The Slovenia Times

China and CEE countries for boosting cooperation


The ministerial conference of the 12th Agro-trade and Economic Cooperation Forum in the 16+1 initiative discussed the importance of food chains at the local and global level.

Addressing reporters after the meeting, Slovenian Agriculture Minister Dejan Židan and his Chinese counterpart Han Changfu declared it a success.

Židan referred to the statement, passed unanimously by the ministers and their deputies, which talks about deepening of ties, importance of food safety and standards, and protection of farmers.

"The involvement in the group is very much in Slovenia's interest. This cooperation is producing results at bilateral and multilateral levels," Židan said, mentioning a 84% growth in Slovenia's exports to China in 2016.

Han spoke of "great potential" for cooperation between China and Central and East European countries, listing proposals for further cooperation but also underscoring the need for food safety.

"With that goal in mind we'll support even more forums on safe food and we'll establish joint laboratories and discuss food processing technologies," the Chinese minister said.

He also talked about boosting investment opportunities in agriculture, mentioning a zone in Bulgaria within the 16+1 initiative.

Han also called for stimulating Chinese food sales in Europe and the other way around, noting the much improved logistics.

Bulgarian Minister Rumen Porodzanov, who heads the 16+1 coordination on agriculture, said that several coordinating mechanisms had been set up to enhance cooperation between the 17 nations.

He said that some of the countries had set up their pavilions in China, and that it was agreed to set up a demonstration zone in Bulgaria to boost research activities.

The statement signed today calls for accelerating cooperation in sustainable agricultural production, processing and scientific research.

It also urges speeding up ongoing procedures to acquire permits for trade in farming products within the 16+1 countries, and a further boost in mutual investment and trade, also via business events and international trade fairs.

The forum will continue tomorrow with a business conference at the sidelines of the 55th international agriculture and food fair in Gornja Radgona.

The 13th forum will be hosted by Lithuania next year.


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