Dacian Cioloş, Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, will visit China from Sunday, 20th March until Friday 25nd March to promote quality European food and drink products which carry Geographical Indications (GIs).
The Commissioner will be accompanied by a delegation of 30 top executives from food and drink companies from across the European Union, representing an enticing array of world famous products. In meetings with the Chinese administration, the Commissioner will also be exploring avenues for mutually recognising GI food and drink from China and Europe.
Commissioner Cioloş will also participate in business-to-government events on agriculture and GI’s, and officially launch the flagship EU- China Trade Project, one of the EU’s biggest ever trade programmes. Together with the business representatives, the Commissioner will visit Shanghai, Hangzhou, Suzhou and Beijing – including a visit to a region where the world famous Long Jing tea is grown – to learn more about China’s celebrated gastronomic traditions and discover the richness of rural China.
Ahead of the landmark visit, EU Commissioner Cioloş, said, “Our aim from this trip is to inspire an interest in quality products from Europe among Chinese consumers. We now have more than 3 200 registered food, wine and spirits products which have been granted special status as GIs because they have been entirely or partly produced in a given geographical area using recognised know-how and traditions. Unfortunately, awareness of their existence is often reserved for connoisseurs. I hope that our visit will help to change this.”
China has also a wealth of traditional products and Commissioner Cioloş will meet his counterparts in the Chinese government to discuss how best to mutually protect these appellations and promote their trade in the EU and Chinese markets. The Commissioner will meet leading members of the Chinese government, including Vice Premier (responsible for agriculture) Hui Liangyu, Agriculture Minister Han Changfu, Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, Minister Zhi Shuping of the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) as well as Vice Minister Fu Shuangjian of State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC).
Chinese cuisine is extremely popular in Europe. A study from 2006 indicated that Chinese and oriental food is the most popular foreign food in the European Union with a 42% market share, showing that there is plenty of enthusiasm for Chinese products in Europe. EU-Chinese trade in agricultural products has increased substantially in recent years – with EU exports in 2010 rising 50% for 2009 levels.
In Shanghai, Mr Cioloş will award a prize to some of the best chefs of the city at a cooking show where they will compete to offer original creations mixing European and Chinese influences. He will also announce a week of promotion of European GI products in several famous Shanghai restaurants.