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Diplomacy in Action

Remarks at Food Safety Event: APEC/World Bank MOU Signing Ceremony

May 18, 2011


Remarks

 

FOOD SAFETY EVENT: APEC/WORLD BANK MOU SIGNING CEREMONY

 

May 18, 2011

Big Sky, Montana

 

MODERATOR: Good Morning and welcome. This morning we are going to have a signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the World Bank and the Food Safety Cooperation Forum. The Food Safety Cooperation Forum is a forum in APEC dedicated to food safety.

Our first speaker will be Ambassador Demetrios Marantis. Demetrios, please.

AMBASSADOR MARANTIS: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Big Sky, Montana. It's a great opportunity to be here and make progress on a variety of issues that we all care about a lot, and I could not be more thrilled to be here to witness this, the MOU Signing today.

As many of you know, the goal of this MOU is to further advance food safety capacity-building in the Asia Pacific Region. For the Food Safety Cooperation Forum, today is the culmination of several years of cooperative and intense efforts in APEC to advance this important issue. The events here today at Big Sky also mark four years since the creation of the Food Safety Cooperation Forum in the Hunter Valley in Australia and it's noteworthy that, in the midst of the high-profile food safety incidents in 2007, APEC actually provided the space for leaders in this community to get past the headlines and to get past trade tensions and explore ways to build stronger food safety systems throughout the Asia Pacific Region.

That's why APEC, as an organization, is so important. It has a flexible member-driven approach and that allows us to accomplish things particularly well. APEC's vibrancy and flexibility enable it to bring together stakeholders and government officials together to tackle challenging issues in new, innovative, and, what we like to call, outside of the box ways.

We also see a critical nexus between the quality of the regulatory environment and APEC economies and the openness to trade and investment and ultimately with the vibrancy and economic growth and quality of life in the region.

In the case of the quality of food safety regulatory systems, the issues go beyond quality of life itself to the protection of life. Food and waterborne diseases are leading causes of illness and death in developing economies with a global mortality rate of some 2.2 million people each year, mostly children. Undernourished children and vulnerable populations are particularly at severe risk. Improvements in food safety can contribute mightily to protecting those vulnerable groups.

Advancing regulatory cooperation and convergence is a key issue for the United States as we host our APEC Year in 2011. We are working to advance concrete outcomes on these issues throughout the year. The United States believes strongly in the work of the Food Safety Cooperation Forum and its Partnership Training Institute Network. With its firm grounding in the WTO, SPS, and TBT Agreements, its twin goals of public health and trade, and its strong support by key stakeholders, this is a poster child for the kinds of regulatory cooperation efforts that we hope to see in APEC generally.

It's especially fitting that this MOU is being signed this morning just before the high-level dialogue on Food Security. Last October, at the first APEC Ministerial Food Security Dialogue in Japan, ministers agreed that "building the capacity of economies to produce access and distribute safe food as well as developing appropriate food safety regulation is an integral element of food security."

APEC's work in this area is a solid contribution to advancing our overall mutual goals with respect to food security.

I very much applaud the vision of the co-chairs for their leadership of the Food Safety Cooperation Forum Initiative. I'm grateful that APEC's Executive Director, Ambassador Noor, could be with us today, as well, to witness this important event.

I would also like to recognize the partnerships forged by the Food Safety Cooperation Forum and its Partnership Training Institute Network with industry, academia, and international organizations. Their vitality and strength have attracted high-level attention in the United States and it's my pleasure to share the stage today with both Peggy Hamburg, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and Pam Bailey, the CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Indeed, we are here today to mark the effort to more closely forge one of those key partnerships, that of the Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank. The collaboration between agriculture experts at the World Bank and the APEC Food Safety Team began early on. It has grown through the joint work on several events, papers and meetings, all geared towards improving public health and facilitating trade.

I'm particularly pleased that the idea of this MOU was launched through an exchange of letters by World Bank President Bob Zoellick, a USTR alumnus, and one of the PTIN's strongest supporters, Pam Bailey. We are also grateful that Inger Anderson, the World Bank's Vice President for Sustainable Development, is with us today to sign the MOU on behalf of the World Bank Group.

