China and the Pacific Island Countries agreed here on Friday to strengthen their mutually-beneficial cooperation in the field of agriculture.
The decision came after a successful meeting held in Nadi, Fiji's third largest city, between China's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Han Changfu and his counterparts of the Pacific Island Countries such as Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu.
In the Nadi Declaration issued after the one-day meeting with the theme "seizing the opportunity of jointly contributing to the Belt and Road Initiative, advancing the practical agricultural cooperation between China and Pacific Island States", the ministers said that they discussed issues of common interest relating to agricultural development and adopted the Nadi Declaration of the Agriculture Ministers' Meeting of China and the Pacific Island Countries.
"We believe that China and the Pacific Island States enjoy a great potential for agricultural cooperation thanks to our mutual complementarity, and our further cooperation will be significant to enhancing peoples' well-being and deepening our comprehensive strategic partnership that features mutual respect and common development," the ministers said.
The ministers agreed to better align with each other's agricultural development strategies and plans, and jointly formulate the 2020-2022 Action Plan on Agricultural Cooperation of China and Pacific Island Countries, which will identify the direction and priorities for their agricultural cooperation, facilitate resource pooling, leverage complementary strengths, and promote shared growth in agriculture.
They also agreed to strengthen cooperation in agricultural technology and encourage and support agricultural research institutes in enhancing exchanges, building joint laboratories, jointly applying for funds from international organizations and the Chinese government, and carrying out collaborative research, with a view to serving agricultural development of China and Pacific island countries.
They agreed to expand cooperation in agricultural investment and trade. Upon mutual agreement, they will hold agribusiness meetings as deemed necessary in China and the Pacific Island Countries to build business cooperation platforms. Upon mutual agreement, they will encourage and support Chinese enterprises in investing in tropical crops, e-commerce, and logistics in the Pacific Island Countries, and expanding the export of local produce to China, so as to help host countries to extend agricultural value chains.
The ministers also agreed to strengthen South-South Cooperation (SSC) in agriculture with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Agricultural experts and technicians will be selected and dispatched to the Pacific Island Countries for technology demonstration and training with financial support from the SSC Trust Fund contributed by the Chinese government.
They also stressed the importance of fisheries cooperation.
"We will conduct fishery policy exchange and cooperation in regional fishery management organizations, step up fisheries resource and marine biodiversity conservation and capacity building, and jointly combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing," the ministers said.
They agreed to encourage businesses of China and Pacific Island Countries to conduct investment cooperation in fisheries to build infrastructure, develop mariculture and fish processing and trade, and increase value addition of the fishery sector.
They believed that the mechanism of Agriculture Ministers' Meeting plays a significant role in guiding agricultural cooperation between China and the Pacific Island Countries, and agreed to hold the Second China-Pacific Island Countries Agriculture Ministers' Meeting in 2022 in China.