BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — COCERAL announced on Sept. 25 that Gafta’s application to re-join the group was accepted. The decision, which is subject to formal ratification at the COCERAL AGM in May 2016, was prompted by Gafta’s strategic review of its policy work.

COCERAL, based in Brussels, Belgium, is the European association representing the trade in cereals, rice, feedstuffs, oilseeds, olive oil, oils and fats and agrosupply.  COCERAL represents collectors, distributors, exporters, importers and agribulk storers of those commodities.

Gafta (Grain and Feed Trade Association), based in London, England, is an international trade association with more than 1,500 members in 89 countries. Its goal is to promote international trade in grain, animal feed materials, pulses and rice and to protect the interests of members worldwide.

Gafta will focus its policy work more closely on international issues, including working through partnerships such as the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) and International Agri-Food Network (IAFN), Jaine Chisholm Caunt, director general of Gafta, said.

The group will close its office in Geneva, Switzerland and open an office in Singapore next year to support Gafta’s members across the Southeast Asia region, Caunt said.

Gafta’s head of policy, June Arnold, will move to a home-based role, and will focus on the international issues affecting the grain trade and supporting the work of Gafta’ s trade committees.

Arnold was also appointed as the private sector mechanism (PSM) representative to the Advisory Group of the Committee on World Food Security, this year, and along with myself as IAFN’s current chair, will attend FAO meetings in Rome, Italy, in October.

“As a member of COCERAL, Gafta members will have excellent representation and support on E.U. policy issues, and we look forward to working with COCERAL to speak with one single and strong voice for the trade sector in the E.U.,” Caunt said. “Gafta will also be able to support COCERAL’s lobbying activities in Brussels by providing the views of its non-European members on the impact of E.U. policy issues affecting them.”

Teresa Babuscio, COCERAL’s secretary general, said, “I am enthusiastic, on behalf of COCERAL members, to welcome Gafta back to COCERAL, after years of dialog and efforts aimed at the mutual understanding and respective roles.

“The two associations will work under a renewed and refreshed mandate, with a function which is complementary to each other and for the benefit of the trade community they both serve. Most importantly, the trading sector will be speaking with one single voice towards the European institutions.”