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Tastes of Europe, quality guaranteed: European Commissioner's official visit with a business delegation to promote Europe’s unique food and beverages in Japan

EU News 419/2013

1 October 2013

On 10 November, the European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş, will arrive on an official three-day visit to Japan with 35 European business delegates. The attendees represent a variety of high quality, exquisite food and beverage products from all over Europe. This impressive list includes Jambon de Bayonne from France, Madeira wine from Portugal, Münchener bier from Germany, and West Country Farmhouse Cheddar cheese from UK. Some of the less known products include Lokoumi Geroskipou sweet from Cyprus, Zatecky Chmel, a special ingredient to produce beer from the Czech Republic, and Masticha Chiou, a gum that comes from mastic tree (used in several products including pastry, health foods, liquors) which is only produced on the Greek Island of Chios.

Composed of 28 Member States, the European Union (EU) is a rich and varied area producing unique quality products linked to their geographical origin, based on traditions and cultural heritage (know-how, taste, etc) that frequently go back centuries, while respecting modern high quality standards and consumer demands. An important element of EU agriculture quality policy is a focus on the preservation and protection of these unique and diverse foods and beverages. “We now have more than 3.200 registered food, wine and spirits products which have been granted special status as geographical indications (GIs) because they have been produced in a given geographical area using recognised know-how” explains EU Commissioner Cioloş.

The EU has created quality schemes that identify and protect products of genuine quality and authenticity to help consumers recognise these standards within national and international market places. The quality logo on each of the product packages guarantees that the product is produced according to rigorous specifications and its contents are genuine and not counterfeited.

The aim of this visit is to stimulate interest among Japanese consumers in high quality European products; informing them about a range of sweet and savoury delights. As the EU Commissioner puts it: “These products are like European gastronomic ambassadors, offering Japanese citizens a taste of some of the finest food and beverages in the world. These specialities should not be limited to a few connoisseurs, but rather available to all. This is why I am visiting Japan and organising several promotion events to offer a taste of Europe.” The promotion events will be organised under the campaign name “Tastes of Europe” – designed with the aim of helping Japanese consumers to recognise the quality labels on their food and encouraging them to experience high quality European products in their daily cuisine.

With the on-going negotiations for a possible future EU-Japan FTA (Free Trade Agreement), this visit will be an opportunity to further this two-way relationship. The EU is already Japan's 3rd most important trading partner. In Europe, there is a growing interest in Japanese food, and Japanese agricultural exports to Europe is now worth 23 billion Yen / 180 million EURO and is expected to increase in the coming years.

The full programme of the two day visit will be released at a later stage.

For further information, please contact:
European Union “Taste of Europe” Campaign Secretariat
(ASAHI Agency / Yamamoto/Ueno/Takagi) Tel:03-5574-7890

Press Release & Background information (PDF)

Tastes of Europe, Quality guaranteed (24Pg PDF)

Updated 2013.10.25