On 5th December 2018, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) team had the pleasure of welcoming the People’s Republic of China’s Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and his delegation to The Consumer Goods Forum headquarters in Paris, marking another key step in strengthening GFSI’s public-private partnerships.

Vice Minister, Dongyu Qu屈冬玉, was accompanied by Maoqian Wang王茂前, Deputy Director General of the International Office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, and Licun Song 宋利存, Officer of the Chinese Embassy in France. Representing GFSI was Director, Véronique Discours-Buhot, Board Member, Pierre De Ginestel, General Manager/Chief Representative China, Yangying Xu, Senior Project Manager, Anne Gerardi, and Senior Technical Manager, Marie-Claude Quentin.

The 2015 memorandum of understanding between GFSI and AQSIQ-CNCA is evidence of the long, trust-based relationship between the Chinese government and GFSI, and encouraged Minister Qu’s visit to learn more about the initiative and explore potential opportunities going forward. The meeting covered multiple key topics essential to strengthening the public-private partnership between the Chinese government and GFSI.

Following a central government reform, the Ministry has gone through a restructuration process in the past months resulting in them overseeing not only agriculture but also rural affairs. This includes overseeing the department of marketing and information for these areas. The rapid development of e-commerce in China and its rural areas has led to an increased interest in inventing new business models focused on short circuits for production and distribution from farmers to consumers. The need for a marketing driving force and collaboration between key stakeholders to integrate the issues of smallholding farmers into these business models was highlighted.

The link between consistent supplies of quality food to consumers, smallholding farmers production, supply chain management, value chain, and marketing driving forces in China were also among the key topics, with a strong focus on how GFSI can add value to small farm holders in the country. In addition, the GFSI team explained the conception and use of the GFSI Benchmarking Requirements, the potential capacity building role of the Global Markets Programme for small farm holders in China, and the value of GFSI as a collaborative platform focusing on exchanging with the public, private stakeholders and academics for safe food for consumers everywhere.

Finally, an invitation to the 2019 edition of the GFSI Conference in Nice, France was extended to Minister Qu to take part in the largest collaborative conversation on food safety advancement where over 1200 food industry leaders from more than 50 countries are expected attend. The global GFSI Conference, which has become the meeting place for decision-makers from across the supply chain and around the world, presents an excellent opportunity for the Chinese government to engage in essential topics with key stakeholders.

GFSI thanks the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs delegation for their visit and looks forward to continued collaborations in the near future.

For more information, please contact the GFSI China office.