Netherlands. Tel.: (011-31-70) 310-9305;
Fax: (011-31-70) 365-7681

 E-mail: agthehague@fas.usda.gov

Exporter Alert
Regulation News You Can Use Exporting goods overseas can be a risky business.

One of the factors increasing a business owner’s liability is how rapidly exporting regulations can change. Often they change as quickly as the news headlines, though you may not find out about them just by picking up a newspaper.
There is one way exporters can keep abreast of changes in their markets. FAS’ worldwide network of offices can provide up-to-the-minute information on regulations–even reporting on changes that
are still being considered by foreign governments. Exporters can check FAS’
Web site regularly for these updates: www.fas.usda.gov
Here are a few examples of recent changes in export regulations.

Australia Issues a New Standard

Australia’s government has approved new labeling requirements for food produced using biotechnology that come into effect Dec. 7, 2001.
U.S. manufacturers currently export-ing, or wishing to export, their products to Australia should make themselves familiar with these requirements.
The standard requires that all foods pro-duced using biotechnology be assessed and
approved before sale. Food products, as defined in the standard, must be labeled “genetically
Products that contain novel DNA or novel protein in the final food, or have altered
characteristics, come under this standard.
To assist companies in interpreting this standard, the Australia New Zealand Food Authority (ANZFA) has a user guide on its Web site: www.anzfa.gov.au/foodstandards/userguides/index.cfm
The user guide, unlike the standard it-self, is not legally binding. Exporters who have questions about interpreting the standards should seek independent legal advice.

Canada Proposes Voluntary Labeling

Canadian officials have proposed a new standard for labeling foods produced from products modified with biotechnology.
Under this proposal, however, the labeling will be voluntary.
The new standard is being developed by the Canadian General Standards Board.
It’s intended to provide guidelines for companies that want to indicate whether their products contain bio-engineered altered characteristics.

The Philippines Protects Animal Products

At the end of September 2001, concerns over bovine spongiform encephalopathy
led the Philippine government to maintain its temporary ban on imports of meat products and bone meal. There is some good news, however, for countries that have not had documented cases of the
disease in their animal populations. The Philippine ban does not apply to products coming from these countries–as long as the product was shipped on or before July 18, 2001. Nor does it apply to poultry-derived meals.
This date must be shown in the bill of lading, and the shipment will need an International Veterinary Certificate to show that the meat came from healthy animals.
Furthermore, importers of items destined for animal feed must certify that their U.S. products will be distributed only to poultry and swine farms in order for the shipments to be released. The importer must also submit a report to the Philippine government on the actual distribution of the
imported feed ingredients.
The United States is working with the Philippine government to demonstrate the safety of U.S. meat and bone meal to re-gain full access for these products.

New Organic Certification in Poland

The Polish Parliament approved legislation in March 2001 requiring certificates of compliance for production and trade for organic products. This regulation went into effect in October 2001 and covers all imported products, including those certified as organic by the European Union (EU).
All such products need to be recertified in Poland. Once Poland becomes an EU member, however, the recertification will no longer be necessary. It could become an EU member as early as January 2004.
Analysts predict the number of organic farms in Poland will increase tenfold by 2009. Poland subsidizes organic production up to $150 per hectare.

Romania Requires Meat Certification

The United States has until Jan. 1, 2002, to comply with new Romanian veterinary health certificates for U.S. exports of poultry, pork and casings. USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) requested and received an extension until that date. This extension was granted officially on Sept.
18, 2001, when FAS’ Office of Agricultural Affairs in Bucharest received official written approval for the extension.
FSIS can continue to certify shipments to Romania using the currently approved Romanian veterinary certificates until Dec. 31, 2001. USDA representatives are meeting with the Romanian veterinary authorities to determine compliance with the new certificates.
The new certificates were recommended by the EU as part of the harmonization process of candidate member states, and relate to EU directives.
The current veterinary certificates for meat, poultry, fish and dairy products have
been in effect since 1992.

Fishing for Exports? Try Surimi in France
By Marie-Cécile Henard


Surimi, meaning “washed fish,” first appeared four centuries ago in Japan.
The recipe was simple enough: fish fillets were crumbled, rinsed in fresh water, salted and shaped into little cakes that were steam-cooked.
Most U.S. consumers know the descendant of Japan’s original surimi as imitation crab meat made of whitefish.
Dieters and other consumers in the United States and France alike know surimi is a good source of protein, minerals and vitamins. It is recognized as a healthy food
product that is low in fat. This faux fish may never be considered haute cuisine, but many find it more satisfying than conventional diet fare. French consumers, now more health-conscious than ever, are increasingly making surimi a part of their meals and they import a lot of it from the United States. In the last 10 years, surimi consumption in France has tripled, overtaking sales of smoked salmon.

