Estonia took part of the China International Import Expo on 3-8 November 2018. The official delegation was headed by Minister of Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm, who met with Minister of Agriculture of China, Mr Han Changfu, the leaders of the General Administration of Customs and local entrepreneurs, as well as introduced Estonian flavours to the locals.
“While developing export we have to make sure that the state supports entrepreneurship in order to encourage economic ties between countries. My visit as minister and our meeting with the Minister of Agriculture of China reiterates the fact that both Estonia and its entrepreneurs are interested in long-term cooperation,” Minister Tamm said.
On 5 November, Minister Tarmo Tamm met with his Chinese colleague, Minister Han Changfu. “Estonia can offer China high-quality dairy and fish products, as well as organic products where we see a rise in our production volumes. Our food safety and supervision in Estonia are also at a high standard,” Minister Tamm noted after the meeting. During the meeting with Minister Han Changfu, both sides also discussed possible cooperation in research and digital solutions for agriculture. Minister Tarmo Tamm also invited Minister Han to Estonia to attend the international conference Agroforum Mare Balticum, which in 2019 will focus on agroecology.
On 6 November, Minister Tamm signed a poultry protocol with the Vice Minister of the General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), Mr Wang Lingjun, which gives Estonian entrepreneurs the opportunity to export their poultry products to China.
“Estonian food safety and supervision are at a high level. Chinese inspectors have also seen this and as a result, we have already signed food safety protocols for dairy and certain fish products. Now we have taken one step further and also signed a poultry protocol with the Vice Minister of the General Administration of Customs,” Minister Tamm said. “What is especially noteworthy is the fact that we are only the second country in the European Union after Poland to have such enforced protocol with China,” the Minister added.
At the same evening, Minister Tarmo Tamm opened a reception dedicated to the introduction of Estonian food and food culture. The reception hosted Chinese officials and potential partners in the food industry to establish stronger political and business ties.
“Estonia’s advantage lies in our clean nature, which allows us to produce food that is both pure and high in quality,” Minister Tamm said in his opening address. He added that “Our businesses are greatly interested in exporting their products to the world and our current logistical and trade networks allow us to make it happen. Direct contacts are vital for developing export in the Chinese market and they can only be achieved through eye-to-eye meetings. That is why this event is of great importance to our businesses.” Renowned Estonian chefs Angelica Udeküll and Kristo Malm offered an array of Estonian flavours, including fish, beef, black garlic, curd snacks and nettle jam.
The official visit continued in Beijing, where Minister of Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm opened the business seminar for Estonian entrepreneurs interested in the Chinese market, visited the Sino-Dutch Dairy Development Centre and met with representatives of the China Agricultural University to discuss scientific and technological cooperation in agriculture.
Estonian food and drinks producers that were represented at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai: AS Balsnack International, Heimtal Spirits OÜ, Saku Õlletehas AS, Värska Vesi AS, AS EBM Grupp, Vaba Aed OÜ, Amoor OÜ, Loodusvägi OÜ, Haage Joogid OÜ, Tanker Brewery OÜ, Farmi Piimatööstuse AS / Tere AS, HKScan Estonia AS, Reyktal AS, Orkla Eesti AS, AS PRFoods.
Minister of Defence Jüri Luik issued a Directive naming Colonel Veiko-Vello Palm the Commander of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, as of 5 December.
Minister of Defence Luik stated that Colonel Palm is an officer who has gained comprehensive experience in Estonia, as well as through international service and operations, and has shown himself to be a capable expert and strong leader.
‘In particular, I would like to highlight Colonel Palm's activities as Commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade, where he was faced with the complicated task of integrating the NATO enchanced Forward Presence battalion stationed in Estonia with our Infantry Brigade, He did a splendid job with that task,’ said Luik.
Colonel Veiko-Vello Palm began his service in the Defence Forces in 1992, as a conscript in the Kalev Single Infantry Battalion, and has also served as the Chief of Staff of the Tapa Training Centre, the Chief of the Operations and Training Department of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, a staff officer in NATO Multinational Corps Northeast, located in Poland, and as the Director of the National Defence Planning Department within the Ministry of Defence.
From 2015 to 2018 Colonel Palm served as the Commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade; starting this summer, he has been the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Estonian Defence Forces.
Colonel Palm is a graduate of the Cadet School at the Finnish National Defence University and General Staff officer courses, and has participated in international military missions in Afghanistan in 2007 and 2010.
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Today, on 12 November, the Ministry of Rural Affairs of Estonia celebrates its 100th anniversary. To mark this special occasion, the Ministry of Rural Affairs held a special celebratory event on 2 November at the Estonian National Museum in Tartu. All current and former ministers, officials and employees of the Ministry of Rural Affairs, as well as representatives of its administrative agencies, farmers, fishermen and other promoters of the sector were invited.
Minister of Rural Affairs Tarmo Tamm noted that “While looking at our dignified past, we have to focus on the future. We do not yet know what our future will look like – shaping it is in our hands. I believe that a love for Estonia and its agriculture beats in all our hearts. High-quality, pure and delicious Estonian food – this is our huge wealth. I would like to thank all the farmers, food producers and rural life promoters who have helped bring this wealth onto our tables!”
During the event, Minister Tamm bestowed 74 Silver and Gold Decorations to the most outstanding and successful promoters of agriculture and rural life. Four foreign nationals were also included among the recipients, with three Silver Decorations and one Gold Decoration. The Silver Decorations were bestowed upon Karen Selma van Stegeren, Ambassador of the Netherlands, a country that has been Estonia’s long-term partner and supporter, and the main promoter for the visit of the King of Netherlands to Estonia; Juhani Rouhiainen, a Finnish advisor in the 1990s, who acted as a bridge between Finland and Estonia and was the first to explain the EU’s common agricultural policy in a clear-cut way to Estonian authorities; Christian Böse, a German expert in the 1990s, who’s competent analysis of the sector helped Estonia considerably in working towards the EU’s common agricultural policy. The Gold Decoration was bestowed upon Qu Zhe, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China from 2012 to 2017 and a supporter of the trade relations’ promotion between Estonia and China.
The Ministry of Rural Affairs, formerly the Ministry of Agriculture was one of the first ministries created in 1918. It is also one of the longest working ministries in a single location with more than 80 years at the current address in the historical centre of Tallinn. Throughout the years, the ministry has worked on developing agricultural and fisheries policies to make sure that the Estonian food production is a competitive one, while also providing jobs and opportunities in rural areas.