In his opening remarks, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said: “In many countries, agriculture remains important in driving economic growth and rural employment. Their agricultural sectors make different contributions to the achievement of food security and nutrition. There are also growing expectations that WTO rules will ensure that food imports are not only safe, but also contribute to healthy diets and better nutrition.”
“The WTO and the FAO have quite different mandates, but we have many shared aims,” said DG Azevêdo in his remarks. “I think it's clear that trade and the multilateral trading system can help in creating a more favourable environment for food security, food safety and sustainable agriculture.”
DG Azevêdo announced that the WTO will look into how standards on food safety and animal and plant health — or sanitary and phytosanitary standards — can facilitate trade and promote development, among other related issues. This collaboration will lead to a joint publication next year, fostering further action in this important area.
In a speech to FAO delegates, Director-General Azevêdo also discussed the agriculture-related agreements being negotiated at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. He noted that export competition may be a possible deliverable for Nairobi. “The elimination of agricultural export subsidies, and measures with equivalent effect, would be especially important for developing and least developed countries,” said DG Azevêdo.
DG Azevêdo's full remarks are available here.