Photo report: China FVF 2015, Beijing 9-11 September 2015

On 9, 10 and 11 September the China Fruit and Vegetable Fair (China FVF) took place at the National Convention Centre in Beijing. China FVF is jointly organised by the China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA) and China Great Wall International Exhibition Co., Ltd. The fair is endorsed by the Chinese government and supported by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of the People's Republic of China (AQSIQ).

Sherry, Jenny, Candy, Wu Hai Mei and Tian Zhuang represent Shanxi Jingzhun Eco-Agriculture Group Co., Ltd. The company farms in Shanxi province and focusses on the production of organic vegetables. They export to countries in Asia and Europe and have recently started export to Russia.

The aim of China FVF is multiple. It provides Chinese producers direct access to Chinese and international buyers, such as wholesalers, supermarkets and export companies. Producers from 15 provinces travelled to Beijing to showcase their products. On the third day China FVF was open to a general audience, which created an opportunity to receive direct feedback from end customers on new product releases.

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Direct trade, however, is not the only focus of China FVF. The fair also provides an opportunity for international exhibitors and foreign export associations to meet government officials of the AQSIQ. These meetings form major steps in obtaining market access to the Chinese market. As such, China FVF provides an important platform to establish future trade relations with China. Trade delegations from a number of countries including Argentina, Australia, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru and South Africa and made eager use of this opportunity.

Phil Pyke together with translator Wei Yizheng. Phil Pyke represents Fruit Growers Tasmania. He is investing in the 'long term game'of market development in China. There is a joint research programme between Tasmania and the Northwest University YangLing in Shanxi province.

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In addition, China FVF gives international exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their products to a Chinese audience of buyers and end-customers. The Chinese market is continuously opening up to new products. Market entry, however, is not the only challenge export companies face. Investments need to be made to make a Chinese audience aware of newly imported products such as pears from the Netherlands, apples from Australia or kiwis from Chile. Colourful booths with extensive product displays were using this opportunity well.

Finally, being located in Beijing, the fair hosted a number of buyers and producers from Western China, Central Asia and Russia. Participants praised the opportunity they had to meet and connect with companies and representatives from these regions, that happen to travel easier to Beijing than other places.

The enthousiastic presence of Da Wei Ren and Hongguang Wang of Wanteng Fruit Industry Development Co., Ltd. The company produces and exports pomegranates.

On the first and second day a number of lectures were organised. Day one was catered for an international audience and key national and international speakers covered a range of topics, including quarantine policies and services, the changing role of China in world produce trade and the development of China's fruit exporting business. Speakers from a number of organisations including the AQSIQ, SENASA, PMA, AGAP, the Thai Fresh Fruit Traders and Exports Association, the Chinese Malaysian Embassy and Citrus Australia Ltd. went into vivid discussion.

Day two covered topics relevant to the domestic Chinese market, such as the challenges of cold chain logistics in China, B2B trading and the rise of E-Commerce. These discussions could provide vital insights for international investors and exporters into the Chinese market. However, unfortunately, all discussions were in Mandarin and there were no translators or translations available. Ironically, those subjects that an international audience might know little about and care for a lot, were not made available to that same audience.

Mushrooms on display produced by Zhang Jiakou Dekang Biological Technology Co., Ltd.

The opportunity to liaise with senior government officials, AQSIQ representatives, and Chinese industry and trade association sets China FVF apart from other fairs focussing on the Chinese and Asian market, such as Asia Fruit Logistisca, which took place a week earlier in Hong Kong. However, for a fair that markets itself as an international trade fair there were a number of issues that hampered international trade, of which most prominent a lack of communication and translations.

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