China’s food trade with countries along the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) surged to 553.82 billion yuan ($76.10 billion) in the first eight months of this year, marking a remarkable 10.4% increase compared to the same period in 2022. This substantial growth, which represents a 162% increase since 2013, was announced during the inaugural conference on import and export food safety cooperation of the Belt and Road held in Nanning, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The conference brought together over 100 representatives and officials from more than 20 BRI nations, as reported by Global Times. Its primary objective was to establish a new platform for international cooperation and governance in food safety among BRI participant countries. During the event, a BRI food safety cooperation initiative was adopted, with a focus on deepening pragmatic collaboration, sharing supervisory experiences, and advocating for the creation of internationally recognised rules and standards.
China’s customs department has been actively engaging with BRI countries in recent years to enhance food safety governance. This collaboration has led to a significant expansion and diversification of cooperation. As of June 2023, China has signed over 200 cooperation agreements related to the Belt and Road Initiative, involving 152 countries and 32 international organisations.
These agreements have resulted in a substantial increase in the variety and volume of food trade, highlighted Lü Weihong, Deputy Chief of the General Administration of Customs.
Over the past decade, China has established customs inspection and quarantine cooperation with 171 countries and regions, along with nearly 400 international cooperation agreements regarding agricultural and food product access, Lü added.
This closer cooperation between customs authorities has enabled a growing number of unique and characteristic foods from BRI countries to enter the Chinese market. In 2022, China’s food trade with BRI countries reached 786.31 billion yuan, reflecting a remarkable 135.3% increase compared to 2013.—APP