Twenty-first Century "maritime Silk Road" and the international communication platform

CAEXPO Shoulders the Duty to Promote China-ASEAN Agricultural Cooperation

2023-03-27 14:43:59   By:China-ASEAN    Hits:

Written by Li Hongting / Translated by Xie Zongming

Agriculture is an essential part of China-ASEAN economic cooperation. China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO), as a crucial window for ChinaASEAN economic cooperation, has been promoting the improvement and upgrade of China-ASEAN agricultural cooperation for many years by organizing exhibitions, forums, and trade fairs, building an exchange platform for China-ASEAN agricultural cooperation. 

Nowadays, the agricultural cooperation between China and ASEAN has received fruitful results at the CAEXPO, with which the two sides can consistently enhance the trade of quality agricultural products and promote in-depth cooperation in more areas.

Agricultural cooperation flourishes in CAEXPO

 Agriculture is the cradle of a country’s economy. Since China and ASEAN established dialogue relations, the agricultural trade between the two has seen fast development. China is a significant agricultural producer whose products include a large varieties and are high in output. ASEAN countries are also producers and exporters of many essential agricultural products, which is the industrial premise for cooperation between China and ASEAN in this area. 

Agriculture has always had its place in CAEXPO, not to mention that industrial cooperation in agriculture is one of the critical areas that CAEXPO has been promoting. In 2004, the China-ASEAN FTA implemented the Early Harvest Plan, reducing the tariffs on agricultural products. At the CAEXPO held in the same year, a themed exhibition was set to demonstrate the FTA’s progress in farm products. In 2009, the 6th CAEXPO separated the agriculture exhibition from the main exhibitions and held a professionalized agriculture exhibition simultaneously with the main exhibitions. 

The established exhibition gathered quality resources in agriculture in China and ASEAN, providing more cooperation opportunities for the companies of both sides. The 13th CAEXPO set the theme of “Deepening Agricultural Innovation and Cooperation, Jointly Building the Maritime Silkroad of 21st Century” for the agriculture exhibition, showing its efforts to promote China-ASEAN industrial cooperation in agriculture. 

In 2019 during the 16th CAEXPO, the agriculture exhibition was further separated from the main event, being held at a different time and place — moved from Guangxi Exhibition Centre to Guangxi Agricultural Convention and Exhibition Center, with the scale of the exhibition doubled. After over ten years of development, agricultural cooperation has become a prestigious area of CAEXPO.

As one of the earliest-founded professional exhibitions, the Agricultural Exhibition of CAEXPO allows agricultural products from all over China to go abroad and introduces the ASEAN ones into China. It is a bridge for professional economic and trade exchange, through which many ASEAN agricultural products find new opportunities.

In 2022, the agriculture exhibition of the 19th CAEXPO set nine main sections, such as ASEAN Featured Agricultural Side-products and Food Section, ChinaASEAN International Agricultural Cooperation Section, International Agricultural Products Supply Chains Section, Digital and Intelligent Agricultural Solutions and Equipment Section, and so on. The sections concentratedly showcased the Chinese and ASEAN quality agricultural products as well as the supply chain, international cooperation, intelligent farming, and financing policies of agriculture, facilitating ChinaASEAN economic and trade cooperation in agriculture to gain outstanding results. At the On-site Procurement Matchmaking of the Agricultural Exhibition, 108 intended orders were made. Participants like Guangzhou Fuxiang Commercial and Trading Co., Ltd. and JL Food Industries Sdn. Bhd., Dulai Fruits Enterprise Sdn. Bhd., and Malaysia Star Food Sdn. Bhd. also reached cooperation in durian products procurement.

The Shandong booth at the agriculture exhibition of the 19th CAEXPO (Source: Official website of CAEXPO)

As the agriculture exhibition keeps upgrading and expanding, it has become a renowned name card of CAEXPO’s facilitation efforts for China-ASEAN agricultural cooperation. It shows the visitors the function of CAEXPO directly.

More than 4,000 companies participated in the Agricultural Exhibition, with over 600,000 professional visitors coming to the event each year. “Through this exhibition, we can learn about the demand of foreign retailers, after which we can adjust the focus of our products. For companies, CAEXPO is like an outpost to enter the ASEAN market,” said Liang Lei, General Manager of TopNongfu Co., Ltd. of Hequ County, Shanxi Province.

Collaboration between exhibitions promotes China-ASEAN agricultural development

Agriculture is one of CAEXPO’s focuses in facilitating China-ASEAN economic and trade cooperation. Except for the consecutively-held agriculture exhibition, CAEXPO also aims for the niche areas of agricultural cooperation, utilizing dialogues, forums, and expos to join forces, which not only extends the value chain but also promotes the agricultural development of both sides.

In recent years, China’s export of agricultural machinery has been increasing each year, and the ASEAN market accounts for 20% of the export. CAEXPO, as a frontier and window of China-ASEAN opening-up and cooperation, plays its role successfully in letting Chinese agricultural machinery go abroad and enter the ASEAN market.