So let me stop there and say that I'm just thrilled and extraordinarily pleased on behalf of USTR to be with you today to mark the signing of the Forum's MOU with the World Bank.

Thank you and congratulations.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Demetrios.

[Applause.]

MODERATOR: And now I'd like to introduce Dr. Lin Wei. Dr. Lin Wei is the Deputy Director General of the Import Export Safety Bureau at AQSIQ in China.

Dr. Lin, please.

DR. LIN: Thank you, Julia. Distinguished guests, friends, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.

Today, it is my great honor to be here to attend the Signing Ceremony of the MOU between APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank for collaboration on food safety capacity-building.

On behalf of the FSCF, I'm very happy to sign this MOU with my partner Mr. McCutcheon, together, which will be indicating that the cooperation relationship between the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank is stepping into a new era.

Why was the FSCF founded? As you know, changing global pattern of the food production, globalization of food trade, emerging of new technology, public expectations for health protection, and money and other factors have imposed huge challenges on food safety management.

To address those challenges effectively and to coordinate, in November 2004 China provided a proposal from APEC Food Safety Cooperation Initiative to APEC FSC and the ministers in order to improve food safety, encourage harmonization with international standards, and to promote the food trade facilitation within APEC region.

With the active support from member economies, including Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Singapore, the Food Safety Cooperation Forum, co-chaired by Australia and China, was established in Hunter Valley in 2007 to achieve three goals. that is, to establish transparency, information-sharing, and the communication that works; to build robust food safety regulatory systems within APEC economies that harmonized with international standards; and to enhance human results, result competencies.

Since the foundation of FSCF, great progress have been made. Especially, Partnership Training Institute Network proposed by United States was established in 2008, and it provided greater support to food safety capacity-building within APEC Region by enlisting the expertise from industry, academia in the region to conduct food safety capacity activities in a three-part manner.

Up till now, the FSCF and its PTIN have organized more than 30 food safety capacity-building activities with participants from all APEC member economies. Also, a *chilliness has been acknowledged in the APEC Minister and economic leaders' declaration in recent years, while highlighting the positive result we have achieved.

It should be noted that FSCF is also still facing a number of challenges; for example, the food safety capacity-building within the region is still under-resourced. But it's very exciting that the achievements of FSCF and its PTIN has gained more and more attention and support from various stakeholders, including the World Bank. Actually, the World Bank has engaged with FSCF and its PTIN in the field of food safety capacity-building in the last two years.

Today, the MOU between the APEC FSCF and the World Bank is going to be signed, which will trigger a closer cooperation between the two parties and subsequently contribute a better food safety *agenda with the region. I believe it will infuse great new energy in the wanted sustainable support for the future development of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and its PTIN to achieve bigger course of food safety and the trade facilitation within the region.

Thank you. Thank you very much.

[Applause.]

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Dr. Lin, and I'd like to introduce the other Food Safety Cooperation Forum Co-Chair, Mr. Steve McCutcheon, the CEO of Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Steve.

MR. McCUTCHEON: Thank you, Julia, and good morning, distinguished guests.

In our responsibilities to report to APEC and to try and gauge whether the Food Safety Cooperation Forum is making a positive impact with respect to its goals, the Forum undertakes a review of its progress every two years when it meets.

In our most recent review, all economies were actively consulted and through this work we're able to see a range of benefits that have emerged from the work of the Food Safety Corporation Forum in the short time that it has been established.

Successes and benefits of the Forum that have been communicated by APEC member economies include raising the profile of food safety and the Food Safety Corporation Forum, both within economies and across the APEC region generally. This has given economies greater leverage to gain support from their own governments and also from regional and internationally funded organizations to advance food safety.

We have significantly improved communication networks for a sharing of information amongst APEC member economies. For the third time since 2007, we have had at least 18 member economies sitting at the table together to discuss priority food safety issues. In addition, e-mail communication between these economies now takes place regularly, and we have established websites for both the Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the Partnership Training Institute Network to provide a range of information about related activities.

