The 2nd Meeting of China-CEEC Ministers of Agriculture was held in Brdo, Slovenia on 25 August 2017. Minister Han Changfu led a delegation to the meeting, and agriculture ministers of Slovenia and Estonia and other 14 Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) attended the meeting.
The Meeting, highlighting the importance of food chains at local and global level, is an integral part to follow up on the consensus reached at its 1st Meeting held in Kunming, China in 2016.
During the speech session, agriculture ministers of CEEC fully recognized the 16+1 (China-CEEC) agricultural cooperation mechanism and highly appreciated the fruitful achievements of agricultural cooperation with China.
The Meeting adopted the Brdo Joint Statement of the Meeting of China-CEEC Ministers of Agriculture, elaborating on the great attention of all sides towards establishing fair agricultural trade systems and safeguarding farmers’ interests in global value chains.
The Joint Statement emphasized that alignment will be promoted between the 16+1 agricultural cooperation and China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
In his speech, Minister Han noted that since the unveiling of the Belt and Road Initiative by President Xi Jinping in 2013, over 100 countries and international organizations have vowed support for and participated in the Initiative. Poland, Serbia and 6 other countries in the Central and Eastern European region have signed MOUs on jointly building the Belt and Road with China, creating historic opportunities for agricultural cooperation and the 16+1 cooperation as a whole.
Minister Han said that China and CEEC are highly complementary in markets as each enjoys unique agricultural resources, thus strengthened 16+1 cooperation serves the interests of all. The MOA is willing to work with agriculture ministries of all CEEC to harmonize the 16+1 cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative and translate cooperation demands of all parties into concrete cooperation projects.
Minister Han shared China’s successful experience in safeguarding food security: firstly, enhance overall food productivity and sustain the grain output at over 600 million tons for 4 consecutive years; secondly, empower farmers by incentivizing their production and guaranteeing their returns; thirdly, advance reform of the food distribution system and continue improving market-oriented pricing mechanism; fourthly, leverage food import by maintaining moderate import of premium agricultural products to enrich options for Chinese consumers on the basis of basic self-sufficiency.
Minister Han said that the MOA is willing to enhance 16+1 cooperation as follows in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative: firstly, tighten cooperation in food security by organizing related policy symposia and fora and establishing a number of science and technology cooperation centers or joint laboratories; secondly, boost cooperation in agricultural trade and investment, turn the first 16+1 agricultural cooperation demonstration park into a great success, and jointly build agro-processing parks; thirdly, intensify cooperation in agricultural trade by strengthening brand effects of premium agricultural products, enlarging the number of exporters and agents, and developing agriculture e-commerce.
During the Meeting, Minister Han had an in-depth discussion with Mr. Dejan Židan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of Slovenia, and held meetings with agriculture ministers of Bulgaria, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania and Albania, reaching broad consensus on deepening multilateral and bilateral agricultural cooperation under the 16+1 framework.