Policy workshop on China-EU agricultural trade

Agricultural trade between China and the European Union (EU) has grown significantly in the last decade. However, flows from China increased faster than flows from the EU, resulting in a steady bilateral agricultural trade surplus for China. Indeed, compared to other trading regions such as North-America and Oceania, EU is still a minor agricultural exporter to China. In order to discuss the challenges and prospects for future agricultural trade between China and EU, SOW-VU and the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI) organized a policy workshop in Brussels on November 14th, 2007, as part of the CATSEI-project.

The workshop was attended by about 25 participants, bringing together policy makers and traders. Chairman was Kees van der Meer (World Bank). Before the break the subject was addressed from the policy side (EU, OECD), after the break followed by the experiences of Chinese and European traders in their daily practice. Together, the contributions offered a comprehensive and lively overview of the field. Non-tariff barriers, especially food safety measures, and further quality requirements imposed by firms were emphasized as the main constraints on agricultural trade between China and EU, much more than actual tariff rates. Furthermore, the discussions confirmed that China will focus to a large extent on exports of horticultural products, whereas the prospects of European exports are probably better for specialized products than for large bulky flows, in spite of Chinaís increasing feed requirements. The findings of the workshop will be taken into account in the further elaboration of the CATSEI-activities.

The program of the meeting can be found here. A more comprehensive report will appear shortly on the CATSEI website. For a general introduction to the CATSEI-project: see the leaflet.