An official delegation of agricultural and food associations from Canada visited China last week and brought more Canadian products to Chinese tables.
Led by Andrea Lyon, deputy minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), the delegation visited Chongqing, Shanghai and Beijing last week, holding promotion events and signing deals with local Chinese partners.
The delegation included 61 representatives from 35 Canadian companies and industry associations, and five provincial governments.
During the promotion event that was held last Wednesday in Beijing, AAFC signed a cooperative framework agreement with China's major e-commerce platform JD.com. A new Canadian seafood page will be launched on JD.com.
Under this agreement, over the next year, the parties will seek to increase the number of Canadian agri-food and fish and seafood products available on JD.com's online stores, and to increase visibility of Canadian products through promotional events on JD.com's online platform.
AAFC is the government ministry in Canada that provides leadership in the growth and development of a competitive, innovative and sustainable Canadian agriculture and agri-food sector.
The Canadian Ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques, Keith Colwell, minister of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Agriculture for Nova Scotia, and Feng Yi, vice president of JD.com, attended the signing ceremony.
"I am very pleased we are taking this important new step in building new opportunities for Canada's seafood industry as well as the value chain here in China," said Lyon. "This exciting opportunity is an excellent example of how Canadian and Chinese businesses are working together to increase sales for our mutual agricultural and seafood industries."
She added: "But our relationship runs deeper than dollars. We collaborate on a whole range of levels -- regulatory, academic, technical, policy and agricultural development."
This year marks the 45th anniversary of Canada-China diplomatic relations.
"Canada's laws and regulations provide world-class food safety, crop and livestock production systems," said Saint-Jacques. "Our trading relationship benefits both of our countries. It creates jobs, and provides our consumers from Ottawa to Beijing with unprecedented quality and choice in their food."
Canadian company Prairie Orchard Farm Foods Technology Inc signed contracts with their Chinese partners Beijing General Station of Animal Husbandry and Beijing Hongguang Duck Farm. These signings follow the successful completion of the Omega3 egg feed trials and the commercialization of Omega3 eggs in China.
SINOVA Foods International, a Canadian supplier of natural and gourmet foods, and Hong Kong-based logistic company Shing Kee Godown Services Ltd, have agreed to establish a Canada Agricultural Trade Center for the promotion of Canadian food and beverage products in China
The Barley Council of Canada, Canada's national barley value chain organization and China Agriculture University's College of Animal Science and Technology signed an agreement that signals the beginning of bilateral cooperation to develop and establish a multi-year research study on the economic benefits of using Canadian feed barley in dairy, beef and hog rations to Chinese livestock producers.
On the visit to Chongqing municipal, Lyon said she hopes that Canada can find more cooperation opportunities with central and western regions of China on agriculture products.
Agriculture products account for about 25 percent of bilateral trade between Canada and China. In 2014 the total trade value of the two countries was C$5.3 billion.
Canada is the fifth largest agriculture products exporting country. In 2014, it exported 45 percent of its domestic agriculture products to more than 200 countries.
China is the number one consumer of vegetable oil in the world (31 million tonnes a year) and its number two importer (11 million tonnes a year). Canada is the primary supplier of canola to China, exporting 4.3 million tonnes of canola seed and 500,000 tonnes of oil in 2014.
China is the second largest importer of Canadian products. In 2014, China was also Canada's second-most important destination for fish and seafood, with exports totaling over $507 million.