Factors Favoring Surimi

Beyond its healthy aspects, surimi appeals because it is a snack that is as easy to carry and store as it is healthy.
This convenience is a big help to busy two income French families. Four out of 10 households consume surimi. Households with three to five people–typically families with children–are the greatest consumers.
The average surimi consumer often has a lower-middle income.
In the first 10 months of fiscal 2001, the United States exported more than 8 million metric tons of surimi–that’s the highest level since at least the 1970s. It’s also a 167-percent increase over exports for the same time period in 2000. Incidentally, the United States supplied 46 percent of France’s total surimi imports in 2000. Most of it was purchased by households as op-posed to restaurants or hotels.
French consumers buy mainly fresh surimi products. In 1999, sales of frozen surimi items were 1,555 tons, valued at $5.6 million. Much of that surimi was made in highest level since at least the 1970s. It’s also a 167-percent increase over exports for the same time period in 2000. Incidentally,
the United States supplied 46 percent of France’s total surimi imports in 2000. Most
of it was purchased by households as opposed to restaurants or hotels.
French consumers buy mainly fresh surimi products. In 1999, sales of frozen surimi items were 1,555 tons, valued at $5.6 million. Much of that surimi was made in a decidedly non-dietary fashion to make meals fast and snacks speedy. In fact, a quarter of France’s surimi buyers surveyed said they use it as a between-meal snack.
Another factor is favoring U.S. sales.
French producers cannot seem to meet demand, even though they produce almost 20,000 tons a year. It’s easy to see why: it takes 4 to 5 kilograms of fish to produce 1 kilogram of surimi.

Yummy, Fun Surimi for Kids

It’s important for U.S. exporters to remember that surimi in France serves two
purposes: a diet food and a fun, flavorful snack for children.
Surimi sticks have the biggest sales, amounting to 10,550 tons in 1999, up 23.5 percent in one year. Sales of innovative products such as mini-sticks went up 29.3 percent. They are particularly popular in households with children.

Sticks are sold in transparent plastic bags or day-packs (soft plastic packs that stand on a rigid base). They include dipping condiments such as mayonnaise, ketchup, and Tex-Mex and cocktail sauces.

Taking Surimi Somewhere New

French consumers are pragmatic, so naturally they appreciate surimi´s value with the younger generation. But don´t forget that this is also the country that has set the standard for cutting-edge culinary excellence for generations. Some French chefsplan on teaching surimi a new trick or two.
They will probably need a reliable supplier and it might as well be the United States.
For example, surimi for the French market now comes in several flavors, such as crab, lobster and scallop. The 2000 Salon International de l´Alimentation (SIAL) trade show in Paris saw the debut of kamaboko, a steam-cooked, shrimp-flavored product.
There is a great deal of research going on in the use of natural flavors to make surimi something special.
The company Activ International has created a range of natural concentrates from crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops, crawfish and salmon to improve surimi flavors.
Food retailer Cuisimer has responded to demand by creating party appetizers called "sticks of the sea". The product consists of three joined surimi sticks that make a three-pointed star when sliced.
Fleury Michon, another French company, has come out with innovative products such as "les petits bouchons de surimi panes" and "fingers de surimi panes", breaded surimi pieces sold in servings of 7.5 ounces with a little cup of ketchup. These snacks are generally placed next to more conventional breaded fish items in supermarkets.
Fleury Michon also sells cubes of surimi in 5.3-ounce bags, allowing the pieces to remain perfectly shaped in salads and other preparations. To replace tuna in salads, the company sells crumbed pieces in servings of 3.57 ounces that may also include real crab.
Another company in the French market, Meralim, has created a new line of surimi products: imitation crab claws, shaped products with lobster flavor and gambas (also known as Mediterranean prawns).

The author is an agricultural specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France. 