Through the Food Safety Cooperation Forum, capacity-building activities in the APEC region now are taken in a coordinated way, and they are based on food safety capacity-building needs identified from within the 21 APEC member economies, so it is very much demand-driven. In addition, the forum has an advisory role to the SCSC with respect to APEC food safety proposals, with feedback provided to the SCSC on whether proposals are consistent with agreed priority areas.

Since we last met in 2009, there has been considerable growth of the forum's Partnership Training Institute Network, with a range of private sector, academic, and international organizations now involved. This means that all the necessary stockholders are involved in the capacity-building work of the forum, and we see that this will provide significant benefits to all member economies.

Now, as Dr. Lin mentioned, since 2007 there have been 32 capacity-building activities that have been implemented by the forum and it's PTIN in the APEC region. These activities have taken place within 11 economies and involving participants from all member economies, which is a great achievement.

Areas addressed include the development of food safety standards and enforcement systems, microbiological risk assessments, risk communication, risk analysis, and food supply chain management. I'd like to acknowledge that the World Bank has been a partner to the forum's PTIN in a number of these events over the last two years, so that early engagement with World Bank has been very productive.

Most recently, this week we have completed a two-day capacity building workshop on the management of food safety incidents. The outcomes of this workshop will assist economies to develop their own food safety incident management protocols and practices, share information about food safety incidents as part of the forum, of the forum's Food Safety Incident Management Network, and share best practice examples from around the region. By having better systems in place for managing incidents within the region, we hope that the number and scale of food safety incidents will be reduced, avoiding negative impacts on both trade and public health. Following on from this workshop, we will be developing an online training module on food safety incident management that will be available via the PTIN website.

In addition, the first online sustainable training module on food supply chain management has been launched this week in Big Sky. This is intended to be one of many sustainable modules that will be of benefit to all economies.

Economies have reported that as a result of their participation in the forum, and in particular the PTIN capacity-building activities, advances have been made in developing standards in food regulatory systems. An example of this was provided yesterday at our forum meeting, where the Philippines provided a case study of their involvement in the forum as well as the activities the Philippines has been involved in and the positive impact this has had on their food safety systems and standards.

At a regional level amongst all APEC member economies, work has commenced on promoting harmonization of MRL standards and on taking a common approach to export certificates. These are two factors that can currently create undue trade restrictions. In working together, we have agreed on plans to implement projects that will start to address these issues. This project progress demonstrates the potential for significant benefits in terms of improved facilitation of trade in the APEC region.

Finally, we are very excited about the prospect of formalizing our relationship with the World Bank through the signing of an MOU today. I see this as a wonderful opportunity to advance the work that is being undertaken Food Safety Cooperation Forum and its Partnership Training Institute Network. Thank you.

[Applause]

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Steve.

And now I'd like to induce Ms. Inger Anderson, Vice President for Sustainable Development Network of the World Bank. Inger, please.

MS. ANDERSON: Thank you very much indeed. First of all, a huge word of thanks for allowing us at the World Bank inside this partnership that is so strong within APEC. To Ambassador Marantis, many, many thanks for your warm welcome and for the very nice words of support that you gave, and the leadership that the Trade Representative office of the U.S. really has shown in this field. And to Mr. McCutcheon and Dr. Lin Wei, the co-chairs who have just given their remarks, many, many thanks for this leadership and again for this collaboration that is emerging.

To Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, with whom we've had some discussions over time, the office of the FDA, but I think we are now saying this is a launch pad for much more intense collaboration. And of course to Pamela Bailey, who had the opportunity to come and meet with our president – and in fact, I do bring you strong greetings from President Zoellick, who very, very much gets this issue and who very much supports it, and due and in line with Pamela's meeting in December, is very much encouraging and pushing for this collaboration. And last but not least, of course, to Ambassador Muhamad Noor, the Executive Director of APEC, for his leadership here.

We really do commend the leadership of APEC and the government of the United States and all the members of APEC and the Grocery Manufacturers Association for moving this agenda item forward. The MOU that we are going to be signing later on today, as has been said by previous speakers, allows us this opportunity to build on this foundation on broad collaboration.

