Quarantine cooperation along the 'Belt and Road'
issuedate: 2015-12-23 column: Industry News

The first high-level seminar on international inspection and quarantine cooperation along the Belt and Road took place in Chongqing last week.

A statement titled Enhance Co-operation on Animal and Plant Quarantine, Facilitating Economic and Trade Development was released adding to dialogue concerning animal and plant inspection and quarantine and further exploration of areas in which China and other countries along the 'Belt and Road' implement sanitary and shytosanitary measures, and prevent the cross-border spread of animal and plant diseases and epidemics.

Representatives from participating countries - Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Germany, Hungary, France, Russia, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Austria, Italy, Kyrgyzstan, the Czech Republic and EU delegations - carried out various dialogues and exchanges.

It was China's first multilateral cooperation and exchange activity carried out among countries along the "Belt and Road" since the government put forward the development goal and plan.

As the second largest exporter of agricultural products worldwide ($107 billion), the Netherlands was seeking a breakthrough with China at the seminar. The balance of trade for agricultural products between the Netherlands and China is favorable for the Netherlands. In 2013 the country had a trade surplus is $1.6 billion (including Hong Kong).

Guido Tielman, Consul General of The Netherlands in Chongqing said: "The 'One Belt, One Road' policy provides the Netherlands with an opportunity that we could possibly use our logistics edges to support logistics flows in China. Thanks to railways and waterways, we can avoid expensive and slow deliveries and embrace transport modernity. And there's still a lot we can do."

Jerome Lepeintre, Health and Consumers First Counselor of the European Union delegation said: "We are glad that this seminar is being held in China, for we'd like to see market access procedures are achieving simplicity, common standards and products safety foremost to ensure consumers' well-being and brands' reputation. In 2014, the food trade export and import between China and EU reached 15 billion Euros and this year we are expecting a 10-15 percent yearly growth after the 'Belt and Road' initiative."

The multilateral seminar will be held biennially, so as to further improve the cooperation and exchange mechanism in animal and plant inspection and quarantine, to enhance the consistency and coordination of implementation measures and to better promote agricultural trade.

Li Jianwei, head of China's animal and plant quarantine department, Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) noted that the "Chongqing Statement" contains eight terms, mainly to solve problems on market access, customs clearance and sustainable development, which would help to improve the cooperation and exchange mechanism in animal and plant inspection and quarantine between China and among the 'Belt and Road' countries.

He also said agricultural products from the countries were highly welcomed by the domestic market with good quality and reasonable prices.

"In the past 10 years, China has maintained a 19 percent yearly growth in goods trade with economic entities along the 'Belt and Road'. In the following five years, China is planning to import more than $10 trillion worth of goods, among which agricultural products like food, wood, meat, fruit and cotton will be in larger demand. " Li said.

Before the seminar, AQSIQ China hosted bilateral talks with Romania, Poland and other three countries, and negotiated on the inspection and quarantine of export food to China and on 38 agricultural products. Forty topics were covered including signed inspection and quarantine protocols on Poland's cowhide and sheepskin exports to China and Germany's pet food export to China. AQSIQ China is going to negotiate with Russia and Lithuania on bilateral trade and quarantine access for more than 10 products.

There are 26 countries and regions along the 'Belt and Road' covering more than 60 percent of the population, 29 percent of the economy and nearly 25 percent of exports in goods and services of the world.