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The Chilean Citrus Committee was formally created this summer, according to Antoinette Chauveau, general coordinator of the group. The Chilean Citrus Committee operates under the umbrella of the Chilean Exporters Association, known also as ASOEX, which is headquartered in Santiago, Chile. Citrus committee members represent about 70 percent of the country's export volume.

Meeting Oct 17 with The Produce News at her committee’s booth at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit in Orlando, FL, Ms. Chauveau said that Chile’s leading citrus exporters began working together on an informal basis about three years ago.

She said that the largest 20 exporters made a formal pact "to work together to improve their industry, to make marketing promotions and also to take on the big challenge to improve quality. They are working to make high industry standards" for the U.S. market.

The standards and quality programs are voluntary. She said that non- members are encouraged to join committee members in offering specific, high-quality standards to the international markets.

For Chile, the 2010 citrus export season “was very good,” she said. “We are increasing the exportations constantly.”

Juan Enrique Ortúzar, chairman of the Chilean Citrus Committee, gave a presentation on the group Oct. 15 in a Chilean fruit meeting held in conjunction with the Fresh Summit.

Mr. Ortúzar indicated that Chile’s citrus exports have grown on a steady annual basis since fewer than 10,000 tons were exported in 1995. In 2010 that total exceeded 120,000 tons. The one growth exception in the last 15 years was a slight dip in 2009, but 2010 exports exceeded the 2008 level by about 8,000 tons.

According to Mr. Ortúzar’s bar chart, the United States received about 76,000 tons of Chile’s total fresh citrus exports in 2010. Oranges and clementines each represented about one-third of the volume bound for the United States. Lemons and mandarins accounted for virtually all of the remainder.