Remarks by Ambassador Tan Jian at the Agri-Horticultural Event and in Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of Sino-Dutch Diplomatic Relations

Your Excellency Leen Verbeek, King's Commissioner of Flevoland,

Ms Adri Bom-Lemstra, Chairwoman of Greenports Nederland,

Mr. Li Feng, General Manger of ICBC Amsterdam,

Journalists, Friends, Ladies and gentlemen,

A very good morning to all of you.

It is my great pleasure to visit Floriade Expo 2022, and join you to launch the digital portal developed by Greenports Nederland, Province of Zuid-Holland and RVO.

On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Greenports Nederland, the organizing Committee of Floriade Expo 2022, and ICBC Amsterdam, for organizing this event and promoting bilateral cooperation in agri-horticulture sector. Many thanks for the invitation.

Ever since my arrival over a year ago, I have visited a lot of ports in the NL. The airport in Amsterdam; the seaport in Rotterdam; the railport in Roosendaal, the brainport in Eindhoven, and some river ports. Now I am with the Greenports Nederland, and we are launching the digital portal of the horticulture.

Yes, the NL is the transport hub in Europe and around the world. It is a driving force for connectivity and sustainability.

This Seminar’s theme is agri-horticulture. I wish to make the following brief points.

First, we see its growing importance.  

I recall when I was young -- well I am still young, 57 years young, in the 1970s and 80s, visiting friends, I brought food and sometimes fruits as gifts. Now I bring flowers more often. This is a testament to the major improvement of living standard in China. More trees, grasses and flowers in cities.

Today, people demand more food safety, and their cities be more livable, lovable and sustainable.

Agri-horticulture could be and should be a major contributor in this regard.

Second, we see the strength of the NL in agri-horticulture.

I recall the first time on my way to the Schipol Airport to receive VIP guests, it was early in the morning and I saw skies lightened up. Colleagues told me it was not day breaking, but the lights of glass greenhouses.

The NL is the world’s leader in agri-horticulture, boasting a highly coordinated industry chain, from plant breeding, cultivation, product processing to greenhouse construction; excelling in fresh cut flowers, ornamental plants, vegetables, etc.

Its strength is based on the cutting-edge technologies, and its creativity and originality.

Third, we see the huge potential of cooperation.

Our bilateral cooperation in agri-horticulture started decades ago, and has become an important field of cooperation between our two sides.

In 2020, despite the Covid, China still ranked the first as the top export market for Dutch greenhouses products. Many Dutch horticultural companies prioritize China in their international business.

Rightly so.

Ms Adri Bom-Lemstra tells me that horticulture is seen as a front-runner that offers solutions for feeding and greening the megacities.

I know not the threshold for megacities.

In China, there are 93 cities with over one million people, 18 cities with over ten million people. China is the most populous country, with a per capita GDP over US$ 12,000, and a middle-income group of over 400 million.  

Dear participants, I am sharing with you these figures not to overwhelm, but to highlight that the significance and potential of Sino-Dutch cooperation in agri-horticulture can never be overestimated.

China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of horticulture products. It’s not only the sheer size of the Chinese market, but also China’s policy.

The policy of meeting the growing needs of the Chinese people for a better life, no interest in geopolitical competition for dominance; the policy of developing China’s agri-horticulture industry.

Hope the seminars and web portals like today will help explore and expand our cooperation in this field.

Do more trade with and investment in China, not only for making money, also for staying competitive and ahead of market trend, and for contributing to the development of our relations.

Dear friends,

This Seminar is held in the venue of Floriade Expo 2022, where many countries showcase their horticulture development.

Let me take this opportunity to do a little promotion of the China pavilion.

It is called “ China Bamboo Garden”.

l Bamboo is seen as a symbol of the Chinese culture. In ancient time, the Chinese had written on bamboo slips before they invented paper. Bamboo has been used to make many musical instruments like flute, zither, etc.  

l It is resilient, could stand strong wind. It is both strong and flexible, may bend but not break. This partially explains why bamboo has been such a popular and favorable subject in Chinese poems and paintings.

l It is extensively used in Chinese people’s life, like building materials, furniture, firewood. And bamboo shoots is a delicacy in Chinese cuisine.

l It is cool. It can help reduce the summer heat. We Chinese use bamboo to make sleeping mat. Recently I have learned an interesting word: Dutch wife.

l It is green, called “green bamboo”, a colour very much liked by the Chinese -- long long before “green” became the buzzword around the world. Bamboo is often used to beautify life in China -- like the flower.

l It is fast growing, full of vitality. It could reach 30 meters tall in 90 days. Just imagine, were it not for the bamboo, how many trees might have been cut down? For me, bamboo is the most useful, renewable and economic plant.  

l I will, of course, not forget to mention the lovely panda, who likes bamboo best.

Hope you will find time to visit the China Bamboo Garden just nearby.

Ladies and gentlemen,

President Xi in his recent meeting with EU leaders said that both China and Europe are two major civilizations, constructive forces and markets for human progress, world peace and development. We can and should work together for a better world and shared future.

The year 2022 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level between China and the NL.

Looking back, we have achieved a lot in building an “open and pragmatic partnership for comprehensive cooperation”.

We are each other’s major trading and investment partner. Our trade over the past two years increased by 7.8% and 27% respectively, and last year surpassed US$ 100 billion, against all odds of the pandemic.

Looking forward, we expect more from our cooperation and partnership.

Yes, there are challenges, like geopolitics and negative media reporting about China.

With your understanding, support and contribution, we will overcome the challenges.

I am optimistic.

We may use bamboo to epitomize Sino-Dutch relations: rapid developing, and resilient.  

Wish today’s event a big success.

Wish Floriade Expo 2022 a great success.

May the relations between our two countries continuous development.

Thank you.