G-20: Western hemisphere, Russia release ag statements
From the meeting of G-20 agriculture ministers in Japan, the Agriculture Department over the weekend released two statements from Western hemisphere governments and photos of their leaders meeting, while TASS, the Russian government news agency, released a statement apparently signed by all G-20 countries.
In one statement, agriculture officials from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United States said, “Together, we stand to work in partnership, and jointly with additional countries, to support regulatory approaches that are risk- and science-based, predictable, consistent, and transparent.”
“Our five nations recognize that innovations in the agriculture sector contribute to improved productivity, including by smallholder and young farmers, and rural women, in a safe and sustainable manner, and to our countries’ ability to meet the ever-growing global demand for food,” the statement said.
“With the world’s population projected to reach 9.8 billion by 2050, science and innovation will play a key role in enabling agriculture producers to safely feed everyone.
“As Western Hemisphere agricultural leaders, we affirm our intent to work together to champion global agricultural trade based on sound science and risk analysis principles. We also affirm our intent to allow farmers and ranchers access to the tools needed to: increase productivity; reduce food loss and waste; protect soil, water and biodiversity; and produce safe, nutritious, affordable food products year-round, to the benefit of the world population.”
In a separate statement, also released by USDA, the agriculture ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States — but not Mexico — issued a statement pledging to work together to press for “global” management of the low-level presence of biotechnology traits.
“These ministers recognized that the number of biotechnology crops being developed and cultivated worldwide is increasing annually,” the statement said.
“Yet, despite two decades of experience in the safe use of these products, regulatory processes in many jurisdictions create time gaps in their authorization. This leads to an increasing risk of trade disruptions resulting from occurrences of low-level presence (LLP) of biotechnology crops that are approved in growing countries, but not yet approved in importing countries.”
“LLP occurs when a small amount of a biotechnology crop that has been assessed as safe in one or more countries according to international standards, is unintentionally present in a shipment to a country where the product has not yet been approved. This may lead to unnecessary trade disruptions, which can affect food security, prices and attitudes toward innovation in both the exporting and importing countries.
“The extent of unnecessary asynchronous product approvals worldwide is increasing and requires further actions to address the risk of trade disruption, avoid its negative effects to importing and exporting countries alike, and promote global food security.
“For this purpose we, ministers of Agriculture from Argentina, Brazil, Canada and the United States, commit to heighten collaborative work with third-party countries in 2019, and continue advocating for global approaches for the management of LLP that are practical, science-based, predictable and transparent. These efforts will include the universal use of international science-based guidelines.”
All 20 ministers adopted a broader statement calling for “innovation toward sustainability,” which TASS highlighted in a release.
–The Hagstrom Report
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