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Trust, Transparency and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Andrew Wilkinson, Milling and Grain

Although China is still a major contributor to global markets, USA and Canada are expected to make a comeback and be reinstated to the summit of world grain producers in the not too distant future

n recent years, external factors such as poor weather have contributed to poor harvests, which have in turn resulted in an understandable level of crop uncertainty. However, the forecast figures for 2016-17 that were announced at the recent International Grain Conference have only previously been bettered once. Given the backdrop of this very favourable forecast, the mood was suitably upbeat when the members of the council were joined by representatives from industry and other organisations for the IGC Grains Conference, on the theme of “Changing dynamics: the new trading environment,” on June 14 at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel, London. This year’s conference consisted of three sessions that focused on external factors. The first session, “Supply and demand outlook” was followed by, “Recent Trade Policy Developments, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),” with the third and final session discussing the intricacies of international “trade and logistics.” Opened by the Executive Director of the IGC, Mr Etsuo Kitahara. Mr Kitahara began his address by reminding all of the delegates assembled that, “The IGC is committed to playing an important role in building relationships between the key players in the oilseed market.” The market has changed a great deal in recent years; one only has to look to the recent successful emergence of the South American powerhouses of Argentina and Brazil. Russia and Brazil have also become the world’s largest players in wheat and soybean markets. However, there have been other factors that have affected the global market in recent years. According to Mr Kitahara, external factors such as the TTP, an arrangement that he believes is a, “Mega trade deal with far reaching effects.” Recent weather patterns have had catastrophic effects on global harvests – particularly in 2008, and alongside this with countries such as Russia reducing their agricultural growing space, competition for land between crops has been intensifying on a global scale. Supply and demand patterns have also changed a great deal; with export prices being a “good indicator” of this change according to Mr Kitahara, with “global wheat patterns are keeping prices low.” But with global prices being kept low, how can those with a vested interest in the international grains market ensure that they are able to cope?


Robert Johansson: Chief Economist, USDA “Coping with lower prices.” Following a brief introduction by IGC Senior Economist Amy Reynolds, Robert Johanssen was the first speaker of the day to take the stand. Selected as Chief Economist at the US Department of Agriculture in 2016, Dr Johansson is responsible for the Department’s agricultural forecasts and projections and for advising the Secretary of Agriculture on the, “economic implications of alternative programs, regulations and legislative proposals.” Dr Johansson’s address focussed primarily on three main topics which included coping with lower prices, how to operate in a lower 90 | July 2016 - Milling and Grain

JUL 2016 - Milling and Grain magazine  
JUL 2016 - Milling and Grain magazine