Speech by Ambassador Li Chao at the closing event of Chinese Young Farmers Study tour of EU-China young farmer exchange programme

Your Excellency Ms. Anonia Gamez-Moreno,

Mr. Illar Lemetti

Mr. Luo Ming,

Distinguished young farmers,

Dear friends,

Good afternoon! It is my great pleasure to meet you here in the beautiful and peaceful old town.

I know that the Young Farmers had very tight schedule those days, Although it is a little tired in physical, but many Young farmers think it is a rewarding trip, they gained a lot of valuable experiences in the study tour. This is just the purpose that China and EU to set up the EU-China young farmer exchange programme. Through the communication in the excellent young farmers from China and EU countries, they enhance the mutual understanding, establish contact and cooperation, meet challenges jointly and share the fruits of development ultimately.

Issues relating to agriculture, rural areas, and rural people are fundamental to China as they directly concern our country’s stability and our people’s wellbeing. Addressing these issues should have a central place on the work agenda of Chinese government. At the beginning of the year, China released a package of policies under the "No 1 central document" of the year, charting the roadmap for rural vitalization. In order to complete the grand strategy, we should bring together all social forces and strengthen the talent support for rural vitalization. It is particularly important to cultivate and attract talents from all walks of life to join the rural construction.

At present, the Chinese government is implementing two-pronged strategies in terms of rural talents: On the one hand, cultivating modern professional farmers and strengthening new types of agricultural management entities. On the other hand, attracting various types of talents such as urban residents to start up business in rural areas, and let the rural areas become a vast space for talent. The 12 young farmers we have here today are excellent representatives of Chinese professional farmers. Chinese government will training 1 million modern professional farmers this year to improve their production skills and management skills.

In recent years, with the continuous improvement of the management system and supporting policies, China’s agricultural and rural development has gained major achievements. The comprehensive agricultural production capacity has been significantly improved, and the per capita output of grain has exceeded the internationally recognized 400 kilograms safety line for eight consecutive years. The level of agricultural science and technology is also continuously improving. In 2017, the contribution of China's agricultural science and technology exceeded 56%, and the number of new-type operators exceeded 2.9 million. The income gap between urban and rural areas has narrowed. Since 2009, the growth rate of per capita income of Chinese farmers has been higher than that of urban residents. Rural poverty continues to decline rapidly, from 2013 to 2017, rural poverty population has been reduced by 68.53 million. The level of rural development has gradually improved and the construction of an overall well-off society has steadily progressed.

Through those days visit, Chinese young farmers may have an overview of Estonian agriculture development mode, Estonian agriculture entities and agricultural education institution. Estonia has a good ecological environment and natural resources, and has a high level of agricultural mechanization. Most Estonian local agricultural products follow natural and organic standards, and therefore are deeply loved and proud by Estonian people.

With the implementation of Belt and Road initiative and the gradually mature of China and CEEC 16+1 cooperation mechanism, The economic and trade exchanges between China and Estonia have gradually increased and the bilateral exchanges in agriculture have entered a new era.

We have signed the action plan for cooperation in 2015. In 2016, Ministry of rural affairs of Estonia and General Administration of Quality Supervision of China had signed Protocol of exportation of baltic herring, baltic sprat and dairy products from Estonia to China, and from the trade statistics we can see that the shrimps, herring, sprat and whey powder of Estonia have entered into Chinese market now.

In 2017,The Certification and Accreditation Administration of China have reviewed one Estonian baby milk powder companies who want to enter Chinese market, I believe that Chinese babies will soon be able to drink the milk powder from Estonia. In the end of 2017, according to the request of Estonia that wish to export poultry products to China, the expert group from AQSIQ came to Estonia to investigate the whole production system of poultry products, related procedures are being implemented in steps currently. I know that some of the Chinese young farmers are very interested in the import of poultry products, our embassy will do our best to promote the bilateral work in order to make Estonian poultry food can be tasted by Chinese people. In the near future, we will work on the salmonidae, the honey products, and other Estonian high quality products together to promote the export of Estonian products to China.

In fact, Chinese market welcomes all high-quality goods from all over the world. Chinese market is an open and inclusive market. We remain committed to the basic national policy of reform and opening-up. And this year is the 40th year of the policy. At the recent Boao Forum, prsident Xi Jingping clearly stated that China’s door of opening-up will open wider to the world. We are ready to share opportunities of our own development, join hands with everyone to forge a global community for a share future, and make open world economy bring more benefits to our people and businesses. In the coming years, we will significantly broaden market access, create a more attractive investment environment, strengthen protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and take the initiative to expand imports. These measures reflect our strong commitment to free trade and steps of our own accord to open up the Chinese market. This November, we will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. It is estimated that, in the next 5 years, China will import 10 trillion US dollars worth of goods and services. So far, about 180 countries and regions have confirmed participation. I’d like to warmly invite Estonian companies take part in the Expo to present high-quality Estonian products and services.

Enhancing exchanges is the basis for mutual understanding and mutual trust. Although this time just 12 young farmers have the opportunity to join the programme, but they have represented several major types of agricultural enterprises in China. Although there are cultural differences between China and Europe, there are many common challenges in the field of agriculture. Hope this programme will bring you both some useful experiences and some new ideas for solving problems. I also hope that there will be more and more practical exchange programs between China and EU and of course between China and Estonia, through those exchanges we can further promote pragmatic cooperation.

Thank you !

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