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Minister Židan: The first business deals as part of this visit to China have already begun

Hong Kong, 10 November – Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Dejan Židan considers his visit to China, which he concludes today, as very successful. He believes that the visit strengthened good political cooperation and yielded new opportunities for economic cooperation. Today wine growers already concluded their first business contracts.

(Report by special rapporteur Martina Kolenc, Slovenian Press Agency - STA)


Minister Židan believes that a political visit can provide new economic opportunities and that this also directly promotes business cooperation. It is characteristic, in particular, for China, that a relationship should be built systematically, step by step. "The first step is getting to know each other, the second is building mutual trust and, after this, in the third step business cooperation is opened. We are taking the third step now, as business deals are getting underway," the Minister explained to the Slovenian Press Agency.


The export of food products means an increase in demand for domestic raw materials resulting in an increase in their prices. Minister Židan has noticed this in connection with wine, where sale prices have improved over the recent years. Certain wine cellars have already established that they could sell more wine than they are able to produce.


"In China I also noticed that agreements were concluded between Slovenian wine cellars and direct Chinese buyers or distributors," mentioned the Minister. 


In practice, this has an impact on agriculture, too, since an increased demand means better conditions for the sale of farm products, which in the case of the winemaking industry means grapes. "In Slovenia, we are in a process where the price of grapes has begun to rise. This is the only possible way for us; we cannot endlessly increase our production since our natural conditions do not allow it. However, we can make our production even better, in some cases even boutique production, which means an improved price for final sales products and improved purchase prices for raw agricultural materials. This is the only way for Slovenia to win," believes Minister Židan.


Regarding entry into and domination of new markets the Minister is aware that this is a process that takes at least three years before actual agreements are concluded. However, he has noticed that certain wine cellars are already in the process of concluding agreements with Chinese partners. He expressed his satisfaction over the investments between the two countries since a Chinese company has already invested in supercomputer in Slovenia and individual entrepreneurs are concluding multi-million euro contracts, inter alia for ultralight aircrafts and other products.


"However, we must focus.  We do not have the capacities for extensive and significant cooperation in all areas. In Slovenia, we have high technological know-how in certain niche segments. China has a market and money, which is a good combination. The Slovenian embassy is focused on this, too," added the Minister.


He sees great opportunities in tourism, too, since this is extremely important in Hong Kong. The more than 7 million citizens of Hong Kong like to travel a lot. They travel to foreign countries three to four times a year. They seek exactly what Slovenia offers – a clean environment, experience, variety of environment and diverse culinary experiences.


In agriculture, Slovenia is currently focused on the export of wines and dairy products. There is a lack of powdered milk in Hong Kong, which Slovenia can offer.


After his six-day visit Minister Židan believes that political cooperation between the two countries was strengthened and that Slovenia's role in the 16+1 platform, which includes countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the People’s Republic of China, was also bolstered. Next year, Slovenia will organise the 16+1 ministerial and business meeting on agriculture. Minister Židan believes that this is a great political and business opportunity for Slovenia. "We also expedited the certifying procedures for Slovenian food products and were also promised a fast conclusion to the procedures for tinned fish, honey, honey products and certain types of meat," he added.


The two countries will also increase their business cooperation in forestry. Next year, a special web platform will be launched for the 16+1 platform, providing a basis for new business opportunities. "Hong Kong strengthened our relationships, which, at the level of executive authority, was almost absent in recent years. We agreed that over the next year their Minister will visit Slovenia with a large business delegation. In this context we will seek common business opportunities in trading, technological breakthroughs, and investments," added Minister Židan.


Today Minister Židan attended the opening of the largest wine fair in Hong Kong and during the course of the day he had several bilateral meetings with Hong Kong’s political management and certain other services, among others with the local food safety authority considered to be one of the strictest in the world.


The visit will conclude with a presentation of Slovenia’s superior-quality wines at a gala dinner, where the wines will be presented together with highlights from Slovenian cuisine, masterfully prepared by a team headed by renowned Slovenian master chef Janez Bratovž.


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