The 2020 China-CEEC Virtual Expo for Premium Agro-products was held in Weifang, Shandong Province on Sept. 17. Co-hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Expo highlighted the theme “Join hands to boost agriculture during COVID-19.” Zhang Taolin, Vice Minister of MARA, and Yu Guoan, Vice Governor of Shandong Province, attended the opening ceremony and delivered remarks. Ambassadors and diplomats from Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and some other Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) participated in related activities.
Vice Minister Zhang said that China and CEECs are highly complementary in agriculture with a sound foundation for cooperation, and leaders of China and CEECs have named 2020 as the “Year of Agricultural Cooperation in Multiple Aspects.”
China is ready to join hands with CEECs to alleviate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to deepen agricultural cooperation. Vice Minister Zhang put forward the following four proposals: 1) firm up the foundation for agricultural cooperation and enrich the contents of cooperation; 2) invigorate agricultural cooperation and make good use of new business models; 3) create an open and inclusive business environment and explore new growth areas of economic and trade cooperation; and 4) promote win-win cooperation with a special focus on cooperation of talents and technologies.
Grigor Porozhanov, Bulgarian Ambassador to China, delivered a speech on behalf of CEEC diplomats in China, while agriculture ministers of Greece, Hungary and other CEECs sent celebration videos to the ceremony. All CEEC repesentatives agreed that the Expo is a signal of China’s determination to further open its agriculture sector to the world. They also expressed their willingness to deepen agricultural trade and economic cooperation with China, and work together to combat COVID-19 and strengthen connectivities and communication to achieve win-win outcomes.
This year’s expo featured both online and offline events, including online and offline exhibitions, livestreamed promotions, seminars and other activities, in a bid to introduce high-quality CEEC agro-products to China and tap the potential for agricultural cooperation between the two sides. Nearly 100 enterprises from CEECs took part in the virtual Expo, and 11 CEECs desgnated diplomats to participate in livestreamed promotions, attracting more than 1.5 million online viewers.
The agro-product trade between China and CEECs was reported to hit a record high of US$730 million in the first half of 2020, up 8.2% year on year despite the pandemic.
(Photo by Wei Ke, MARA website)