The UK fresh produce industry celebrated its strong trading relationships with the People’s Republic of China at the 66th Fresh Produce Consortium Annual Dinner on Saturday 4 February 2012, held at The Savoy, London, with sponsors The China Chamber of Commerce of Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products (CFNA) and Anglia Business Solutions Ltd.
In his address FPC President Jim Rogers said: “This spectacular occasion is a partnership of two great nations. In September last year we were delighted to host a delegation from China which paid a short visit to the UK to understand in greater detail our industry, and the way in which we operate. We were impressed with the keen interest from our Chinese colleagues to increase exports to the UK and in turn we were interested to understand more about the desire to increase imports from the UK to China.”
The guest of honour was His Excellency MR LIU Xiaoming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the UK, who recalled that the first agricultural product shipped into the UK was tea in 1637. In recent years fresh produce has been a fast growing component in China’s trade with Britain. However, it only takes up a small percentage in China’s total agricultural trade. As China has vast and highly productive agricultural resources, His Excellency MR LIU Xiaoming believes that there is a great potential for China-UK trade in fresh produce. “Agricultural trade can become a new boost in China-UK economic ties,” he pointed out.
Currently Chinese fresh produce represents 0.3 per cent of the UK’s total fresh produce imports (27.4 thousand tonnes), and the UK accounts for 15 per cent of China’s total fresh produce exports to the European Union.
Around 318 tonnes of fresh produce are exported to China from the UK, which is 8 per cent of the EU’s total fresh produce exports (4,000 tonnes) to China.
Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium commented: “There is a great opportunity for both nations to increase trading opportunities in fresh produce. We look forward to taking a delegation of FPC members to China this summer to strengthen trading networks between our nations and help to develop long-term partnerships of mutual benefit with the support of FPC and CFNA.”
The UK Government is keen to support UK growers and suppliers to increase their exports and has recognised the potential for the British food and drinks sector in its recently published UK Exports Action Plan, which includes the FPC’s visit to China.