China shows strong appetite for French agricultural goods

China and France flags over blue sky background. 3D illustration

China has experienced a significant increase in the import of high-quality agricultural products from France, reflecting a surge in consumer demand and stronger bilateral relations. France stands as China’s foremost supplier of agricultural goods and its second-largest trading partner in the agricultural sector within the European Union.

According to Lyu Daliang, spokesperson for the General Administration of Customs, the import value of these products reached 46.95 billion yuan ($6.5 billion) last year, marking a substantial 50.5 percent growth over the past five years. In just the first quarter of this year, China’s imports from France neared 10 billion yuan.

This uptick in trade is partly due to successful business collaborations between Chinese and French companies. Florian Delmas, president of the century-old Andros Group, highlighted the thriving partnership with Beijing Capital Agribusiness & Foods Group initiated in 2019. This collaboration was officially celebrated in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, witnessed by the heads of state from both nations.

Since then, Andros China has achieved notable success, establishing two new processing factories in Linyi, Shandong province, and expanding an existing facility in Beijing. The joint venture now boasts a production network spanning three factories across China, serving over 170 cities with a variety of high-quality fruit products destined for the food service, industrial, and retail sectors.

“Andros has set the standard for fruit ingredients and products across China,” said Maxence Zeng, general manager of Andros China. He noted a rising trend among Chinese consumers who favor European-flavored fruit products in various applications, including baked desserts, beverages, and dairy products. Zeng also mentioned the recent successful launch of a fruit sorbet line that has been well-received in the market.

Beyond individual company success, the broader trade between France and China extends to seafood, dairy, and meat products, supported by robust logistics networks that benefit French culinary establishments in China. La Maison Lyonnaise, a popular French restaurant in Beijing’s Chaoyang district, consistently sees high demand, often requiring reservations, particularly on weekends.

“Many of our signature dishes incorporate ingredients like oysters, snails, foie gras, and red wine, all imported from France,” said Wei Shuxuan, a waiter at the restaurant. He highlighted the importance of the freshness of these ingredients, especially for dishes like raw oysters, which are delivered from French farms to Chinese tables within a day, facilitated by the well-coordinated supply chain.

The French multinational Danone also reports rising demand for its premium bottled water in China, illustrating a broader appetite for high-quality French products. Antoine de Saint-Affrique, CEO of Danone, emphasized the company’s commitment to the Chinese market. “China is a market of opportunity, sophisticated and large, where we innovate locally for both local and global distribution,” he stated.

This growing trade relationship not only underscores the economic ties between China and France but also demonstrates the potential for future growth and cooperation in the agricultural sector.

Source: China Daily

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