Principles of cooperation with partner countries
Learn more about the BMEL's priority countries for cooperation and the principles, objectives and instruments of bilateral cooperation with these countries.
Principles of cooperation with Asia
The priority countries for cooperation with Asia are China, India, Japan, the ASEAN countries and Kazakhstan.
China is the world's second largest national economy and an important trading partner for Germany. As the world's fourth largest importer of agricultural goods, China offers significant market opportunities for the German agri-food sector. "Made in Germany" has an excellent reputation and there is major interest in the transfer of know-how to China. China is an important strategic partner for Germany due to its role as policy-maker at the global level. The key objectives in the bilateral cooperation with China include global food security, joint initiatives to improve international framework conditions (WTO, FAO etc.), the improvement of food and product safety and consumer protection, and the promotion of sustainable farming, forestry and fishery practices.
India ranks with China as one of the world's fastest-growing national economies. It is expected to be the world's most populous country by the middle of this century and to rank third in terms of GDP behind China and the U.S.A. India has a strong voice in international bodies and is proactive in exerting its influence on international policy-making. This is one of the reasons why the EU is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with India. Due to its vast land resources (India has the world's second largest area of arable land with 160 million ha) and the fact that over 50% of employment is in agriculture, India's farming sector plays an important role both at the national and the global level. India focuses on safeguarding self-sufficiency and on exports. This is to be achieved through farm mechanisation, improved infrastructure and investments in food processing. The objectives of cooperation with India include global food security, the promotion of bilateral and multilateral trade and economic cooperation, the improvement of conditions for trade and investments including consumer protection and food safety, and more agricultural research.
Japan is Germany's most important trading partner in Asia along with China and the number one sales market for German agri-food products. With a self-sufficiency rate of 40 percent, Japan is reliant on food imports. It is expected that Japan's participation in negotiations on bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements will bring reform to an agricultural policy that remains highly protectionist. An important objective of the cooperation is thus to further improve the underlying conditions for trade in agricultural and food products. The same applies to the safeguarding of high food safety and veterinary standards and the promotion of economic cooperation and knowledge transfer. A number of joint objectives such as global food security and sustainable use of resources are pursued with Japan as a strategic partner at the global level (WTO, FAO, G20 etc.).
Among the ten ASEAN countries which form an important alliance of 580 million people in Asia are important agricultural producers like Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam. The ongoing negotiations on a free trade agreement between the EU and selected ASEAN countries underline the importance of this group of countries as suppliers of raw materials and as trading partners. Due to their high growth rates and the emergence of an affluent middle class with new consumption habits, these countries are also becoming increasingly important as sales markets for high-quality food. Furthermore, as the world's largest producers and exporters of palm oil, Indonesia and Malaysia are important partners in the sustainability strategy. The goals of the cooperation include the promotion of sustainable production including forest conservation and fisheries, the expansion of trade and economic cooperation, and joint efforts to safeguard food security.
Kazakhstan is of strategic political importance due to its geographical location in Central Asia and has major reserves of raw materials and significant agricultural potential (especially in cereal cropping). Kazakhstan is also an interesting export market for agricultural equipment and seeds, and will become even more attractive after the country's desired accession to the WTO. The most important objectives of the bilateral cooperation are the promotion of trade, the modernisation of the agri-food sector and the political dialogue on food security issues.
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