To enhance the access of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Vietnam to trade-related services for agricultural export, the SRECA project cooperates closely with private and public sector partners on site. In that regard, SRECA jointly works with Chinese partners on capacity building measures for relevant public and private actors from the four focus countries. On 23 Dec 2021, China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA), organised the Lancang-Mekong Workshop on Cold Chain Logistics and Food Safety, Transport Safety Standards in Beijing. The workshop aimed to provide a platform for actors in trade to exchange information related to the cold chain logistics and support safe food trade and transport in countries of the Mekong region.

More than 2000 people joined the event either virtually or on site. Participants included policy makers, academics, cold chain trade businesses, with around 1500 from China, and more than 500 from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam. SRECA has supported specifically the participation from its focus countries.

The SRECA project director, together with delegates from State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), China-ASEAN Business Council, China-ASEAN centre, and CIQA gave opening remarks to this workshop and reviewed SRECA’s collaboration with CIQA over 2021. In 2022, SRECA and CIQA aim to further initiate cooperation activities in triangular formats, to support third countries, focusing on topics like supporting women entrepreneurs, enhancing knowledge on business promotion structures, as well as training for SMEs on export and import processes for agricultural goods.

Chinese speakers from the World Bank, SAMR, GACC, Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC), China National Institute of Standardization, Beijing Jiaotong University, the CCIC Group, and many other relevant government institutes, academic organisations, and businesses shared their inputs in the workshop and moderated dialogues among all participants.

Topics such as cold chain logistics management, the development and implementation of international cold chain standards, cold chain food safety in the Mekong Region, and the digitalisation of cold chain logistics across the relevant countries were discussed. Inputs also emphasised, how to face the challenges set out by the Covid 19 pandemic along the cold chain logistics. Speakers noted that to really transform food safety outcomes, a collaboration and active participation of consumers, regulators and enterprises is necessary. SPS practitioners in China also introduced the thorough procedures for traders outside of China to export their products according to recent regulations.