Italy's deputy minister for productive activities with portfolio for foreign trade, Adolfo Urso, has announced that Italian cheeses can finally be exported to China.
"This is one of the last trade barriers to fall which blocked our high quality cheese producers from selling their much appreciated goods in the large market that is Asia," he said. "This ban existed for a long time and, up until yesterday, was motivated by the Chinese for health and hygiene reasons."
Beijing central government's relaxation of the cheese ban is seen by many as a response to the assistance provided by the Italian government in the wake of a number of food scares. In the midst of the recent Sars scare for example, Urso traveled to Beijing to demonstrate Italian support and to strengthen bilateral ties.
Italy hopes that the lifting of restrictions on Italian cheese will be the first in a series of steps designed to relax food import regulations in China. At present, imports of Italian cold cuts and meats are banned.
"In the next few days, we expect another favourable response," said Urso.