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Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development Phil Hogan visited China in May 2018, accompanied by a business delegation of senior representatives from the European agri-food sector. The purpose of this visit was to facilitate exchange and agreements between European and Chinese businesses active in the agri-food sector, while building on and profiting from the existing presence of European agri-food products on the Chinese market. China was the second largest importer of EU agricultural and processed agricultural products in 2016, receiving 8.7% of all EU agricultural exports.
An important element of the visit to China was the opening of the SIAL 2018 fair in Shanghai, where the EU was situated in the Region of Honour with its own pavilion, focused on activities complementing the presence of EU countries at the fair. SIAL China is Asia's largest food innovation exhibition. Its 2016 edition attracted 101,134 visitors and 3,200 exhibitors from 67 countries. It is expected that 25 EU countries will be represented by national pavilions in the 2018 edition.
The objective was to give the accompanying European producers the opportunity to meet not only potential partners from the local market but also representatives of the agri-food sector from the whole continent. The programme of activities featured seminars on the characteristics of the local market and consumer trends, including e-commerce, distribution channels, retail visits, and business to business networking opportunities. The programme of activities for business delegates took place in Shanghai from 14-17 May, followed byu Shenzhen from 18-19 May.