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Western ag leaders stress importance of trade

Wisconsin State Farmer
Ag ministers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the US banded together to stress the importance of maintaining trade flows 
 and their commitment to remaining reliable suppliers to food and ag products to the world during the pandemic.

Top agricultural officials representing Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States joined together in underscoring the importance of maintaining trade flows during the pandemic.

The statement was issued following the virtual G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers Meeting hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 12. The countries also emphasized their commitment to remaining reliable suppliers to food and ag products to the world.

“We, the Agriculture Ministers of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the United States, express our deepest condolences for the tragic loss of life being endured around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and convey our strong appreciation for all workers in the health, agricultural and other front-line sectors, who selflessly dedicate their efforts to the benefit of others.”

In facing the crisis, the ag ministers reiterated the importance of maintaining a reliable and resilient ag supply chain to guarantee the delivery of "safe, nutritious food around the world.

“Our nations have taken the measures necessary to keep agricultural supply chains operational, ensuring the continued production and distribution of safe, quality products, while safeguarding the health and welfare of agricultural sector workers. We are open for business and you can count on us for safe and high-quality food.”

As Western Hemisphere ag leaders, whose countries represent 35% of global exports in agricultural products, stressed the importance of maintaining agricultural trade flows, while avoiding unjustified trade-restrictive measures, in order to keep markets open and ensure global food security, especially to those most vulnerable.

Leaders also cited guidance published by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization on April 7, 2020, showing there is no evidence to date that supports the transmission of respiratory illnesses via food or food packaging, calling on trading partners to allow trade to flow without undue delay or unjustified requirements.

“We will continue to work with our partners and with relevant regional and international organizations to exchange information, enhance coordination, and strengthen our global response to the crisis,” the group stated.

Leaders also stressed the key role agriculture will play in economic recovery once the pandemic has passed.

"Innovation and technological development will be vital to guarantee that food systems develop sustainably to feed the world’s growing population. How we emerge from this crisis will be our greatest legacy for a future of global food security and nutrition.”