Slovenian dairies have been given the go-ahead to start exporting milk and dairy products to China, with the first shipment of sterilised milk being exported later this month.
The impact of a Russian embargo and the abolition of EU milk quotas had forced the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food to look for new markets for its dairy products.
Milk production is one of the most important sectors of Slovenian agriculture, contributing 15% to the total national agricultural production last year, with 113,000 dairy cows producing 630,000 tons of milk.
Of this, over half (56%) was exported, a total of 354,000 tons, to its key markets of Italy, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Greece and Austria.
Italian and Croatian export markets are the most important markets for Slovenian producers of raw milk with exports worth EUR80m and EUR17.6m respectively.  Both markets have growth steadily over the past two years.    
Dairy company Ljubljanske mlekarne is expecting to export UHT milk to China, while Miekarna Celeia anticipates exporting cheese spreads and other value-added dairy products.
Some dairies produce milk powder for export, and the ministry said the Chinese are also looking for some fermented products.
As a result of this trading agreement with China, the Slovenian Ministry said it hoped that this would speed up procedures for other food products.
Russia imposed an embargo on dairy products in August 2014 and recently extended it until the end of 2017. While Slovenia did not directly  suffer from the consequences of the embargo, as it did not export to Russia, the country was nonetheless indirectly affected by un-exported milk and other dairy products from EU countries. Those milk products increased the pressure on the prices of milk in Slovenia and all other countries of the EU market.