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China, EC discuss food and drink exports… in Argyll & Bute


21 Sep 2012


Public Affairs

China, EC discuss food and drink exports… in Argyll & Bute


Discussions take place at Loch Creran salmon farm and The Oban Distillery


Expansion of unique agreement could benefit other Scottish food and drink products


Exports of Scottish Farmed Salmon and Scotch Whisky to China continue to grow


International trade visit may boost £7.1 billion export target



High level delegations from Beijing and Brussels visited a salmon farm and a whisky distillery in Argyll & Bute this weekend (15th and 16th September) as part of discussions to further develop a unique agreement on quality food and drink products between China and Europe.


Representatives from the People’s Republic of China and the European Commission, including Mr Chenggang Li, Director General in the China Ministry of Commerce and John Clarke, Director for Agriculture International Affairs in the European Commission discussed enhancing an agreement that recognises and protects products with EU Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) in China, which already benefits Scottish Farmed Salmon.  


Scottish Farmed Salmon was included in the initial prestigious “top 10” of quality food and drink products chosen from a then list of over 750 European products in a pilot project between China and the European Commission that was agreed in 2007.  The granting by China of the special status to the ten European food products was matched by the EC conferring similar legal protection for ten Chinese foods.


Host for the visit to Loch Creran salmon farm, Lawrie Stove, Export Manager, Scottish Sea Farms said:  “It was a pleasure to showcase Scottish Farmed Salmon to our visitors from Beijing and Brussels. As the European Commission now recognises over 3,000 food and drink products, it is great recognition for Scottish Farmed Salmon to be selected in the top 10 products in the unique quality food and drink agreement between Europe and China.  


“Our visitors really enjoyed seeing the glistening silver appearance of the fish and the pristine coastal waters. The PGI status for Scottish Farmed Salmon has enhanced the integrity of our products from Argyll & Bute and the expert husbandry skills developed over the last thirty-forty years,” he added.


European Commission Director John Clarke said: "This visit was a great opportunity to illustrate the enormous work done by both Scottish Farmed Salmon and Scotch Whisky associations, ensuring produce respects traditions while complying with the highest quality standards, thus meeting the demand from our important trade partners like China. We hope this visit will lead to more European geographical indication products being recognised in China."


Professor Phil Thomas, Chairman of Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation, said:  “The unique agreement has helped to develop the Chinese market for Scottish Farmed Salmon.  China is a growing international opportunity for the fine foods for which Scotland is renowned.  The unique agreement is a positive start to a potentially wider collaboration between Scotland, Europe and China.” 


Last week (12th September 2012) Scotland Food and Drink set a new ambition to grow the value of food and drink exports to £7.1 billion by 2017. The international trade visit may help to deliver these objectives.


4,300 tonnes of Scottish salmon (fresh, frozen and smoked products) with a value of over £23million were exported to the fast growing Chinese market in 2011, the first year that direct exports were permitted.  


Direct Scotch Whisky exports to China were valued at £66million in 2011, up from £55million the previous year. Total Scotch Whisky exports to China totalled approximately £100million in 2011.



Notes to editors:


  • The field trip to Scotland followed two days of discussions held in Brussels (13th and 14th September) between representatives from China and the EC. The high level delegations visited Scottish Sea Farms’ Loch Creran salmon farm (15th Sept) and Diageo’s The Oban Distillery (16th Sept). 
  • There are now over 3,000 food and drink products recognised by the European Commission (EC) under its quality policy. This initiative highlights regional and traditional foods whose authenticity and origin can be guaranteed. Under this system, a named food or drink registered at a European level will be given legal protection against imitation throughout the EU.  Within this scheme, Scottish farmed salmon was awarded Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status in 2004. The record export trade for Scottish salmon has been built on Scottish provenance, the PGI status and the product’s premium taste, quality and character.
  • China is one of the largest global markets for seafood. The Scottish and Chinese governments reached an agreement to allow direct exports of seafood from Scotland to the People's Republic of China in January 2011. 
  • Scottish salmon was named 'best farmed salmon in the world' in a poll of international seafood buyers from leading retail and food service companies (May 2011). One of the world's leading seafood publications, Seafood International, asked 20 international seafood buyers from 10 countries to pick the best farmed salmon based on superior taste, quality and appearance.
  • Scotch Lamb and Scotch Beef were also granted Protected Geographical Indications according to the EU law in 2004.


For further information, please contact Ken Hughes, Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation, 07974 173739


PICTURE: Left to right – Lawrie Stove (Scottish Sea Farms), Mr. Li Chenggang (China Ministry of Commerce) and John Clarke (European Commission)


Ken Hughes

Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation

Direct line: 01738 587006

Office: 01738 587000

Fax: 01738 621454

Mobile: 07974 173739

Durn, Isla Road, Perth, PH2 7HG




The economic importance of salmon farming in Scotland


Salmon farming is a vital contributor to the Scottish economy. But did you know the following about one of Scotland’s major food producers:


  • SSPO members have invested over £205 million in capital projects over the last five years
  • The Highlands and Islands continue to be the most significant beneficiaries
  • 1 million fresh salmon meals are eaten in the UK every day
  • Salmon is the largest food export from Scotland
  • In 1980 only 9% of fish consumed by people came from aquaculture, now it is approaching 50%
  • The UN FAO reports that aquaculture is the only way to meet the surging demand for seafood


For further information, visit




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