The SRECA project, implemented by GIZ on behalf of the BMZ, works to improve the conditions for regional and global agricultural trade in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Vietnam. Together with its economic and development partner China, it aims to ensure the equal inclusion of the focus countries’ interests in regional integration processes. On 23 Dec 2021, China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA), partner of SRECA, organised the Lancang-Mekong Workshop on Cold Chain Logistics and Food Safety, Transport Safety Standards in Beijing. This workshop aimed to provide a platform for people in trade to exchange information related to the cold chain logistics to and from countries in the Mekong region. Fundamentally, this workshop aspires to support food trade safety and therefore the health of the people in the Mekong region.

More than 2000 people from China and abroad joined the event either virtually or on site. They are policy makers, academics, people working in cold chain trade businesses, more than 1500 of them from China, and more than 500 of them from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, Mongolia, Myanmar and Vietnam. SRECA has supported to invite participants from its focus countries – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Mongolia and Vietnam.

Mr. Florian Miss, the director of the SRECA project, 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. Mr. Florian Miss also took the chance to review SRECA’s collaboration with CIQA over 2021, and shared SRECA and CIQA’s together goal in 2022 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 in China and Europe, 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 the 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. Out of most of the speakers’ inputs, how to face the challenges set out by the Covid 19 pandemic along the cold chain logistics has been especially probed into. It was also highlighted by some speakers that, to really transform food safety outcomes, a collaboration and active participation of consumers, regulators and enterprises is necessary. The frontline SPS practitioners in China also introduced the thorough procedures for traders outside of China to export their products according to the recent regulations.