ASA welcomes chairman of Europe's Ag Committee

by World Grain Staff
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ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, U.S. — American Soybean Association (ASA) President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Indiana, U.S., on June 13 welcomed Dr. Paolo De Castro, chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs, at a trade luncheon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., U.S.

ASA organized the lunch for De Castro that included an invited audience of U.S. food, agriculture, and agribusiness leaders. In his remarks, Kemper pointed out the responsibilities that the agriculture sectors in the U.S. and the E.U. share in providing food, feed, fiber, and fuel to meet a growing world demand.

"We have entered an era of tighter supplies, higher prices, and undiminished food assistance needs," Kemper said. "At the same time, we are engaged in discussions about the role of biotechnology in meeting this rising food demand, and how sustainable agriculture regulations, standards, and policies may help or hurt our efforts to successfully meet world food needs. It is my belief that, through our discussions and meetings like this today, we can develop the appropriate policies that will allow us to succeed in meeting food needs."

In addition to the U.S.’ and E.U.’s roles globally, these two countries have robust bilateral agricultural trade to sustain and grow. In 2010 the U.S. exported nearly $11 billion in agricultural commodities and food to the E.U., including over $1.5 billion in soybeans and soybean meal. Likewise, the U.S. is a major market for E.U. agricultural goods, importing over $17 billion in 2009.

Kemper also met with De Castro to discuss the development and approval of new biotech crops, and the E.U. Renewable Energy Directive (RED) that threatens U.S. soybean exports to the E.U., valued at $1.36 billion in 2010.

"The E.U. needs a transparent, science-based approval process that does not delay commercialization of new biotech traits in the U.S.," Kemper said. "To address the RED certification process, we need a bilateral agreement on an aggregate approach for certification based on U.S. conservation and farm laws, and a default value for soy-based biodiesel greenhouse gas emissions savings that is based on the sustainability of U.S. soybean production and transportation efficiencies."
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