Second China–CELAC Ministerial Forum on Agriculture Convenes
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The 2nd China–CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Ministerial Forum on Agriculture was convened via video conference on Feb. 25. Tang Renjian, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, addressed the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech. Heads of agricultural departments of 27 CELAC members, UN representatives, and the Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN attended the forum.
Minister Tang pointed out that China and LAC countries have maintained close and friendly cooperation in agriculture, with total volume of China-LAC agro-trade reaching US$54.2 billion in 2020, up by 9.6% year-on-year. Such robust growth despite the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic evidenced the resilience and potential of the China–CELAC partnership. China’s shift to a new development paradigm featuring “dual circulations” and its commitment to broader and deeper opening-up is set to create more space and opportunities for China-LAC agricultural cooperation. China and LAC countries are comprehensive cooperative partners based on equality, mutual benefit and common development. Therefore, China is ready to strengthen cooperation with LAC countries to embrace a higher level of China–LAC agricultural cooperation in the post-COVID era.
Minister Tang made three proposals for boosting China-LAC agricultural collaboration: 1) better align development strategies through policy dialogues to make feasible plans for agricultural cooperation; 2) step up cooperation in agricultural S&T to boost high-quality agricultural development; and 3) expand agricultural trade and investment through promoting deep integration of agricultural industries and value chains. Efforts will be made to ensure that total volume of China-LAC agro-trade and China’s accumulated agricultural investment in Latin American and the Caribbean will reach US$100 billion and US$5 billion respectively by 2030.
The forum was co-chaired by Zhang Taolin, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of China, and Victor Villalobos, Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development of Mexico, which holds the rotating presidency of CELAC. The theme of the forum was “To bring the China-CELAC Agricultural Cooperation up to a Higher Level in the Post-COVID Era”. Participants shared views on opportunities and challenges facing China-LAC agricultural cooperation in the Post-COVID era, discussed ways to further cooperation in agricultural S&T, trade, investment, food security and human resources, and reached broad consensus. The forum adopted a core outcome document: Joint Declaration of the 2nd China-CELAC Ministerial Forum on Agriculture.
Representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, General Administration of Customs of China, and China International Development Cooperation Agency attended the forum.