These three areas: One, the whole story around capacity-building for food safety in poorer countries, is something that we take very seriously at the World Bank, where our mandate is work and our vision is a world free of poverty, and food safety plays an important role there. And secondly, of course, this network about which we have just heard among food safety institutions and practitioners, how can we strengthen that? We look at the MOU as an opportunity to do so. And lastly and not least, of course, sharing lessons as we learn and move ahead between countries, between partners, and between institutions.

Inside the World Bank, we operate in the agriculture sector. We are guided by what we call the agriculture action plan. And without boring you with too much of this, I want to tell you that is has five elements that we sort of are working on.

And one is obvious; it deals with raising agricultural productivity in a climate-changing, growing world population situation. So how do we raise agricultural productivity?

Second, and I'll come back to this, it deals with linking farmers to markets and strengthening the value addition, which is obviously very important to our topic today.

Third, the whole risk and vulnerability, how can we reduce that? As we are seeing climatic variability, shocks, price shocks, oil price shocks, or financial shocks in the market, how can we deal with that?

And fourth, facilitating agricultural entry and exit as farmers ramp off or ramp into the sector, as well as rural non-farm income.

And finally, of course, the fifth area deals with environmental sustainability.

So on this second pillar, the critical pillar of linking farmers to markets, of course for our focus, it's the small holders that we are concerned about, the poorer farmers, the farmers who are amongst the one billion people living on less than a dollar a day. So the poor farmer here is obviously very important. And so it's really about the ability of these small holders to compete in higher-value markets, to enhance their competitiveness so that they can get greater yields through trade, through productivity, and through growth, and thereby lifting themselves out of poverty. And of course, in the APEC region, whether it's in South Asia, Latin America, or East Asia, this is of course very important.

So small holder farmers, they need to link better to markets, and one important way in which they can do so is of course to have better access to market information. And market information is many things, but we know that timely access to this information can dramatically improve the access, the ability of the farmers to discover the price levels, to grow the right things, to market the things or their products when they need to, and thereby also reducing local market volatility and also, of course, reducing post-harvest losses and thereby feeding back into the growth cycle.

But what we are seeing particularly is that when economies transform from agriculture-based economies to urban-based economies or urbanizing economies, all of a sudden you're no longer just eating what you grow, but there is a market that sets into play. And all of a sudden, there's a sharp turn of attention on the food safety. And so that is a phenomenon that we see particularly in the middle income countries, where urbanization is taking off in a major, major way. And so here the whole issue around food safety, around standards, around market integration, around improved into trade, and the market integration business models, this all of a sudden becomes the core of attention. And so these are precisely the areas of focus for the World Bank's engagement in many of these of these countries.

And we're seeing a demand for this more and more as we're seeing demand increasing for the higher-value primary as well as processed products. And so that is of course driven by these rising incomes amongst people and by urbanization.

So globalization, as we all know, has opened huge new market opportunities to farmers and agribusiness entrepreneurs, and that is a very, very good thing. But these new markets are demanding quality, timeliness of delivery, economies of scale, things that smaller farmers may have a difficulty in addressing without help. And this is where the World Bank often finds ourself addressing because we no longer really have local markets. Markets are truly global. And so when we see these global markets and the movements of food and livestock around the world, then of course the emphasis on food safety and disease risk becomes all the more important.

And so, as I mentioned, it's about – but having all these more exacting standards, that is not so easy for the small, poor farmers to meet. And so that is often where the World Bank find ourselves being asked to provide attention.

But agricultural growth, agricultural productivity, agricultural trade, we know these are key to poverty alleviation. But agricultural growth has proven to be, on average, two to four times as effective in raising the incomes of the poor than growth generated in the non-agricultural sectors. So we know that agriculture and agricultural investments are key to lifting these people out of poverty, but that's precisely where the whole food safety story becomes one of the keys that unlock that potential. Plus, of course, it helps greatly on local health impacts. We heard Ambassador Marantis speak about children impacted by water-borne diseases, by poor product management and handling. So there is a true win/win/win opportunity here.