The China Sugarcane Mechanization Expo has been held for five consecutive years. Since 2018 when the China-ASEAN Agricultural Machinery Exhibition started to be held with the China Sugarcane Mechanization Expo simultaneously, the Expo has attracted over 630 companies to participate in total, with over 160,000 people attending altogether; the officials, scholars, and representatives of companies and customers from UN Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization and eleven countries like Thailand and Vietnam also came to the Expo to discuss the development of agricultural machinery industry, economic and trade relations, cooperation and exchange, and policies in this area, which further deepened the interaction, collaboration, and development of China-ASEAN mechanization, promoted the agricultural mechanization in hilly and mountainous areas, especially for sugarcane production, and successfully built a regional and international economic and trade platform for agricultural mechanization cooperation.

Visitors consulted the desired agricultural machinery in the 2022 China-ASEAN Agricultural Machinery & Sugarcane Mechanization Exhibition (Source: gxnews)

China (Guangxi)-Malaysia Negotiation Fair on Agricultural Investment and Trade Cooperation is also one of the investment promotion events held by CAEXPO to promote China-ASEAN exchange and cooperation in the business community. On June 26, 2019, Guangxi organized a promotion event for a group of good agricultural projects with good market prospects, including the Premium Liu Bao Tea Cultivation Area, Modernized Luo Han Guo Industrial Park, and agricultural food deep-processing projects. Guangxi invited local companies that wish to invest in Malaysia for business expansion to the event, searching for investment and cooperation opportunities in rice farming, seafood farming, and tea trade and storage. On the first day, Guangxi’s tea sales reached 200 million yuan, with over 14 cooperation projects in investment, technology transfer, and trade signed. It is a concentrated demonstration of CAEXPO’s platform function.

In addition, the China-ASEAN Agricultural Cooperation Forum and the China-ASEAN International Agricultural Cooperation Exhibition are also the highlevel sideline forums under the framework of CAEXPO and contributed to the development of the agricultural cooperation relations of both sides.

Developing new cooperation models for regional food security

Currently, due to reasons like geo-political conflicts, the world faces intensified food crisis. Smart agriculture with information technology, artificial intelligence, and biotechnology is perceived as a new solution to global food security issues. 2023 is the China-ASEAN Year of Agricultural Development and Food Security Cooperation, and CAEXPO is actively providing a platform for the demonstration and exchange of smart agriculture in the region.

At the 19th CAEXPO, the representatives of Shanghai Ocean University brought with them the rice-fish farming technology, which is currently being tested in Cambodia and Laos, receiving good progress and becoming a new direction of deepening China-ASEAN agricultural cooperation. In addition, that year’s CAEXPO exhibited China’s saline-tolerant rice (seawater rice) technology, which allows people to farm in the saline-alkaline soil by the seashore. The technology is good news for the coastal areas in China, ASEAN, and even the world regarding ecological management and food security.

Smart agriculture must be assisted with smart marketing. Livestreaming e-commerce has been introduced, since the agriculture exhibition of the 17th CAEXPO, alongside with agricultural e-commerce platforms and big data institutions, facilitating ChinaASEAN agricultural cooperation through digitalization and receiving fruitful results.

At the 6th China-ASEAN International Agricultural Cooperation Exhibition held during the 18th CAEXPO, a Thai-speaking streamer of Guangdong Chunfeng Tianji Network Technology Co., Ltd. was introducing Chinese featured agricultural products to the audience from Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia on Lazada’s streaming platform, attracting considerable view counts. Wang Zefeng, General Manager of the company, said that each live stream could attract 100,000 viewers at most. “Before we start the stream, all the products to be mentioned will be shipped to the overseas warehouses in advance so that the foreign customers can receive the products from their local logistics companies after they order. Internet marketing is a game changer in the post-pandemic era,” said Wang. Likewise, the 19th CAEXPO set a new tab for the Agricultural Exhibition on the website of Online CAEXPO as well, providing a value-added service called “3-day on-site CAEXPO + 365 Online Promotion” for the participating companies, maximizing the economic and trade results in agriculture by holding online procurement matchmaking fairs for overseas participants.

The China-ASEAN International Agricultural Cooperation Exhibition at the 19th CAEXPO (Source: Official website of CAEXPO)

The vulnerability of supply chains is one of the disturbing factors in today’s global agricultural products trade. To address the issue, CAEXPO’s agriculture exhibition in 2022 added a section showing the supply chains of international agricultural products, which focused on sharing information about international agricultural products’ production bases, agricultural trade platforms, wholesale markets, logistics parks, and large chains supermarkets for farm products, and e-commerce platforms, along with sea-rail intermodal transportation, cold-chain transportation and storage, equipment haulage, and other supply chain services, aiming to promote the communication and connectivity of the agricultural whole-industry-chain suppliers in China and ASEAN.

At the ASEAN-China Special Summit to Commemorate the 30th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations in 2021, China raised a proposal for agricultural cooperation, stating that it “will strive to import US$ 150 billion of agricultural products from ASEAN in the next five years”, marking the beginning of a new era of China-ASEAN agricultural trade with a larger market. Meanwhile, CAEXPO will keep playing the role of “a window between China and ASEAN”, writing a new chapter for China-ASEAN agricultural cooperation.

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