Tel.: (011-33-1) 4312-2368; Fax: (011-33-1) 4312-2662.
E-mail: agparis@fas.usda.gov

Know Before You Go: A Primer On Japan’s Export Requirements
By Tetsuo Hamamoto

Japan is one of the United States’ best customers for farm products, a success that comes in part from the careful attention U.S. exporters pay to the country’s import requirements and food laws.
Here are some guidelines on meeting Japan’s food and ingredient requirements.
Testing the Waters: Prior to Export Before shipping a new product, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) strongly suggests that the exporter work with the importer to ship a product sample.
That sample should be sent to the ministry’s port inspectors office for certification of compliance with product regulations.
To prevent costly delays at port, exporters should not try to ship their product until these samples clear inspection.
FAS’ Office of Agricultural Affairs in Tokyo recommends that the sample be tested by one of the MHLW’s officially registered laboratories in the United States, listed in the sidebar to this article.
The Challenge of Nutraceuticals Food products associated with special health benefits, called nutraceuticals or functional foods, can present problems when exported to Japan. MHLW classifies a product with implied health claims as a food or a drug.
Examining a sample is necessary, particularly for products that come in tablets or capsules or have pharmaceutical ingredients.

To sell a food product in Japan that makes a health benefit claim, check with FAS Tokyo on import requirements.

Watch Your Additives

The Japanese operate on a positive approval system, meaning that approved additives, both artificial and natural, appear on a list. If a substance is not on the list, it cannot be used. 
You can obtain a copy of the list online at:    www.ffcr.or.jp/zaidan/FFCRHOME.nsf/pages/e-info-foodchem

Many additives that are commonly used in the United States, such as some food colorings, cannot be sold in Japan. Foods containing even traces of these ingredients will be stopped at the dock and denied entry. 
Japan’s MHLW restricts the use of additives in all food products. The ministry’s goal is to limit the amount of additives consumed in a normal diet.
Exporters may be frustrated that an additive is allowed for some products, but not others. However, a company may petition the MHLW for approval to use an additive in its products.provided the company can make the case that the use of the additive causes no harm to human health.
To ensure expedited clearance through customs at port:

--For synthetic additives that have limits set by the MHLW, chemical names and contents must be listed.
--Artificial colors must be identified by their chemical names and international color index numbers. U.S. color descriptions must also be provided.
--Artificial flavors must be identified by their chemical names as they appear on the Japanese approved additive list.

Taking Care of (Produce) Business

Shipments of fresh fruits, vegetables and unprocessed grain products must include a phytosanitary certificate from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition, some fresh fruits and vegetables are currently prohibited under Japan´s quarantine regulations, including apricots, bell peppers, cabbage, chilies and eggplant.
A certificate from USDA´s Agricultural Marketing Service must accompany shipments of frozen fruits and vegetables that are prohibited entry as fresh products.
All other frozen fruits and vegetables may be self-certified by the U.S. processor, exporter or state department of agriculture.
The shipper´s invoice should include the date and temperature of freezing, the name and signature of the company representative and a product description.
Japan requires labels on biotechnology products and allergens. Japan also has certification and labeling requirements for organic products that suppliers must fulfill.

Use FAIRS.To Be Sure

FAS provides detailed reports on regulations for exporters in many target markets, including Japan. You can access these documents, called Food and Agriculture
Information Reports (FAIRs), from the FAS home page: www.fas.usda.gov/itp/ofsts/fairs_by_country.asp

The author is an agricultural specialist
at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan. 
Tel.:(011-81-3) 3224-5102;
Fax: (011-81-3)3589-0793; 
E-mail: agtokyo@fas.usda.gov

The Dutch Taste for “New World” Wines Grows
By Wendalin Kolkman

U.S wine sales are gaining momentum in the Dutch market, and demand is expected to continue
to grow. Dutch per capita wine consumption is rising, and younger consumers seem willing to give American wines a try. As a result, U.S. wine consumption in the Netherlands is rising slightly, taking some market share from traditional suppliers such as France, Germany, Italy and Spain. While U.S. wines can compete in both price and quality, they still have to overcome lingering consumer perceptions that they are inferior to European wines.
French wines dominate the Dutch market, with a 53-percent market share.
However, the market share of U.S. wines increased 31 percent from 1999 to 2000 and now stands at 1.7 percent. More and more frequently, U.S. wines are found on liquor store and supermarket shelves.

