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IGTC Newsletter 30 April 2019

London Grains Week: Do not miss your discounted ticket for the International Grains Council (IGC) conference on 11-12 June! Contact the IGTC Secretariat to learn about special rates. 

Events

May 11-12: G20 Agriculture Ministerial, Niigata, Japan

The theme of the meeting is “Toward Sustainable Agro-Food Sector – Emerging Issues and Good Practices”. Official website here.

May 22-24: NAEGA-APPAMEX Forum, Cancún, Mexico

The IGTC Secretariat will provide an update on activities, focussing on multilateral regulatory issues and electronic trading documentation.

May 29-30: 2019 MRL Harmonisation Workshop, San Francisco, USA

The programme includes the second international workshop on missing MRLs – a follow up from the February 2018 event attended by IGTC. Website here

June 10: IGTC Strategy Session, London, UK

Global grain trade leaders will gather to discuss issues of mutual interest as per the IGTC policy and outreach agenda.

June 11-12: International Grains Council (IGC) annual conference, London, UK

IGTC can offer an exclusive discount to this conference for members and Corporate Stakeholders. The programme (here) includes several IGTC speakers, as well as an IGTC-specific workshop on June 12. 

Links

IGTC Website

IGTC list of members

IGTC in Action

MRL Policy Team outreach at the World Trade Organization (WTO)

IGTC conducted an outreach mission at WTO last week, holding bilateral meetings with government delegations from Canada, Ukraine, Brazil, Australia, Thailand and Uganda. The aim of the meetings was to communicate the IGTC’s newly revised MRL policy document (here) and gather information about the following WTO MRL matters:

  • Status of MRL discussions at the WTO SPS Committee, including ongoing “Specific Trade Concerns” (STCs)
  • Likelihood of MRL issues making it to the next WTO Ministerial (“MC12”) in Astana, Kazakhstan, June 2020
  • The hot topic of “WTO reform” and how this will impact the functioning of the SPS Committee
  • Implementation of outcomes of the WTO Missing MRL workshop of February 2018
  • Legacy of the December 2017 joint Ministerial statement (IGTC article here)

The IGTC delegation (pictured) consisted of Gord Kurbis (Vice President, Canada Grains Council) June Arnold (Head of Policy, Gafta - the Grain and Feed Trade Association), and Katy Lee (IGTC Secretariat). A full report of the meetings will be circulated to the IGTC’s MRL Policy Team.

Innovation and Codex standards under the spotlight at food safety conference

There was a call for renewed international cooperation on global standards to protect consumer health and avoid unnecessary trade barriers at last week’s International Forum on Food Safety in Geneva. The Forum’s opening ceremony included a unique joint appearance from the Directors General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).

Importantly for the IGTC, there was an emphasis on harmonized food safety regulations, with a specific focus on the capacity of Codex Alimentarius and the WTO SPS Agreement to respond to adapt to “novel challenges” whilst at the same time continuing to respond to more traditional food safety hazards such as resistance to antimicrobial agents, foodborne and zoonotic diseases, chemical hazards and contaminants, and naturally occurring toxins in plants, soil and water.

Regarding “novel challenges”, sufficient and sustainable funding for Codex scientific advice was highlighted, as well as the ability to ensure robust implementation of Codex standards across both high-income and low-income countries. Examples of “novel challenges” cited:

  • The need to drive innovation
  • Laboratory grown meat
  • 3D printed food
  • Gene editing
  • New tools for diagnosis, surveillance and investigation
  • Digitalization 

Panel sessions were mainly led by intergovernmental organizations, governments (African Union, Albania, Australia, Canada, European Union, Indonesia, USA, Singapore) and academia. 

Agriculture Ministers prepare for 11-12 May G20 meeting

Priorities have been set for the upcoming agriculture summit that will take place in the context of Japan’s G20 Presidency on May 11-12 in Niigata. During the meeting, Agriculture Ministers from G20 countries* will focus on: fostering innovative human resources and new technologies; supporting farmers’ position in the value chain; and the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The text of the 2016 G7 Niigata agriculture declaration will be used to support discussions.

*G20 is made up of 19 countries and the EU. The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, UK, USA. Invited guest countries: The Netherlands, Senegal, Singapore, Spain, Thailand.

The accuracy of the information reported and interpreted in this communication is not guaranteed. All contents are subject to correction and revision. This newsletter and referenced links are for the use of IGTC Members and Stakeholders only and should otherwise be treated as confidential.

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