Agricultura y Desarrollo Rural

EU, China to cooperate on food, agriculture and biotechnology research

EU, China to cooperate on food, agriculture and biotechnology research

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EU, China to cooperate on food, agriculture and biotechnology research

The EU and China have launched today the first EU-China flagship initiative for research and innovation with the signature of a Letter of Intent on Research and Innovation Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology (FAB) between the European Commission and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS). This new initiative will ensure concrete, substantial and balanced joint research and innovation cooperation activities on selected priorities of common interest. It was announced during the 1st EU-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue (see joint statement).

This Letter of Intent was signed on the European Commission side by: D. Cioloş responsible for Agriculture and Rural Development; M. Geoghegan-Quinn, in charge of Research, Innovation and Science; T. Borg responsible for Health; and J. Potocnik in charge of the Environment. On the Chinese side, it was signed by Li Jiayang, President of the CAAS and Vice-Minister of Agriculture.

The Letter of Intent will pave the way for an ambitious strategic long-term partnership in the fields of Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology, building on the long-standing EU-China research and innovation cooperation, within the overall context of the Scientific & Technological Cooperation Agreement.

Cooperation between the EU and China in agriculture and rural development has developed in the last few years. In June 2012, Commissioner Cioloş signed the EU-China Cooperation Plan for Agriculture and Rural Development with the Chinese Minister of Agriculture, Mr Han Changfu. This Letter of Intent is therefore seen also as a further enhancement of the Agricultural Cooperation Plan signed in 2012 where agricultural research was already included as a key area for future cooperation.

Under the terms of the Letter of Intent, the EU and China will:

  • Harness their respective Research and Innovation Programmes (EU Horizon 2020 and ASTIP - Chinese Agricultural Science and Innovation Programme) to increase funding and improve mechanisms for cooperation;
  • Design and implement joint and coordinated research programmes and support joint collaborative research projects and activities based on identified common challenges and shared objectives;
  • Reinforce their position of searching for innovative solutions to address the common challenges of global food security, quality and safety and help in finding a sustainable model of agriculture, developing a sound bio-economy and, ultimately, improving their trade relations;
  • Work on the following priority areas of common interest:
    1. food related science including food waste,
    2. sustainable agriculture, including integrated pest management and bio-control, low-input and organic farming systems, water and soil management,
    3. animal health and sustainable livestock production systems,
    4. urban agriculture to contribute through urban greening to the Urbanization Partnership,
    5. biotechnology, including new sources of biomass.


Background information

A bilateral thematic experts’ meeting took place in Beijing on 10-11 October 2013, organised by the DG for Research and Innovation and the DG for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission together with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) and the China Agricultural University (CAU). The main objective of the seminar was to contribute to developing an EU-China Food, Agriculture and Biotechnologies Strategic Agenda and to define an EU-China research and innovation flagship initiative. This very fruitful seminar saw the participation of more than 100 European and Chinese experts from research and industry, policy makers and stakeholders.

During his last visit to China in July 2013, Commissioner Cioloş met with a number of key Ministers, notably the Minister of Agriculture, Han Changfu, and the President of CAAS, Li Jiayang, and agreed to sign the Letter of Intent.

Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn and Mr Wan Gang, Chinese Minister of Science and Technology, signed a Joint Declaration on EU-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue at the EU-China summit in September 2012, in Brussels.

Scientific cooperation between the EU and China, including in the area of food, agriculture and biotechnology research, has been taking place since 1998, under the auspices of the Agreement for Scientific and Technological cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

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