Consumption Trends

In the Netherlands, wines are consumed primarily at home. An increasing number of Dutch consumers drink wine during dinner. Wines are also consumed in place of beer and spirits, reducing sales of those items.
The number of Dutch who drink wines on special occasions increased from 3.3 million in 1978 to 9.2 million in 2000.
Therefore, wine is evolving from its perception as an elitist beverage to a generally popular drink. Dutch per capita wine consumption reached 18.8 liters per person in 2000. In comparison, U.S. per capita wine consumption is about 7 liters. By 2005, forecasters expect Dutch consumption will rise another 5 percent, with an increasing demand for a higher quality product.
According to Jacqueline Snoeker, wine manager for supermarket chain Albert Heijn (owned by supermarket giant Ahold), the Dutch drink more red wines than white because of the cool climate. In addition, the Netherlands is a meat-eating country, and red varieties are traditionally chosen to accompany meat entrés. Red wines also are preferred with Dutch cheeses and sau-sages, which are often served during cock-tail hours. White wines and rosé or blush wines are preferred at the increasingly popular outdoor cafés. Rosé demand increased 20 percent from 2000 to 2001.
Many consumers in their twenties and thirties are breaking away from the drinking patterns of their parents and grandparents and seem eager to try U.S. wines at store promotions and wine festivals. The mainstream market remains more difficult to crack.
However, consumer studies show that about 75 percent of Dutch customers do not know which wine they are going to purchase when they enter a supermarket or liquor store. Consumers often have only a preference for red or white wine.

Prices and Production

The Dutch seem to be willing to pay higher prices for their wines, if they are sold on the quality. Rising incomes, greater knowledge of wines and a willingness to experiment with new varieties have led to an exploration of U.S. wines. German wines have low prices, and also an image of low quality.
Dutch wine production is minuscule, so most wines are imported. With more and more people drinking wines, the prospects for wine companies in the Netherlands are bright.

Trade Regulations

The United States and the European Union (EU) are currently negotiating a bilateral agreement on wine. Discussions have focused primarily on differences in wine-making practices and the use of generic names such as burgundy or champagne.
Many U.S. vintners are moving away from with the variety making up the larger share of the content topping the list.

Trade Trends

While U.S. wines face stiff competition in the Netherlands from European and even South African wines, they are making gains.
The growth in recent years is partly due to greater sales of American wines in Dutch supermarkets and liquor stores, as well as U.S. wineries increasingly using the Netherlands as their distribution center for the entire West European market.
Currently, more than 50 Dutch importers handle U.S. wines, and more than 100 U.S. wineries are represented in the Dutch market. About 600 different U.S. wines can be bought in the Netherlands.
An estimated 95 percent of U.S. wine exports to the Netherlands originate from California, and the state´s winemakers are extremely active in promoting their products here. The Wine Institute of California´s European office is located in Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands, and every year this office participates in tastings and festivals using European geographic labels. The United States hopes the result of these negotiations will be reduced tariffs and subsidies.
Any U.S. wine exported to EU countries must be accompanied by documentation that certifies its geographic origin and its fulfillment of EU standards. EU labeling regulations allow a U.S. wine to be blended from two vine varieties, provided the wines are made exclusively from those vines. 

Both varieties must be listed using the same print, throughout the country to promote U.S. wines. For example, in March 2001, the Institute organized a California Wine Festival that attracted more than 55 Dutch wine importer companies eager to sample what California has to offer.
Rising consumption and limited production mean that the prospects for wine exporters in the Netherlands remain extremely bright. With effective packaging, good quality and competitive prices, U.S. wines are set to claim an increasing share of the market.

Labeling Requirements
• The word “wine”
• Geographic origin
• Net contents of the bottle, in milliliters, centiliters or liters
• Importer or bottler in the EU
• Country of origin
• Alcohol content
• Product identification number 

The author is an agricultural marketing specialist at the U.S. Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands.

Tel.: (011-31-70) 310-9305;
Fax: (011-31-70) 365-7681;

 E-mail: agthehague@fas.usda.gov


French wines producers chart new export estrategy.
To regain sales lost due to increased competition from Argentina, Australia and Chile, French wine growers are developing strategies to stop the erosion of their share of the world wine market. The French share of world market volume decreased from 29 percent in 1990 to 22 percent in 2000.

The French Wine Producers Organization (ONIVINS) reported that one problem is thelack of an export strategy for some small to medium-size wine producers and companies.

Korean market for pet food looking good .
The Korean market for pet food has increased 600 percent over the past 10 years, as pet ownership–mainly of dogs–has become more common, and pet owners more frequently buy commercial food. The United States supplied 64 percent of the $14 million in pet food imported by Korea in 2000. 

