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6. Foreign trade congress of the agri-food sector

Federal Minister Schmidt: "Germany's high safety and quality standards are held in high regard throughout the world"

On Wednesday, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) joined the Federal Foreign Office and the Federation of German Food and Drink Industries in welcoming more than 400 participants to the sixth foreign trade congress of the agri-food sector.

The event provides global players with a platform for establishing contacts with experts from target countries and consequently preparing their entry into new markets. On the occasion of the foreign trade congress, Federal Minister of Agriculture Christian Schmidt emphasised the importance of global agricultural trade for the German agri-food sector. "Every fourth Euro in agriculture and every third Euro in the food industry are now earned via exports," said Schmidt. He went on to say that domestic consumers also profited from global trade. He stated that without global trade the choice of foods would be far smaller as regional production alone, despite its advantages, would not be able to satisfy market demand. The Federal Minister stated his support for the role of the food industry as a pillar of German export success.

Schmidt praised the superb position that high-quality products "Made in Germany" had established for themselves. He said that this could be put down to the high standards of safety and quality. "It is not surprising that Germany is now the world's third largest exporter of agricultural goods," the Federal Minister of Agriculture said. He continued by saying that the Federal Republic of Germany was even the world's largest exporter of cheese and confectionery. He stated that there were many different reasons for Germany's good competitive standing. "Our companies are innovative in their production and our skilled workforce is well-trained. The products we manufacture are unique in their diversity - the work of our specialised food trade in this area is superb." With regard to the free trade agreement between the European Union and the United States of America, Schmidt called for the debate to be conducted more objectively. "The conclusion of bilateral agreements opens up new markets and consequently strengthens our competitive position at global level." Schmidt stated that expansion of trade safeguarded value generation and jobs in Germany.

However, he went on to say that Germany was also aware of its international responsibility. "We want to help to meet the need of threshold and industrialised countries for foodstuffs via our good products," said Christian Schmidt. He stated that Africa and parts of Asia would continue for some time to come to be dependent on regions with favourable agricultural conditions, such as Europe, assisting in achieving global food security. He said that, in the interest of sustainability, attention would be paid to what the developing countries required for their own domestic production. He went on to say that at the same time the BMEL also contributed to global sustainability: He stated that, for example, agricultural training establishments in eastern Europe and Africa helped integrate German know-how into local training programmes.

German companies need the necessary local information and good networks in order to be able to continue tapping into new and attractive markets in industrialised and emerging countries. The BMEL supports enterprises, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, with an independent, sector-specific export promotion policy. This includes, for example, image-promoting mesures for German products, market fact-finding trip for German entrepreneurs to the target countries, and trips to Germany by foreign purchasers, journalists and representatives of foreign administrations. These measures supplement the BMEL's successful foreign trade-fair programme, which is one of the most important and efficient marketing instruments for German industry.

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