IGTC Hosts Dialogues in Geneva

This week IGTC led a ground-breaking series of trade and global food security events in Geneva entitled “IGTC Geneva Dialogues” with speakers, decision-makers, and thought leaders traveling to participate in person from around the world.

The two-day program on June 19 and 20 focused on cooperation between the public and private sectors for the benefit of global food security, and the role in this for corporate entities, non-profit trade associations, and national and regional governments. At a time when WTO leaders such as DG Okonjo-Iweala are consistently communicating that “trade is key to ensuring food security in a time of crisis”, it was important for IGTC to hear from delegates from the world trade body about its current work such as promoting environmental outcomes via trade and implementing the WTO Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement.

IGTC representatives took the floor to make presentations from global, national, and regional perspectives, emphasizing the role of the grain trade in meeting the needs of a growing global population, and providing evidence about some of the current challenges for example supply deficits in low-income, import-dependent countries.

Audience members included Geneva-based governmental representatives to the WTO such as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, New Zealand, Paraguay, UK, USA, Uruguay, and Vietnam, in addition to other industry leaders.

There was interest from audience members regarding IGTC presentations. Follow-up discussion centered on issues such as agriculture negotiations, the importance of trade for Global Food Security, and opportunities for private sector engagement at the WTO, among others.

IGTC thanks all who attended and contributed to putting on a successful program of events, especially the WTO for hosting meetings on day one and the Australian Mission for its support in facilitating a productive discussion. In addition, we would like to thank our corporate sponsor, Corteva, for hosting a Dialogue and Luncheon on day two. We look forward to future collaboration in the context of achieving our common goal of Global Food Security.

The full list of panels, speakers, and themes discussed was as follows:

Morning Session Day One: Engagement with the WTO Secretariat including:

  • WTO State of Play and Outlook for 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) and Beyond by Bernard Kuiten, Head of External Relations, Information and External Relations Division, WTO
  • The role of Trade in promoting environmental Outcomes by Rainer Lanz, Policy Analyst, Trade and Environment Division, WTO
  • Overview of developments in trade and agriculture by Cédric Pene, Counsellor, Agriculture, and Commodities Division, and Ulla Kask, Counsellor, Agriculture and Commodities Division, WTO
  • The Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Agreement by Christiane Wolff, Counsellor, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures Section, WTO

Afternoon Session Day One: “Global Food Security and Grain Seminar”

  • Opening remarks by Mr. Gary C Martin, IGTC/ North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) President; HE Mr. Alparslan Acarsoy, Ambassador of Türkiye, and Chair of Committee on Agriculture in Special Session; HE Mr. George Mina, Ambassador of Australia
  • Trade is part of the Solution - The Role of the Grain Trade in Global Food Security

Chaired by Gustavo Idigoras, Cámara de la Industria Aceitera de la República Argentina (CIARA-CEC), Argentina

Panelists: Iliana Axiotiades, European Association of Trade in Cereals, Oilseeds, Rice, Pulses, Olive Oil, Oils and Fats, Animal Feed and Agrosupply (COCERAL); Rosalind Leeck, U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC); and Stefan Florescu, CHS INC.

  • Supply Deficits - Meeting Food Security Needs

Chaired by Gerald Masila, East Africa Grains Council (EAGC)

Panelists: Giovanni Valensisi, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); Anna Sankina (CHS Inc. Ukraine); and Francois Guerin, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)

  • Resilience, Sustainability, ESG – links to Global Food Security

Chaired by Pat O’Shannassy (Grain Trade Australia)

Panelists: Marcos Amorim Associação Nacional dos Exportadores de Cereais (ANEC), Brazil; Bas Geerts, Cefetra; June Arnold, Grain, and Feed Trade Association (Gafta); and Marta Zuluaga Zilbermann (Cargill, Inc.)

  • Closing remarks by Mr. Edwini Kessie, Director, WTO Agriculture and Commodities Division; and Mr Gary C. Martin, IGTC and NAEGA President

The day concluded with a networking cocktail reception for Mission Delegates & Stakeholders in the WTO Atrium.

Day Two

  • Presentation on digitalization in the industry by Covantis
  • Dialogue with the WTO Member Delegates
  • Dialogue with the European Union Mission Deputy Head of Delegation Mr. Hiddo Houben
  • Dialogue and Luncheon on Innovation and Sustainability Opportunities for the Grain Trade hosted by Corteva.