In 2012, China addressed the countries of Central and Eastern Europe with a proposal for regional cooperation in the “16+1” format (“17+1” after the accession of the Hellenic Republic in 2019). 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 “17+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 17 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, Food and Forestry 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, Food and Forestry.
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, Food and Forest 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 “17+1 e-Commerce Logistics Hub and Pavilion for Agricultural and other Products” in Trakia Economic Zone, Plovdiv City, Bulgaria. The “17+1 e-Commerce Logistics Hub and Pavilion for Agricultural and other products” – Yantian Port, Shenzhen, PRC is the analogue of the “17+1 Logistics Hub and Pavilion for agriculture and other products” – Bulgaria. A Framework Agreement was signed between the APACCCEEC and “Shenzhen Yantian Port Group Co.” Ltd for cooperation in the field of e-commerce logistics and exhibitions.
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 and the “17+1 e-Commerce Logistics Hub and Pavilion for Agricultural and other products” – Yantian Port, Shenzhen, PRC.
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 – 17+1 Pavilion is available at the Liaison office for displaying samples of agricultural and other products from Central and Eastern Europe.
The “17+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 “17+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.