In 2012, China addressed the countries of Central and Eastern Europe with a proposal for regional cooperation in the “16+1” format. Central and Eastern Europe (as an abbreviation – CEE) is a group of countries located in Central, Southeastern, Northern and Eastern Europe.
The cooperation between China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (China-CEE, also known as “16+1”) is an initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China to promote business and investment relations between China and the 16 CEE countries. In 2014, a Memorandum was signed in Bucharest to establish an Association for the Promotion of Agricultural Cooperation between China and the Central and Eastern European countries. APACCCEEC was established at the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Bulgaria, pursuant to Art. 60 of the Law on the Administration of the Republic of Bulgaria, as a legal entity – a secondary budget administrator under the Minister of Agriculture.
The APACCCEEC’s operation is formed by a subsidy from the Republican budget of the Republic of Bulgaria through the budget of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Bulgaria, own-source revenues and donations. China and the CEE countries do not pay membership fees or other fees to the APACCCEEC.
On November 24, 2017 was opened the first “16+1 e-Commerce Logistics Hub and Pavilion for Agricultural and other Products” in Trakia Economic Zone, Plovdiv City, Bulgaria.
The “16Plus1Cloud” (www.16plus1cloud.org) is a digital online platform for the consolidation of products from China and the CEE countries. The Platform complements the “17+1 Logistics Hub and Pavilion for agriculture and other products” – Bulgaria.
The Liaison office of the Association for the Promotion of Agricultural Cooperation between China and the CEE countries was opened in November 2018. It is located in the China (Ningbo) – Central and Eastern European Countries Youth Innovation Center. An equipped demonstration space – 16+1 Pavilion is available at the Liaison office for displaying samples of agricultural and other products from Central and Eastern Europe.
The “16+1 Demonstration Center for e-Commerce with Agricultural and other Products” was officially opened on February 21, 2019 in the Agricultural University in Plovdiv city, Bulgaria. The Demonstration Center is part of the Project “16+1 Demonstration Agricultural Cooperation Zone between China and the CEE Countries” which was officially launched during the 7th Summit of Heads of Governments of China and CEE Countries in July 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and the Bulgarian Prime Minister Borisov. The Project is a model of a comprehensive agricultural cycle, from production to its realization on the world markets.
Since 2015, APACCCEEC has been fulfilling the mission of coordinator in the mechanism for cooperation in the field of agriculture, creating a network of business contacts, and exchanging relevant information in its unified database.
The cooperation formula established by the Association contributes to the coordination of the policy pursued by Beijing with regard to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and determines the direction of further development of bilateral relations. The China-CEE cooperation provides a new driving force for the traditionally friendly relations between China and the CEE countries, builds a platform for mutually beneficial cooperation and serves as a tool for deepening contacts between China and CEE. Cooperation is in line with China’s relations with the EU and reaffirms its commitment to deepening the Partnership for Peace, Growth, Reform and Civilization, based on the principles of equality, respect and trust, thus contributing to the implementation of the EU-China Strategic Cooperation Program 2020.
- The Association’s activities deepen agricultural cooperation on a mutually beneficial basis between China and the CEE countries, thus sharing ideas, exchanging experiences and good practices and exploring innovative solutions. Such cooperation broadens horizons, helping to find a sustainable model of agriculture and stimulating the development of trade in agricultural and food products;
- The Association promotes the strengthening of bilateral and multilateral cooperation between China and the CEE countries in the field of agriculture, food and forestry by identifying key areas and stimulating cooperation between economic actors. APACCCEEC is a platform for planning and implementation of practical cooperation between real subjects in agriculture – agricultural associations and companies, producers of food, beverages and equipment, traders and investors;
- In order to promote the development of trade relations in the agricultural sector between China and the CEE countries, the Association promotes the opening of National Pavilions of the CEE countries in Chinese free trade areas, as a permanent trading platform. In this way, it is possible to promote agricultural goods that would be well received on the Chinese market;
- The Association functions as a platform to promote bilateral and multilateral basis of business contacts and business interaction between companies, organizations and associations from China and the 16 CEE countries, assisting in the conclusion of transactions for trade in agricultural and food products, helps for attracting and realizing investments in the field of agriculture and the food industry, assists in the establishment of joint ventures, supports the implementation of projects in the field of agriculture, food and forests;
- APACCCEEC acts as an information point between China and the CEE countries. It has established a platform for cooperation with a single database between Chinese institutions, organizations and enterprises and those in the 16 CEE countries, to facilitate business contacts, information exchange and other issues of mutual interest;
- The official website of APACCCEEC /www.china2ceec.org/ provides the use of a single database and is an efficient tool for searching and finding current investment projects, suitable business partners, producers and traders from all sectors of the agricultural sector. Anyone interested can register a company profile, indicating the type of cooperation with a foreign partner they wish. Up-to-date information is published on the official website of the Association by the contact person in Bulgaria and all network partners in China and the CEE countries have access to it. Through the unified database, the contact points of the network from all 17 countries exchange information, distribute offers for business cooperation, find production, trade or financial partners. The single database helps to promote trade in agricultural and food products by providing timely information on traditional trade fairs and agricultural exhibitions in China and the CEE countries.
- to coordinate and plan initiatives and practical cooperation in the field of agriculture between China and the CEE countries;
- to develop, coordinate and promote relations between the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and the relevant ministries of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe;
- to maintain the established contact platform for finding partners for cooperation and a database of institutions, organizations, associations and enterprises in the field of agriculture of China and the CEE countries;
- to coordinate the holding of agricultural forums and exhibitions between China and the CEE countries;
- to actively develop its projects, striving to present and promote the work of producers from Central and Eastern European countries;
- to prepare and motivate young people and students in Bulgaria to bring our country to the international trade arena in the field of agriculture, providing the necessary regulatory framework for trade with China and focusing on training seminars and courses for entrepreneurs.