Over the next few years, the pet food market is expected to grow 15 to 20 percent annually, and U.S. products have an opportunity to take a bigger bite of the market.

MIATCO take Illinois Governor´s Export Award
Illinois Governor George H. Ryan has chosen the Mid-America International Agri-Trade Council (MIATCO) as a recipient of the State’s Export Award for the year 2001. During 2001, MIATCO raised more than $500,000 in matching funds to help Illinois agricultural companies export their products. 

The group’s return-on-investment for each promotional dollar spent has been an impressive $146.

Market for Ice Cream business constantly improving in Korea
The market for imported premium ice cream in Korea has grown by an average of 80 percent annually over the past 10 years. The United States dominates this small but dynamic market, with over $5 million in sales to Korea in the year 2000. The hosting of the World Cup soccer games in 2002 should provide a platform for continued strong growth in the ice cream market.

International scientific cooperation benefits Iowa
Iowa State University researchers are collaborating with overseas scientists to help solve mutual food, agricultural, environmental and trade-related problems under the FAS-funded Scientific Cooperation Research Program.

Among these projects, Iowa State University is working with scientists in New Zealand on an innovative approach to reduce the use of stored feed by having livestock graze on corn crop residues. This could save cattle producers in Iowa over $140 million annually. The University is also cooperating in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture to identify natural enemies of the costly potato beetle.

Memo to Argentina: Dollarize or Die.


THE ONLY VIABLE alternative is to dollarize. Dollarization means that the dollar would become the sole legal tender of the realm. Panama, Ecuador and El Salvador are already dollarized. Every Argentine peso would be converted to dollars, perhaps at the current one-to-one rate. Then again, Economy Minister Domingo Cavallo might use the opportunity to engineer a quickie devaluation, setting the conversion rate at 1.25 (or higher).

Critics of dollarization maintain that Argentina’s existing fast tie to the strong dollar decked the economy. The dollar began gaining strength against Europe and Asia in April 1995, rising about 40 percent against Europe and 30 percent against the yen. In 1998 neighboring Brazil floated its currency, the real, which has since been cut in half against the dollar, dealing a further blow to Argentina’s competitive standing as an exporter. But Argentina’s Achilles’ heel was not a strong peso. It was government spending greatly outpacing revenue collection, creating the need for chronic new borrowing.
        Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund played the role of an enabler by treating periodic cash-flow droughts with billions of dollars in rescue packages. Argentina could have gotten better economic advice from Mr. Micawber, one of Charles Dickens’s characters, who advised young David Copperfield, “If a man had twenty pounds a-year for his income, and spent nineteen pounds nineteen shillings and sixpence, he would be happy, but that if he spent twenty pounds one he would be miserable.”
       Argentina would benefit from dollarization in many ways. Handcuffs would be placed on the central bank so it could not engineer a Latin American-style hyperinflation by printing money. All currency risk would disappear. That would bode well for the future course of interest rates. A presumed third advantage would be an end to the ridiculous practice of provincial governments’ issuing their own currency.
        Going against this is the total forfeiture of control over monetary policy. Argentina is well warned that Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan’s concerns end at U.S. borders. But a central question is whether the Federal Reserve can avoid having to take responsibility for Latin American bank supervision. Like it or not, crises of any sort in the dollarized zone would adversely affect the value of the dollar.
        In theory, dollarization could catch on further. If Argentina takes the step, other Central and Latin American countries might follow, though it is hoped not as deathbed converts. Still, crisis—not political consensus, as was the case with the euro—will be the likely mother of a dollarized hemisphere.


I.M.F. Gives Budget-Cut Order to Argentina.

Reuters / NY Times

A fund spokesman, David Hawley, said there were "fruitful discussions" with Domingo Cavallo, Argentina's economy minister, but that specific cuts were not proposed.

News reports in Argentina suggested that the cuts could total about $4 billion, nearly 10 percent of the total spending foreseen in the country's draft 2002 budget bill.

Crisis-ridden Argentina was cut off from the monetary fund this week when the fund said it could not approve a vitally needed $1.3 billion December loan payment over issues related to the 2002 budget, further raising fears that the country would default on its $132 billion debt.

With local industries crumbling and unemployment surging above an estimated 20 percent, gathering the congressional support needed to make the cutbacks will be difficult. And despite widespread fears that the debt crisis might lead Argentina to devalue its peso currency, which would instantly bankrupt thousands of people, popular backing for further austerity is also very thin.
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