Beginning of December, representatives from the Foreign Trade Association (FTA), including Ferry Den Hoed, FTA President; Christian Ewert, FTA's new Director General; and Jan Eggert in his new capacity as FTA Senior Consultant for International Trade, concluded a successful business trip to strengthen commercial ties with business partners in China and South Korea.
In China, several meetings on trade barriers and challenges were held with partners, including the China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), to discuss ways for China to increase its competitiveness for European markets. During a meeting with Mr. Ma She, Deputy Director-General, Department of European Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, FTA emphasised the importance of speed-to-market, social compliance and environmental performance as the key to success. Christian Ewert said, "We are pleased to see how through FTA's sustainability initiatives, businesses can encourage their Chinese producers to make progress towards developing sustainable supply chains. This will reinforce their appeal as commercial partners for European retailers, importers and brand companies, long term".
The visit was the occasion for FTA to present its new Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI) and launch a series of producer workshops in different cities of the country. Additionally, on 27 November FTA participated in the 11th Sino-European CSR Round Table Forum, which brought together stakeholders working to improve labour relations in China. Following this, on 5 December, the 5th Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Committee (MAC) meeting was held, giving various social compliance initiatives the possibility to share best practices on increasing auditor competence to meet demand for high quality social audits.
FTA was welcomed during a visit to South Korea by representatives of the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), in view of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both on 9 June 2014. Both organisations intend to facilitate and boost mutual trade and economic growth. In Seoul, Jan Eggert gave a well-received presentation about development of global sourcing and EU-Korean commercial relations in light of the existing EU-Korea free trade agreement. Through this very fruitful visit, KITA offered very professional business insight into Korean trade markets and trends. FTA representatives were also welcomed on tours of South Korean producers to take a first-hand look at Korea's thriving factories, particularly in kitchenware and in special electronics.
*Pictured (left to right) Joyce Chau, BSCI Country Representative, China; Christian Ewert, Director General, FTA, Ma She, Deputy Director-General, Department of European Affairs, Ministry of Commerce, The People’s Republic of China; Ferry Den Hoed, President, FTA, Jan Eggert, Senior Consultant for International Trade, FTA.