home  › Business and economy

The Sino-Italian forum on food security in Milan attracts 300 Chinese companies

by  Rita Fatiguso

The Sino-Italian forum on food security was recently held in Italy as part of Expo Milano 2015 dedicated to Food and in proximity to the upcoming China Day, an Expo day dedicated to China.

Three hundred Chinese companies came to Milan, and, among these, there were some industry giants, like Yili and Bright food. Various issues were covered at the forum, while CCPIT and ICE agreed to programmed and concerted efforts within Italy.

Regulations were also discussed. In China regulations are particularly difficult for those exporting food products, while Made in Italy products travel at a narrow gauge caused by the market access rules.

In recent days, the Cnca (China National Certification and Accreditation) updated the list of dairy producers who are authorized to export. In Italy, there are already around 144 of these; for infant formula, a very important theme for the Chinese, there is one, Granarolo.

Many dossiers remain open in the food sector, and the tutelary authority of every decision in China is still the powerful AQSIQ, the authority which overlooks food security. Fresh pork meats and those aged for less than 313 days are at the top of the list of problems that need to be solved in order to render concrete access to the Chinese market.

The embassy, together with the ITA Agency, has organised an end-of-month visit in Italy with an AQSIQ delegation that would participate in the Venice Forum on meat-related food security. This comes two months after Vice Minister Carlo Calenda's visit in March to Beijing.

In the fruit sector, a protocol for the exportation of Italian kiwis to China was signed in 2009. The AQSIQ experts conducted an analysis on phytosanitary risks which gave positive results. The inspectors applied for a new inspection which should follow the drawing up and signing of a new protocol. For oranges, on the other hand, AQSIQ proposed to combine this inspection with that of citrus groves. Even in this case, they are planning the dates of the visit. The protocol for the exportation of Italian citrus fruits to China was developed on April 27, 2015. An inspection by technicians is expected in Italy this fall.

Rice is pending a response by AQSIQ that should lead to the signing of a first protocol.
For olive oil, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was already signed in March 2013, which was aimed at the training of AQSIQ personnel by Italian olive oil experts.

Regarding flour, the Chinese frontier has stopped the entrance of 425 vegetable products originating from countries which have yet to sign a Memorandum of Understanding or certifications for the exportation of these products to China. Italy knows this first hand, as its durum wheat flour has been blocked from entrance into China.