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Slovenia and China sign a memorandum on cooperation for the provision of food safety

Beijing, 17 May 2017 – Today, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia, Dejan Židan, started his two-day visit to China. On the first day of his visit he met with the management of the State Forestry Administration (SFA) and the management of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of the People's Republic of China. The purpose of the visit to China is to strengthen economic and other forms of cooperation between the countries in agriculture, the food industry and forestry. Permits for the export of food products of animal origin to China are also of key importance for strengthening the trade in goods. During his visit, the Minister, therefore, signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Food Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China on cooperation for the provision of safety during import and export of food products.

 

At the meeting with the Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of the People's Republic of China, Zhi Shuping, Minister Židan highlighted the excellent relations between the two countries, in particular with regard to the procedures for approving the export of Slovenian products to China. As is generally known, the People's Republic of China has recently approved Slovenian canned fish for import, while already last year the procedure for dairy export was completed. On its basis Slovenian dairies maintain successful business. The Slovenian Minister thanked his Chinese colleague for the cooperation to date, which has brought good results in the past two years. "It is very important for Slovenia that cooperation continues and we expressed our expectations that export procedures should also be accelerated for other products of animal origin."  According to the Minister, Slovenia aims at completing the procedure for honey and honey products' export as soon as possible. Honey and honey products are also important from the aspect of the project of proclaiming 20th May as World Bee Day. Apart from that, Slovenia expects that the procedure on the Chinese side regarding poultry and pig meat exports would be completed as soon as possible and is about to prepare a procedure for the export of other meat products, in particular canned meat. 

 

During the meeting, the two ministers also touched upon the issue of cooperation in science and education, in particular the cooperation between faculties, through the exchange of knowledge, practice and students in veterinary medicine and food safety. This cooperation will see the first group of 10 veterinary students from China visit Slovenia next year. China also proposed that their students from the food safety laboratory be part of the exchange. In this connection, Minister Židan recalled the example of excellent cooperation between two scientific institutes regarding karstology, of which he had already been informed during his visit to China last year. 

 

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Ministers also signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Food Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China on cooperation for the provision of safety during the import and export of food products, which had already been agreed upon during Minister Židan's last visit to China in November last year. The purpose of the Memorandum is to further strengthen bilateral cooperation and communication in order to provide safety during import and export of food products, to protect the health of consumers and guarantee unimpeded development of bilateral trade between the two countries. "We can be proud of our joint cooperation, which is a good example of cooperation between Slovenia and China, all with the purpose of meeting the interests of Slovenian food producers." 

 

The Slovenian Minister then met with the General Administrator at the State Forestry Administration of the People’s Republic of China, Minister Zhang Jianlong. The two ministers stressed the significant progress made in forestry since Slovenia assumed an important role in the field of forestry within the group of Central and Eastern European Countries and China (16+1), which is also spearheaded by Slovenia. In this respect, they highlighted the preparation of the platform for strengthening scientific and economic exchange in forestry among all the countries, which is nearing conclusion, and the establishment of a webpage to provide the basic platform. The ministers also discussed the preparations for the 16+1 Conference to take place in October this year in China, as China would like to involve Slovenia intensively in substantive and other operational preparations for the Conference.  The ministers agreed that the State Secretary and a group of experts in forestry would travel to China in July and participate in these preparations for the event.  

 

During the discussion, the Chinese Minister particularly stressed that Slovenia was a very friendly and excellent business environment, in particular as regards forestry. It is in this very field that China wants to contribute as much as possible to the increase in trade exchange. "We have always appreciated Slovenia as our friend; but today, we added to this friendship a legal framework; an example is seen in today's signing of the Memorandum and the earlier conduct of the 16+1 Forestry Initiative, which has even further strengthened our cooperation," said the Chinese Minister. According to Minister Zhang Jianlong, the Chinese market needs foreign wood products; since the wood industry in Slovenia is highly developed, in his opinion Slovenian products are perfect for the Chinese market, wherefore this field offers great possibilities for further cooperation.

 

In the field of forestry, the two counterparts also highlighted the importance of cooperation in science, education and research. Both considered input into scientific research and education as their common interest and a common objective. 

 

On Thursday, Minister Židan will continue his visit to China in Hangzhou. At the invitation of the Chinese Minister of Agriculture, Han Changfu, he will attend the international exhibition entitled "China International Tea Expo 2017". This event not only has a strong cultural and economic component but is also a promotional event reflecting the level of cooperation with individual countries. On the margins of the event the Slovenian Minister will also have a bilateral meeting with the Chinese Minister. 

 

 

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