Freshness from Europe in China to promote a joint development project fostering commercial relations between Europe and China

(Ferrara, 07 November 2016) The Freshness from Europe project was presented recently during the course of the “Understanding the dynamics of Chinese and European fruit and vegetable trade” workshop organized by Freshfel Europe and CIQA (the Chinese Phytosanitary Inspection Service) in Beijing. The workshop aimed at establishing a basis of shared knowledge for future commercial relations, understanding the respective production systems and, above all, the four essential pillars of the trade between the two parties, namely: market access, phytosanitary policies and the relevant requirements, food safety policies and the relevant requirements, and the specific procedures for the various different products.

The format of the workshop, very effective and highly admired, by means of talks delivered by two people and followed by discussions, highlighted all the important issues pertaining to trade between Europe and China with talks by Woo Huao, the head of the AQSIQ Biosecurity Division, Jerome Lepeintre, head of the Agriculture Section of the European delegation in China, Ms Li Li, the head of the Economic Crop Division of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture.

Italy presented the latest breakthroughs and developments in terms of kiwis, apples, pears and citrus fruit with a talk in the Business Case session devoted to the problems of trade and, above all, focusing on the presentation of the unique production processes for the products featured in the promotion with the Freshness from Europe project.

“We had an opportunity,” explained Simona Rubbi, in charge of opening new markets for CSO Italy, “to present a clear and analytic snapshot of the situation when it comes to trade in produce items between Europe and China, focusing on the excellent performance of kiwis, the expansion of the yellow kiwi and the enormous potential for developing the pear, apple and citrus fruit markets.”

“When it comes to citrus fruit,” explained Salvo Laudani, Marketing Manager for Oranfrizer, “the current state of the sector was clearly illustrated, requesting that the agreement between China and Italy, signed in January of 2016, be applied during the campaign currently underway and that in the future they include the possibility of transporting citrus fruit by air or rail in addition to by sea. This possibility,” Laudani was quick to add, “is essential in order to guarantee the arrival of a product boasting excellent quality and I am convinced that the Beijing workshop offered us an enormous opportunity.”

When it comes to apples and pears emphasis was given to the fact that the Italian Ministry had sent to the Chinese authorities an official communication in March of 2015 containing a request for the formal opening of export negotiations, but that this request has not been acted upon or even answered.

“We took advantage of the occasion,” explained Giulia Montanaro of Assomela, “to stress how important it would be to immediately begin negotiations regarding apples and pears jointly and with maximum urgency.”

In the final analysis, the Freshfel initiative organized in Beijing was in the widest sense successful, showcasing the attractive opportunities of an enormous market, but, most significantly, the need for frank dialogue and ongoing discussions with the Chinese authorities in order to enable them to fully understand production processes, pest and disease control systems, transport and logistics regarding produce.

“Freshness from Europe” is a three-year project financed by the European Union, the Italian Government and CSO, together with its members, Alegra, Apofruit, Assomela, Ceradini, Cico, Conserve Italia, Made in Blu, Origine and Oranfrizer. The project, continuing until 2018, has the goal of promoting and showcasing quality fruit and vegetable products grown in Europe. The project includes a number of important initiatives, including attending relevant trade fairs, a series of promotions in retail outlets, communication and PR activities, advertising campaigns, the creation of materials for retail outlets and the organization of events and meetings.