Global Talks Begin in Geneva on Global Wheat Trade
Delegates from the world’s major grain importing and exporting countries are meeting in Geneva to discuss the Wheat Sectoral Global Food Security Initiative. Designed to free up global wheat trade, the agreement is focused on removing as many trade barriers as possible, including issues regarding domestic subsidies, markets access, and global competition.
Australia’s grain industry group, GrainGrowers, has stated that it has given support to the initiative ‘in principal’, hoping that it could help Australia’s growers gain market strength against competing exporters that are heavily subsidized, including the U.S., Canada, and the EU. Although China and India also have subsidies, they do not control the same market share as the top three exporting nations.
Delegates are also intent on gaining assurance that biosecurity measures are being met and that such measures are not used by importing countries as a proxy for tariffs.
“We are seeing a real trend in that internationally where tariffs come down, but quasi-trade restrictions, by way of technical barriers, start to pop up," says Cheryl Kalisch Gordon, manager of trade and market access with GrainGrowers.