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Almond Byte, March 2023: Gulfood Show and India Trade Conference, Great Britain Changing PEC

Highlights from the March 2023 Global Update from the Global Technical and Regulatory Affairs team at the Almond Board of California.


ABC participation in the Gulfood Show

ABC exhibited in the USA Pavilion at the Gulfood show in Dubai during the week of Feb 20. The USA Pavilion included 158 U.S. companies and associations including nine almond exporters. The show hosted over 5,000 exhibitors from 125 countries and was attended by over 2 million commercial visitors. Many of them expressed interest in almonds! It seems almond demand in the Middle East and across Africa is higher than ever. We had visitors from the beginning to end of the show waiting in line to ask us questions about the industry, particularly related to finding suppliers and technical information.

The entire region continues to grow, with California almond shipments to UAE increasing from $193 m in CY2020 to $310 m in CY2022. The FAS offices in Pakistan and Turkey sent delegations by our booth to discuss the market, market access issues and future cooperation opportunities. Other visitors included buyers and processors from Russia, Ukraine, Algeria, Cyprus, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, etc. A logistics company from Dubai’s Al Ras wholesale market shared a google map link that shows how product moves from Dubai to Afghanistan and other ports in the area. Check it out here.

FAS/Dubai also led a tour of the DMCC Tea and Coffee Processing Center at the local Port’s FTZ. DMCC is partially owned by the UAE government and has years of experience in trading/processing gold and diamonds. DMCC plans to expand its operations to provide services to other sectors, including tree nuts, in the future.

ABC – India Trade Conference

During the week of February 14, the annual ABC trade conference was held in India. More than 240 importers and processors attended the meeting this year. Starting with a regulatory update, discussions focused on the greatest impediments to the market which were identified through a survey of Indian trade. Retaliatory tariffs and FSSAI regulation were among the key concerns. The need to form alliances and engage through Indian partners was highlighted as an important means of addressing concerns.

Considerable interest was expressed in the crop status, particularly insights from a California handler panel. While everyone is waiting to see how the California crop progresses, there was considerable optimism related to the long-term growth potential of the India market. This carried into the presentation of ABC marketing initiatives in India. Building on a strong tradition and culture, programs are expanding to encompass more health influencers. Other opportunities exist in ingredients, which are a growing sector for almonds, as well as expanding into rural India.

Great Britain PEC Certificate

Great Britain (GB) is in the process of reviewing/revising regulations that it retained from the European Union (EU) post-Brexit. This includes EU regulation 2015/1949, which governs the Pre-Export Check (PEC) program that recognizes California Almonds for a reduced inspection rate upon arrival in the EU. ABC has been made aware of a GB-specific version of the Pre-Export Check certificate to accompany California almond exports to Great Britain.

ABC contacted both UK Port Authority and FAS staff to ensure no shipments are detained pending an agreement between GB and USA. USDA has advised that UK authorities have agreed to accept the current PEC certificate while the situation is being reviewed. Optimally, UK import control authorities will agree to use the existing PEC system with slight modifications to satisfy GB requirements. We will update the industry once a final decision is agreed upon. If any handlers have their shipments impacted, please reach out immediately to Abhi Kulkarni at ABC.