UN: FAO, WTO partner on food safety, trade to improve nutrition

New York, US (PANA) - The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Trade
Organization (WTO) agreed on Monday to strengthen their cooperation to promote international
food trade and safety to improve nutrition and allow small-scale producers to have better access to international agricultural markets.

FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva, in a statement obatined by PANA in New York, said:
"We look forward to ensuring fair trade of agricultural and food products through this stronger (FAO-WTO) cooperation.

"On the one hand, trade is likely to play an increasing role in meeting the growing demand from food-deficit countries. On the other hand, greater trade openness may undermine the capacity of local people to produce their own food."

Mr. Graziano da Silva also warned that failure to reach a balanced solution on issues relating to production and trade of agricultural products could derail the international community's recently agreed sustainable development goal to eradicate world hunger.

On his part, WTO's Director-General Roberto Azevedo said "at the WTO, we seek to ensure that the global trading system works for all, that it is fair and balanced, in a way which supports growth and development and allows people to access the goods and services that they need including food.

"When I visit developing countries, especially in Africa, business people tell me about the difficulties they face in meeting the required standards", he said, adding that, "it is essential to provide capacity building for producers in developing countries, an area of work where WTO and FAO are seeking to deepen their collaboration."

Mr. Azevedo disclosed that the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, scheduled for December, will discuss the role of agriculture, especially in development and in improving the lives of people in least developed countries.

He also said "other issues for discussion include addressing trade restrictions that impact imports, such as the lowering of tariffs, the need to minimize domestic agricultural subsidies, and the distortions these programmes produce, as well as the need to eliminate export subsidies".

The WTO and FAO chiefs also said the increase in cooperation between the two UN agencies will deepen their collaboration on trade and food safety, including a joint publication in 2016 which would deal with sanitary and phyto-sanitary (SPS) measures that curb the spread of plant and animal diseases during the transport for trade of agricultural products.

Other areas where the two bodies are seeking to reinforce their joint efforts include the Standards and Trade Development Facility, capacity development initiatives to assist countries in the implementation of the Codex Alimentarius or "Food Code" which develops harmonized international food standards that
protect consumer health and promote fair practices in food trade and country level assistance to facilitate trade in safe and nutritious food.
-0- PANA AA/SEG 2Nov2015

02 november 2015 19:33:03

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