California Prune Board promotions in China includes a bakery chain's use of the prunes as an ingredient in pastries. ( Courtesy California Prune Board )

The California Prune Board, Roseville, is postponing a trip to China because of the coronavirus, but says exporters are committed to the market and will reschedule its visit when possible.

Members of the California prune industry planned to visit China in March, as part of the board’s spring Asia grower trip, according to a news release. With a U.S. State Department advisory to avoid travel there because of the coronavirus, the board followed the advice of representatives in China.

California Prune Board representatives plan to visit Japan, the largest export market for the state’s prunes, March 13-17, with stops in Tokyo and Osaka.

“This trip signified our continued engagement with the Chinese market despite the challenges, and after weighing out the risks for the health and safety of our growers, we decided to postpone our visit,” Donn Zea, executive director of the California Prune Board, said in the release. “We are thinking of our customers in China during this time and remain committed to this market.”

China remains an important market for California prunes, despite a 75% tariff placed on the fruit in 2018.

“The tariffs, along with the news of coronavirus, add to the complexity of the market situation but we believe the demand for California prunes will make a full recovery once the tariff issue is resolved,” Zea said in the release.

Promotions for China this year include sampling events and a mix of “influencer activity,” according to the release, as well as social media promotion, trade shows and prune-inspired products at a bakery.

The California Prune Board represents 800 growers and 28 handlers, according to the release.

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