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Official visit of European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Dacian Cioloş to raise awareness on European quality schemes for foodstuffs and beverages

EU News 467/2013

Brussels / Tokyo, November 11 2013

As part of a trip to Japan to promote quality European food products, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Dacian Cioloş gave a press conference in Tokyo today to explain the aim of his visit and the EU’s policy focus on delivering high-quality products to international markets. During the two-day visit to Japan the Commissioner will accompany a mission of 32 business delegates representing high-quality products from all over Europe,

"Japan and the European Union share a high appreciation for quality food, based on the diversity of our cultures and traditions. I am delighted to present today some of the finest European products representing the diversity of Europe's savours. These are quality products, not only because of the way they are produced – all ingredients are chosen following the highest standards in terms of quality, safety and place of origin – but also because they all carry a flavour of our history and culture", said Commissioner Cioloş.

The Commissioner will meet with several key Japanese counterparts including Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to discuss incentives to create new business ties between the EU and Japan. With the launch of negotiations toward a free trade agreement earlier this year, bilateral trade relations between Japan and the EU should be fostered. The EU and Japan are strategic partners in terms of agricultural products trade. In terms of foodstuffs, in Europe, there is a growing interest in Japanese food, and Japanese agricultural exports to Europe are now worth 23 billion Yen / 180 million EURO. While trade figures are expected to rise for both sides, it remains imperative that we inform and create confidence among trade partners and consumers about the quality of the products that they are buying.

As Commissioner Cioloş explained, the EU's agricultural quality policy asserts firm requirements to guarantee a high level of standards for all European products. In addition to strict hygiene rules which guarantee safe food products, Europe has developed tools committing to and protecting the diversity of high-quality of its products. "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 marketplaces. The quality logos on each of the product packages guarantee that the product is produced according to rigorous specifications and its contents are genuine and not counterfeit", said Commissioner Cioloş.

The purpose of the European Commission’s ''Tastes of Europe'' campaign is to raise interest in products carrying the EU quality labels. Following the press conference, the Commission organised a seminar on European quality schemes for foodstuffs and beverages for Japanese food professionals. Mr Koichi Yodono held a presentation on Japanese consumer preferences and trends in relation to imported products, while various European producers, representing some of the high-quality products that were part of the official mission such as French cheeses, Madeira wine and Jamón Serrano, explained the advantages of carrying the European quality labels inside and outside Europe when it comes to trade and marketing.

One key benefit is that, in general, products carrying the EU quality labels are sold at higher prices compared to similar non-labelled products. There are four quality labels that can easily be identified on the product packaging and which identify products linked to their geographical origin, products which have specific characteristics as well as organic products. The labels guarantee that the product is of genuine quality and produced according to rigorous specifications, and thus can be traded at premium prices, according to the producers.

Monday was also the opening day of the Tastes of Europe Restaurant Week. A ceremony took place at the Palace Hotel's Crown Restaurant with five top chefs, including Mr. Masatoshi Saito (the chef from the Crown), Mr Dominique Corby from the internationally renowned culinary institute Le Cordon Blue, and Mr. Hiromitsu Nakahara from Silverado, Mr. Takeshi Iawase from Bardigo, and Mr. Takashi Komatsu from Ajiru-tei, who presented different dishes prepared with and mixing high-quality European products with Japanese delicacies. From Monday, 11 November until Sunday, 17 November 2013, Japanese consumers will be able to taste special dishes using products carrying the EU quality labels in 10 restaurants in Tokyo ( as well as at the Crown Restaurant.

For further information on the official visit and campaign activities, please contact:

Dacian Cioloş, Date: 11/11/2013 Reference: P-024341/00-05 Location: Tokyo (C)EU, 2013 URL