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China grain trade leader flags importance of international trade cooperation


A senior figure representing China on an international grain trade association has spoken out about the importance of cooperation and collaboration among countries to ensure global food security against a backdrop of a growing world populations.


Ren Zhi, vice president of the China National Association of Grain Sector (CNAGS), responded during a panel presentation looking at what challenges grain producers, governments and trade bodies faced in trying to lower the barriers to moving crops across border.


The news comes a day after the latest US Department of Agriculture Wasde figures show that China, the world’s biggest wheat producing country, is expected to grow 131.43m tonnes 2019-20 - 22% of the world’s production. The figure remains unchanged on the previous monthly update.


Mr Ren, whose organisation is part of the Swiss-based International Grains Trades Council that represents 25 trade associations, councils to support the trade of grain, oilseeds and pulses amounting to 600m tonnes, said: "From the perspective of food security of the whole world is not decided by one country, but by the contribution of all others."


Lowering barriers to trade


He was one of four speakers at the talk at the International Grain Conference in London looking at iniatives to remove barriers to global trade.



Mr Ren’s association was a key delegate at the World Grain Trade Forum in Beijing last November which also included representatives from the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs and the World Trade Organization to consider issues such as biosecurity, food safety and barriers to trade such as certification. "We hope the forum in future will bring us all together, " he said.


"We hope to provide service not just to China but the whole world."



Supplying food to meet population growth



Also during the session, Pat O’Shannassy, chief executive at Grain Trade Australia, spoke about a multi-lateral initiative of the trade body with the ASEAN trade bloc designed to improve trade and maintain to meet demands for grain amid predictions from the UN that the world’s population will grow from 7.55bn to 9.77bn by 2050.



The aim was to tackle barriers such as lack of transparency or inconsistent rules governing the trade of food or feeds between countries which added to the cost of export and import business. "These barriers affect anywhere in the supply chain," he said, adding that the plan was to increase value, reduce trade risks and boost economic growth.



Meanwhile, Alejandra Danielson Castillo, regional director for South Asia, US Grains Council, then highlighted ePhyto, an initiative to accelerate the issue and transparency of phytosanitary certificates.



These documents certify the trade of exported grains to ensure biosecurity and that it conforms to the plant health regulations of the importing country. The scheme is being adopted by countries including Chile, the US, New Zealand, Argentina and the Netherlands.



Ms Castillo said: "We need to collaborate if we are to meet the needs of a growing world population ... ePhyto is designed to prevent the delays in clearing customs."

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