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Chilean salmon. (Photo: Salmón de Chile)

Last year, Chile exported salmon for USD 575 million to the Latin American market, representing an increase of 56.5 per cent year on year, according to statistics from the Directorate General for International Economic Relations (DIRECON).

According to the 2013 Report on Foreign Trade issued by DIRECON, Chile is currently the world’s second largest salmon and trout producer. The Aysen region accounts for 50 per cent of the total biomass and 60 per cent of the Atlantic salmon.

The report noted that the shipments of Chilean salmon to Argentina experienced an increase of 61 per cent, changing from USD 26 million in 2012 to USD 43 million last year.

Brazil also recorded a sharp rise: it imported products worth USD 472 million, 59.5 per cent more than in the previous year, when it had imported USD 296 million.

Chilean salmon shipments to Brazil accounted for 10.7 per cent of the total exports from Chile to the country, amounting to USD 4,434 million (3 per cent more than in 2012).

The Brazilian market is very important for Chile because in the last five years, exports have tripled, increasing from USD 154.8 million in 2008 to USD 485.5 million in 2013.

During that five years’ period, Brazil changed from receiving 6.5 per cent of Chilean shipments, to 13.8 per cent.

“Chile has done a great job in Brazil, and today we clearly have a comparative advantage in terms of distance from Norway,” expressed in this regard the head of the Undersecretariat of Fisheries and Aquaculture (Subpesca), Pablo Galilea.

“Brazil is a huge market that Chile should further develop,” added the undersecretary during an interview with Diario Aysen.

Meanwhile, Felipe Sandoval, president of the Association of Chilean Salmon Industry AG (SalmonChile), explained that belonging to the same region, “it makes it easy the process from the logistics phase to the commercial contracts.”

“The public-private campaigns seeking to position the brand Chilean Salmon and to encourage the consumption of this product in Brazil have also affected it,” added the leader.

Furthermore, he stressed that Brazil has the world’s largest Japanese community, and this community is a major salmon consumer.

DIRECON’s report also indicates that the Mexican market reported an increase of 31 per cent yoy: its purchases represented USD 60 million in 2013 compared with USD 46 million in 2012.

According to the figures provided by Subpesca, in 2013 Chile exported fishery and aquaculture products for USD 4,700 million, and out of this total, USD 3,500 million corresponded to shipments made by the salmon sector abroad.