China to import horses directly from Belgium

By staff reporter Xu Lin
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail, September 10, 2013
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Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters feeds a Belgian Warmblood horse named Vamiro in the Equuleus International Riding Club in Beijing on Sept. 9, 2013. [Photo by Xu Lin /]

China is set to green-light the direct import of Belgian riding horses instead of buying them from a third country, said a top official from Belgium on Monday.

According to Flemish Minister-President Kris Peeters, under the old system, Belgian horses could only be transported first to Holland, Luxemburg or Germany, and then on to China. The good news is that a trade agreement has now been signed between China and Belgium, meaning China is now able to import riding horses, mainly the world-class Belgian Warmblood (BWP), directly from Belgium.

"This is an important step," said Peeters when he visited the Equuleus International Riding Club, a leading horse riding club based in Beijing. "We are happy that we can promote our horses in China. We will arrange several exports in the near future and I hope that they will win a lot of competitions here."

Rudi Eerdekens, CEO of the Belgian Warmblood Association, told a journalist from that it was not cost effective for their horses to be shipped in from other countries. "The new system will simplify the process and lower the prices," he added.

"Horse riding is very popular in Belgium, with 50 to 60 percent of the people riding horses, and this number is still growing," Eerdekens said. "Every weekend we have 10 to 15 competitions." "It's very handy to travel from Belgium and other European countries, so a lot of famous international horse riders reside in Belgium, training horses for big international championships and festivals."

Yue Gaofeng, secretary-general of the China Horse Association, explained that Belgium has about 350,000 horses in total, one horse for every 31 people. Comparatively, China has 6.5 million horses, one horse for every 200 people. "Belgium is a small country, yet it is superior in terms of horse riding. China may be big in numbers, but it's not ‘strong’ in the horse industry," he said.

"The horse trading agreement between the two countries is significant. We wish that we can learn more about the advanced concepts and technologies from Belgium in order to promote the further development of the Chinese horse industry," Yue concluded.

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