Trade minister: BiH expecting to export dairy products to China to promote development
Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Stasa Kosarac (Photo by balkangreenenergynews)

Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is looking forward to exporting its dairy products to China so as to boost the development of its dairy sector and reduce the country’s trade deficit, said Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Stasa Kosarac.

“The export of milk and dairy products to this challenging and very big market would be a great stimulus to further develop our milk industry, as well as to improve our overall policies in agriculture,” Kosarac told journalist in a recent interview.

China intends to import, in the coming five years, more than 170 billion U.S. dollars’ worth of goods from Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC), and will “work to double CEE countries’ agricultural exports to China and raise two-way agricultural trade by 50 percent,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the China-CEEC Summit in Beijing in February.

“We see that as a great chance for the domestic agricultural sector,” said Kosarac.

“For sure, entering the Chinese dairy market would lead us to new investment projects in the production-to-processing chain of the milk industry,” said Kosarac, noting that there is enough space for joint investments of Chinese and BiH partners for the development of production and processing capacities.

Entering the Chinese dairy market would hopefully help BiH to promote its livestock farming, raise rural population’s income and attract investments for the country’s dairy industry, he added.

As one of BiH’s most important agricultural branches, the dairy industry is annually producing around 700 million liters of raw milk, of which 97 percent is cow milk.

Drinking milk accounts for 54 percent of the country’s total dairy production, followed by fermented products with a share of 20 percent, cream and whey 17 percent, and cheese 6 percent, said the minister, adding that the fast-growing milk industry has the capacity to continue prospering.

In order to successfully deliver its dairy products to the big Chinese market, BiH needs to engage with all relevant institutions as well as dairy product producers, and give joint presentations on significant fairs and events in China.

“Consumers around the world are aware of the importance of food and its impact on our health and the quality of life. The same happens on the Chinese market where, as a result of economic progress, the need has been created for a wide spectrum of quality food products,” said Kosarac.

“Export achievements are the carriers of the domestic milk industry’s development,” he said.

In 2020, BiH exported more than 94,000 tons of dairy products, mostly to Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.

“I am fully committed to working on opening new markets for BiH products as I think that is the best way to protect domestic production,” he said, adding that China is a friendly nation and a long-time partner with whom BiH would like to strengthen cooperation and trade.