Phil Hogan, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, is visiting China and Japan (see programme) in the coming days accompanied by a business delegation of more than 60 senior European agri-food executives representing key sectors in the EU trade with the two countries. As well as supporting a number of promotion events in Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo to help facilitate agri-food trade, the Commissioner will meet with the respective Ministers and national authorities in order to address common interests relating to agriculture and ongoing bilateral issues.
With China, discussions are likely to cover Geographical Indications, research and innovation, rural development and organic farming, and, with Japan, the state of play of the FTA negotiations. A number of sanitary and phytosanitary issues and other impediments to smooth trade flows will also be raised. The visit to Japan will end with the G7 meeting of Agriculture Ministers in Niigata.
The trip comes following the entry into force of new EU promotion rules for EU agricultural products, which provide an increased budget for promotion and a simpler application system. It also follows on from his visit to Columbia and Mexico earlier in the year, with a further journey to Viet Nam and Indonesia planned in the second half of the year.
"China and Japan are particularly important markets for the EU agri-food sector which have shown considerable growth in recent years. I hope that these promotion events will highlight the quality, traditions, and added value of our products, as well as our food safety and traceability guarantees, and stimulate further interest from Chinese and Japanese consumers in European food and drink", said the Commissioner ahead of his journey. "I look forward to building on our existing trade flows and showing that Europe is open to business, in particular for agri-food products. This will also be an occasion to take stock of the excellent cooperation in agriculture with China and Japan. My hope is that I can also make some progress on a number of hindrances to current trade." Subsequent to Commissioner Hogan's visit to Mexico, the Mexican authorities have re-opened their market for imports of pigmeat products from a number of Member States.
The Commissioner's programme foresees meetings with China's and Japan's Ministers in charge of agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary regulations, as well as trade. He will also be launching a "European restaurant week" programme in Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo, opening B2B meetings, and visiting a number of retailers/markets, as well as and field trips to local producers. Arriving in Shanghai (April 16-17), he will move on to Beijing (April 17-19) and thence to Tokyo (April 20-22), before travelling on to Niigata for the G-7 meeting (April 23-25). In addition to the Commissioner's programme, the representatives in the business delegation will participate in seminars on the local markets, as well as presenting European products.
China was the second largest importer of EU agricultural and processed agricultural products in 2015, receiving 8% of all EU agricultural exports. The main EU agricultural exports to China include infant food, pork, offal, wines and spirits, and dairy products. EU imports from China represent 4.5% of EU total agri-food imports (China is ranked 5). The main products imported are vegetables, preparation of vegetables and fruits, offals.
Japan was the fifth-largest importer of EU agricultural and processed agricultural products in 2015, receiving 4.1% of all EU agricultural exports. The main EU agricultural exports to Japan include pork, wines and spirits, cheese, chocolate and sugar confectionery and other processed agricultural goods. The EU imports from Japan mainly soups and sauces, vegetable products (vegetable seeds), as well as food and cereal preparations.