Ning spoke with media during the Financial Times Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, April 20-22.
In the last year, COFCO has spent $2.8 billion toward its global goal through joint ventures with Noble Group and Dutch agricultural trading house Nidera.
"This should be not a Chinese, but a global company...the IPO will help us to achieve this standard," Ning said at the summit.
Ning told Reuters that COFCO's plan would be to list all of COFCO's, Noble's, and Nidera's agricultural assets together. This would put COFCO on par with the “ABCD” companies — Archer Daniels Midland, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus.
"After the integration with Noble Agri I think COFCO will invest again in other companies," Ning said.
Ning said North America is a “place you cannot ignore.” He said COFCO should not be a Chinese, but a global company.
"People ask me: are you going to be a buyer or a competitor in the future?...I think we will cooperate, sometimes we will compete," he said.
Ning also called on the Chinese government "to rethink their self-sufficiency policy,” noting the country's relatively high production costs for many crops.