Increasing the exports of food and wood industry products and responsible use of water were in focus during the visit by Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä to Shanghai and Beijing on 15-18 May, 2018.
On the Team Finland trade mission of Finnish companies and the Government, Minister Leppä negotiated about exports and participated in events organised by the Food from Finland and Wood from Finland growth programmes.
The Finnish delegation also learned about the recent, quite extensive reform of the Chinese administration and the new government. The meetings convinced the Finnish representatives of a good future for the collaboration. Minister Leppä was happy about the interest in concrete cooperation between companies shown by the Chinese ministries.
“Finland is a very desirable partner for China, and we are being trusted. This means that there is growth potential in exports to China. Solid cooperation between the two countries enables us to focus even more on collaboration for the benefit of the companies”, Minister Leppä says.
“China is a highly competitive market where success depends on close cooperation between the government and companies”, says Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.
Finnish companies showcased their products at SIAL Food Innovation Exhibition in Shanghai on 16-18 May. Finland’s impressive stand at Asia’s largest food exhibition drew from our pure natural environment. The companies present were Linkosuon Leipomo, Fazer Confectionery, Fazer Mills, Laitilan Wirvoitusjuomatehdas, Lasso Drinks, Raisio, Santa Water Group, Stadin Brewing Company and Vanajan Keksit. The EU was an honorary partner for the event, and other EU countries also attended the exhibition to present their food expertise.
“Food business is an obvious growth sector, and the greatest opportunities are in exports. I was delighted to see how interested the Chinese are in our high-quality, healthy and safe food. Finland’s stand was busy indeed. Commissioner Hogan and myself were very pleased that the high standard of food hygiene in the EU and our efforts to promote sustainable food production were truly noted”, Minister Leppä says.
In Beijing Minister Leppä and the Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China Zhang Taolin signed an agreement on continuing business and research cooperation until the end of 2019. In projects such as those concerning oats and milk production and use of agricultural biomass Finland and China are learning from each other.
With Ni Yuefeng, the Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China, Minister Leppä talked about the market access of different products. Both ministers considered the electronic export certificate introduced for the export of milk products in December 2017 as an excellent and functioning example of good collaboration between the two countries.
Permanent Secretary Husu-Kallio visited the Certification and Accreditation Department of the new State Market Regulatory Administration of China. Finland was the first to introduce an electronic regulatory system for food, where the Chinese authorities have access to control data of export companies. The system has facilitated the approval procedure for Finnish pork exports. As an outcome of the visit, Finland and China will start negotiations on cooperation to enable the export of organic products.
On 17 May Minister Leppä opened the Finnish Chinese wood forum in Beijing. Over the past three years the exports of sawn goods from Finland to China have grown quite dramatically, reaching a total volume of 1.7 million cubic metres last year.
“At the meeting the focus was on higher value-added products, such as Finnish log houses, glue-laminated timber products for the construction industry, environmentally-friendly impregnated wood, and thermo-treated wood. Environmental criteria and traceability of wood are rising in importance in China, and this is where the Finnish companies must strike. Growth in exports must also be reflected in the price of wood”, Leppä says.
The forum was attended by about 150 forest sector experts and entrepreneurs from Finland and China. The Finnish companies present at the event to find buyers for their products were Arborealis, ER-Saha, Finnlamelli, HASA, Iisveden Metsä, Keitele Wood Products, Kuhmo, Lunawood, Luvian Saha, Multian Saha, Pölkky, Sahakuutio, SWM-Wood and Woodio.
In Beijing Minister Leppä met the Minister of Water Resources of China E Jingping. The topics discussed included ways to improve the recycling of water and introduce water purification solutions. The need to digitalise water resources management became the key theme of the negotiations. Finland has a significant role in the EU-China cooperation as well, with the European Secretariat of the China-Europe Water Platform hosted by Finland in 2018-2019.
In the Finnish delegation there were also representatives from the Finnish Food Safety Authority and Natural Resources Institute Finland.
Minister Leppä’s video greeting from SIAL exhibition (16 May 2018, in Finnish)
Inquiries at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry:
Risto Lahti, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 50 565 0424
Jaana Husu-Kallio, Permanent Secretary, tel. +358 400 291 910