Commission Midday Express, 12 June 2012
The European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş, and the Chinese Minister for Administration of Quality, Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), Zhi Shuping, agreed today in Beijing to open negotiations on a mutual recognition agreement in the field of organic food products.
China and the European Union (EU) will examine their respective legislations. Standards and controls applied to organic production will be assessed in order to seek an agreement which facilitates trade in the field of organic products and builds longer term cooperation in this area. EU exports of organic products to China increased significantly in 2011, with promising perspectives in the years to come. On the basis of the roadmap, a dialogue will start at technical level with the following objectives : promoting mutual understanding trust and bilateral cooperation in the field of organic agriculture ; working towards a mutually beneficial reciprocal arrangement on recognition of each other's organic laws and regulations ; holding technical discussions for agreeing the necessary steps needed to achieve the aim of mutual recognition in the organic field ; establishing regular contacts and communication concerning the respective legislation, technical standards and procedures in the field of organic agriculture.
The EU has already reached mutual recognition and reciprocity in the area of organic food products with the USA, Canada, Switzerland and Japan. Turnover on the EU organic market is estimated at 18 billion euros.
The EU has been a main importer of organic products coming from China for years and these imports are developing. The Chinese domestic market of organic products is now developing fast, with significant perspectives ahead. EU exports of organic products to China have seen a significant increase over the recent years. World trade value of organic products was estimated at 59 billion dollars in 2010 and its value could reach 100 billion dollars in the coming five years. Global organic production area is estimated at 37 million ha, of which 9.2 million in the EU, with an average growth rate of 10% over the past years, and 2 million ha in China, with a growth rate of 30% over the last years.