T-MEC protects national berries

The genetic material of the raspberry, strawberry, blackberry and blueberry will be protected, with the agreement, by 25 years before being made public.

The growth of production and exports of berries could accelerate further with the seven-year extension that took place in the Treaty between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC) and Comprehensive and Progressive Treaty of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to the shielding of the genetic information of these strawberries.

"The benefit of signing the agreement (T-MEC) is that We will have more protection for all vegetables, with what we are signing in the genetic part, there will be much more certainty - and investment - "said Aldo Mares, president of the National Association of Berries Exporters.

In an interview, Mares explained that "when entering into the renegotiation of these treaties, Mexico joined the UPOV-91 act, and what is changing is that Mexico used to tell you: 'You are the owner of your genetics for 18 years' and with the new record, you agree to respect the genetics by 25 years before making it public".

In the wake of these changes in trade agreements, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry and blueberry would attract more domestic and foreign investment, foresaw Jacobo Cabrera, president of the Agricultural Council of Jalisco.

"With the previous concept uncertainty was generated for the owners of the genetic material of berries and other products and therefore did not plant in Mexico, but did so in Chile and other countries where there was greater legal security. Today the issue is strengthened, "he said.

On the other hand, Miguel Méndez, director of the Mexican company BQ Fruits Berries, explained that the advantage is that if you get a variety that works for the producer and that suits a region, you have the guarantee of investing in the long term. "Knowing that you will have exclusivity and exploitation of that variety for longer, allows you to think more in the long term."

In addition to the certainty given to the producer, these varieties have resistance to pests and allow greater shelf life, offering domestic producers an export perspective beyond the United States.

"For example, speaking of blueberries, you can send them by ship and arrive 22 days later to Europe and even then it is viable that they arrive to those markets", explained Méndez.

The presence of berries Mexican companies abroad have grown significantly in recent decades and in 2017 reached a record export of almost 2 billion, a share in the global market of 10.6 percent, according to the 2018 Agri-Food Atlas.

Currently, Mexico is the second global exporter of these fruits. External sales of cranberry grew 450 percent from 2013 to 2017; raspberry 144 percent; the strawberry 82 percent; and the blackberry 55 percent.

"The industry of berries brings a projected growth of 20 annual percent for the next 10 years, largely by the TPP11 and the agreements with Colombia, Peru and Chile, "said Cabrera.


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