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Western ag leaders encourage trade in post-COVID-19 environment

Western ag leaders encourage trade in post-COVID-19 environment

Reliable and resilient agricultural supply chains remain essential in aftermath of pandemic.

Top agricultural officials from five Western Hemisphere countries – Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. – underscored the importance of maintaining agricultural trade flows during the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasizing their commitment to remaining reliable suppliers of food and agricultural products to the world following the virtual G-20 Agriculture & Water Ministers Meeting hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Sept. 12.

In the joint statement, the agricultural ministers expressed their condolences for the tragic loss of life and also conveyed strong appreciation for all the workers in the health, agriculture and other front-line sectors who dedicated their efforts to the benefit of others.

“As we face the effects of this crisis, reliable and resilient agricultural supply chains remain essential to guarantee the availability of safe, nutritious food around the world,” the ministers said. “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 agricultural leaders, whose countries represent 35% of global exports in agricultural products, the leaders reiterated 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.

They also underscored the guidance published by the U.N. Food & Agricultural Organization and the World Health Organization on April 7, 2020, stating that "there is no evidence, to date, of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses being transmitted via food or food packaging," and they called on “trading partners to allow trade to flow without undue delay or unjustified requirements."

The ministers said they will continue to work with their partners and with relevant regional and international organizations to exchange information, enhance coordination and strengthen their global response to the crisis.

“Looking at the aftermath of this pandemic, we recognize that agriculture will be an important engine for economic recovery,” the ministers added. “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.”

TAGS: Policy
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