China received its very first shipment of more than 70,300 bottles and ten different brands of the finest quality tequila from Mexico this August, after President Xi Jinping lifted a ban on the popular alcoholic beverage in a move that promises to strengthen trade ties between the two nations.
As a result, tequila producers in Mexico hope to make China their second largest market worldwide in a major trade deal that is already benefiting tens of thousands of Mexican families. Five different varieties of top shelf tequila are now reportedly being marketed in China.
“Mexican officials say they expect to send 10 million litres of tequila to China over the next five years,” writes the BBC. “A certificate of origin is applied to drinks produced in five Mexican states, including Jalisco, where the town of Tequila is located.”
The first shipment of tequila arrived in Shanghai, China, where ProMéxico CEO Francisco N. González Díaz, along with the Consul General of Mexico in Shanghai, Rolando Garcia Alonso, and Milton Alatorre, a representative from the Tequila Regulatory Council in Asia, formally presented Chinese officials with the first shipment of 100 percent agave tequila.
“Last year, $860 million was exported [by Mexico’s tequila industry], equivalent to 300 litres per minute,” shared González Díaz in a press release. “It is a historic day for the arrival of tequila to China. The exports are strengthening trade ties between Mexico and China.”
And the numbers don’t lie! According to the lastest figures released by Mexico’s tequila industry association, exports were up an impressive 70 percent during the first half of 2014, reaching $568.8 million. The U.S. showed the largest increase at 27 percent higher than the same period last year. In total, exports were just over 86 million litres, representing a 12 percent increase. To put that into real numbers, in 2013 Mexico’s tequila export market was worth nearly $1 billion – a number that is sure to be surpassed by the end of 2014.
“China’s consumption was also up,” writes the Yucatan Times. “The tequila industry association said exports increased 158 percent, to 39,214 litres.”
This fascinating beverage can only be called “tequila” if it is produced in one of the 181 municipalities in the five states of Mexico that are authorized to make this much-loved liquor. The tequila industry is a vital part of Mexico’s unique cultural identity and heritage, which has come to be recognized worldwide.
Following this summer’s new deal with China, 100 percent agave tequila is now available in more than 100 countries. According to the BBC, Mexico will also begin exporting pork to China in the near future, and efforts are continuing to make produce from Mexico available to Asian markets, including asparagus, avocadoes, lemons and onions.