California plums will be shipped to China this summer after more than a decade of industry efforts to officially enter the market.

Shipments had entered the country via Hong Kong, but were blocked over Chinese concerns about pests and diseases. Now plums from five San Joaquin Valley counties will be exported to China under strict guidelines and could reach 500,000 boxes this summer, and more as the industry launches marketing campaigns in China.

In 2004, China imported about US$456m in Californian farm products, and could surpass Canada as California’s top plum export market within a few years.