Serbian Agriculture Minister Branislav Nedimović signed the agreements with Zhang Jiwen, the vice minister and deputy customs commissioner-general at the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC), during the latter’s official visit to Belgrade.
“On that occasion, the [two officials] also signed an agreement on imports and exports of food products and food safety,” the Serbian ministry said in a statement.
Nedimović was quoted in the statement as saying that the latest agreement “is a strategic matter for Serbia within the field of agriculture”.
Export sales to begin in 2019
Under the plan, export sales of Serbian pork meat to China are to be re-established this year. The Serbian minister said he hoped that this would happen before an agriculture fair that is scheduled to take place in Shanghai this November.
“Minister Nedimović said [at the meeting with Jiwen] that the agreement on phytosanitary protection remains to be signed [by the two countries] and he expects that the first Chinese inspections [of Serbian pork meat] will take place in the coming months, and [Serbian] products will be made available to the Chinese market by the end of this year,” according to the ministry’s statement.
The Agriculture Minister said that, following the signing of the agreements, the next step would consist of informing the authorities in Beijing which Serbian meat industry players would be interested in launching exports to the Chinese market.
The GACC says it is a ministerial-level government agency that directly reports to the State Council of the PRC and oversees all the regional customs across the country.
It is noteworthy the last years have brought an intensification of cooperation between Chinese and Serbian meat industry players which spurred a number of new investments.
Chinese investors expand to Serbia’s meat industry
In late 2018, Serbian meat business Food Star signed a contract with China’s Golden Sea Pearl to launch poultry meat exports to the Chinese market. In the first stage of its cooperation with Golden Sea Pearl, the Serbian firm will supply about 50 tonnes (t) of poultry meat per month to Chinese customers. Food Star said it aimed to gradually double its capacity to about 50,000 head per month, according to Dragoslav Milisavljevic, the company’s owner. In the long-term, Food Star planned to export its entire production to the Chinese market, according to a company representative from Golden Sea Pearl who was present at the official signing ceremony.
Also last year, Chinese poultry meat producer Qingdao Rongxing Foods Co. unveiled its project to build a new logistics centre in Indjija, in Serbia’s north, as part of the company’s plans to expand its foothold in the European markets.