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China and EU Experts Explore Prospects of Fruit and Vegetable Trade

November 13, 2016

At the recent 2016 Beijing International Fruit and Vegetable Exhibition, a seminar entitled “Dynamics of Chinese and European fruit and vegetable trade and SPS policy” was held to address the growing interest of participants in the fruit and vegetable trade between China and the EU. The symposium was co-organized by the China Entry–Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA) and Freshfel Europe to allow an exchange of views on the establishment of the relevant organizations in both China and the EU and the bilateral fruit and vegetable quarantine and food safety policy system. The seminar also discussed fruit and vegetable trade dynamics, industry analysis, and trade prospects between the EU and China.

Among the attendees were Ge Zhirong, President of CIQA; Wang Junbing, Secretary General of CIQA; Duan Xiaohong, Deputy Secretary-General of CIQA; and delegates from the Chinese Academy of Inspection and Quarantine, International Inspection and Quarantine Standards and Technical Regulations Research Center, and the CIQ divisions from Heilongjiang, Shenzhen, Hebei, Shandong, Fujian, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Xinjiang, Shaanxi, and Anhui. Wu Hao, Director of the Biosecurity Division, Department of Supervision on Animal and Plant Quarantine, AQSIQ, and Li Li, Director of the Economic Crop Division, Agriculture Technology Service Centre, Ministry of Agriculture, were invited to deliver keynote speeches。

The EU delegation included officials from the government, embassy officials, industry associations, and business representatives, as well as experts in the fruit and vegetable trade, including those from Belgian Fruit Valley, CSO, Unia Owocowa, Baywa, and Interfel. The seminar was co-chaired by Mr. Feng Chunguang from CIQA and Ms. Nelli Hajdu from the Freshfel Association of the EU.

Ge Zhirong, President of CIQA, and Philippe Binard, President of Freshfel, delivered the opening remarks. According to Ge Zhirong, “The EU is China’s largest trading partner, China is the EU’s second largest trading partner, and bilateral trade volume reached 568.55 billion USD in 2015. However, the bilateral agricultural trade, especially fruits and vegetables, is still at a low level. According to statistics, in 2015 China imported 19,000 tons of fruit from Italy, France, Spain, and seven other European countries, less than 0.5% of China’s total imports of fruits. China’s fruit exports to the EU amounted to 75,000 tons, accounting for about 3% of total exports. In the future, the fruit and vegetable trade between China and Europe has great potential for development.” Market access, phytosanitary policies and the relevant requirements, food safety policies and the relevant requirements, and the specific procedures for the various products were the four essential pillars that were discussed between the two parties.

Wu Hao introduced the inspection and quarantine system for fruits entering and exiting China. On the European side, Jerome Lepeintre, Head of Agriculture, European Delegation to China, introduced food safety policy in Europe. Meanwhile, Li Li discussed the development of the Chinese fruit and vegetable industry and the quality and safety system. Representatives from the Chinese and European fruit and vegetable industries also presented the opportunities and challenges facing the China–EU fruit and vegetable trade.

At the seminar, Italian delegates gave a presentation on Italy's fruit trade and the impact of the “Freshness from Europe” promotional campaign on China. They elaborated upon their key goals of strengthening the Italian kiwifruit in the Chinese market, exploring the future of Italian citrus fruit exports to China, investigating various transport modes, and bringing Italian apples and pears to the Chinese market via arranging negotiations as soon as possible. “Freshness from Europe” is a three-year project financed by the EU, the Italian Government, and CSO, together with its members, Alegra, Apofruit, Assomela, Ceradini, Cico, Conserve Italia, Made in Blu, Origine, and Oranfrizer. The project, which will continue until 2018, has the goal of promoting and showcasing quality fruit and vegetable products grown in Europe.

Through these events, China and the EU have fully exchanged their views on issues of mutual concern in the context of mutual respect and shared their knowledge and experience, while strengthening trust between the two sides and laying a solid foundation for further cooperation.

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