On October 26, 2023, the Seminar on Beef Safety Management and Trade Cooperation between Europe and China was successfully held in Beijing. The event featured the participation of notable figures such as Ambassador of Spain, Rafael Dezcallar de Mazarredo; Oscar Rodriguez from the Ministery of Spain (MAPA), Director-General of PROVACUNO, Javier Lopez; Public Health Inspector of Spain, Clemente Cano Martinez; Wang Lin from China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association; and Dr. Huang Juhui, founder of Beijing Meisi Consulting Co., LTD, among other esteemed meat experts.
The European production model is a guarantor of the quality of European beef
Oscar Rodriguez from MAPA (Ministerio de Agricultura Pesca y Alimentacion) and Clemente Cano Martinez shared insights on various aspects of beef production and management in Europe, with a special focus on Spain.
In the Spanish market, the production of beef places significant emphasis on quality at the national, regional, and corporate levels. Spain adheres to the European production model, which encompasses three essential elements: animal husbandry, production, and comprehensive oversight of the entire transportation chain. In terms of animal nutrition, the European model prioritizes animal welfare and environmental responsibility, ensuring stringent monitoring and traceability throughout the production process, from the source of animal feed to slaughter and packaging. This guarantees that the final product meets the highest quality standards and complies with food safety regulations across various countries. In recent years, Spain has seen a notable increase in beef exports.
During the seminar, Zhao Xiaodan, Director of the International Division of the Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Bureau of China’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, also provided an overview of the quality and safety control measures in place for Chinese beef production. Currently, there are 1,009 beef cattle slaughtering enterprises in China, and beef production is projected to reach 7.18 million tons in 2023 China has enacted a series of crucial laws and regulations to effectively regulate beef production, strengthen the supervision of beef cattle slaughter, and ensure product quality and safety. China and Europe engaged in friendly discussions regarding safety management laws and monitoring of beef production.
Promoting European beef with the ‘Nice to Beef’ campaign in China
Javier Lopez, Director General of PROVACUNO, shed light on their organization’s role and the activities associated with the ‘Nice to Beef You’ campaign. This campaign, co-funded by the EU, is a collaborative effort between two of Europe’s most significant beef associations in terms of production – PROVACUNO in Spain and ASSOCARNI in Italy. Together, they are dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of European beef in the Asian market. PROVACUNO serves as the interprofessional organization for beef in Spain, representing the entire spectrum of the Spanish beef industry, from cattle farmers to industrialists and traders, with the overarching goal of defending the interests of the sector putting into value a premium product such as the European beef. Under the campaign, the two interbranches will participate in several exhibitions in China between 2023 and 2024, including the Import Expo CIIE this November and SIAL Shanghai in May 2024. In addition to organizing study trips in Europe and various seminars to promote European beef, it is hoped that these activities will facilitate a deeper understanding of European beef among Chinese professionals and consumers.
Rapidly growing beef imports in China
Driven by China’s economic growth and an increase in consumer demand, beef consumption has been on the rise, establishing China as one of the world’s largest beef consumers. Due to the growing costs in China’s cattle industry and the constant increase in demand, expanding beef production locally has proven challenging, leading to a significant increase in beef imports since 2013. In 2022, China’s beef imports reached a value of 17,757,921,300 US dollars, totalling 2,689,514.36 tons, reflecting a 15.3% increase from the previous year. The first eight months of 2023 also witnessed a 7.5% month-on-month growth in beef imports. Notably, the source countries for China’s beef imports have diversified considerably, expanding from 7 in 2013 to 27 in 2022, with the number of authorized export facilities from various countries exceeding 600. Several European countries have already initiated beef exports to China.
European beef from Spain holds substantial potential in China
The year 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Spain. Spain ranks as China’s fifth-largest trading partner within the EU, and conversely, China stands as Spain’s largest trading partner outside the EU. In 2022, bilateral trade reached a total of 5,141.4 billion U.S. dollars, demonstrating a 6.5% year-on-year increase. Spanish products have earned a strong reputation and popularity in China, thanks to the European image in the country. With regard to European beef from Spain, it offers an ideal solution for diversifying supply sources and enriching Chinese consumers’ options with safe and high-quality beef products. It is anticipated that through the ‘Nice to Beef You’ program, Chinese consumers will gain a deeper appreciation of European beef from Spain and other contributing countries.”
Photo credits: ©PROVACUNO/Organización Interprofesional Agroalimentaria de la Carne de Vacuno