In East Asia and the Pacific, economic transformation is driving resources, whether it's labor, land, water, food, public budgets, to urban areas, as I mentioned. And so agriculture needs to facilitate this transformation while still providing food security, poverty reduction, and environmental services and sustainability.

And we feel that this Memorandum of Understanding allows us, with a poverty focus, to engage with you on a food safety and trade focus and create this perfect, perfect relationship of mutual benefits to all and to the people that we serve, and thereby, of course, supporting greater food safety. So for us, we are very delighted and privileged, in fact, to step into this partnership. It allows us to explore collaboratively the way in which we can mobilize resources for all the work that lies ahead, and particularly to partner with the Partnership Training Institute Network and of course through the work of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum, through its two good chairs that we have here.

We look very much forward to this work that lies ahead, and I very much thank everyone for this opportunity. So thank you.

[Applause]

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Inger.

And now I'd like to induce Ambassador Muhamad Noor, who is the, Executive Director of APEC. Ambassador Noor, please.

AMBASSADOR NOOR: Thank you, Julie. I'm honored to be here this morning on the occasion of the signing of the MOU within the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank on food safety capacity-building.

The first APEC food security ministerial meeting last year, which was held in Niigata in Japan, we heard from the business community, urging a comprehensive -- for the establishment of a comprehensive and long-term response to the issue of food security. Food safety is very closely related to the question of food security. Global and regional cooperation on building the capacity of regulatory systems is key to reducing food incidents and boosting trust in trade. It enhances both domestic commerce and export markets.

Since 2007, the APEC Sub-Committee on Standards and Conformances, Food Safety Cooperation Forum has been working with the World Bank to build robust food safety systems with a view to accelerating progress towards homogenization of food standards with international standards to improve public health and facilitate trade.

This MOU formalizes the relationship with APEC and the World Bank and will further the work that has been ongoing since 2007. Developed by the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and the World Bank, the MOU’s key purpose is to strengthen support for food safety at the regional as well as global level. This work is important because food trade is increasingly becoming global and complex and interrelated supply chains, which raises the need to address the question of food safety.

We at APEC Secretariat are enthusiastic about this work with the World Bank and leveraging our collective responses to build capacity in the Asia-Pacific region. The APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum and World Bank will work together on training programs to improve food safety standards and practices in the region, as well as to facilitate trade.

As Ambassador Marantis earlier mentioned, I might mention that later this afternoon, we’ll be hearing about the importance of market-based solutions for food security and for service loss within the food chain and public-private partnerships at the APEC high level dialogue on food security. There will be a discussion on what policies APEC can and APEC economies can implement to increase market reliability and transparency and where governments and the private sector can collaborate to reduce post-service losses. New Zealand’s Trade Minister, Tim Groser, an old friend of mine, the World Bank’s Juergen Voegele, Director of the Agriculture and Rural Development Department, Sustainable Development, and Wal-Mart CEO Scott Price are amongst the speakers. So it will be a very interesting event, which I would like to promote -- take this occasion to promote.

Thank you so much.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Ambassador Noor. And now I’d like to introduce Commissioner Margaret Hamburg from the United States Food and Drug Administration. Peggy, please.

MS. HAMBURG: Thank you very much and good morning. It’s really a great pleasure to be here to support the ongoing collaboration between APEC and the World Bank through this Memorandum of Understanding, to work collaboratively to build food safety capacity in the APEC region. It also is a great honor to share the podium with such distinguished colleagues, and I thank you all for your vision and leadership in supporting this activity and also for all of the hard work you do.

Both APEC and the World Bank are dedicated to food safety. APEC leaders have issued a collective mandate to improve food safety standards and practices in full alignment with their mission to support sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the region. The World Bank recognizes the importance of food safety to agricultural value chains, trade development, and food security. We all recognize the fundamental importance of strengthening food safety systems and capabilities, to improve health, prevent disease, and foster well-being and quality of life. Ambassador Marantis gave a very eloquent description of the burden of disease that’s associated with food borne illness and it can be prevented if we can more effectively address food safety.

On many levels, this collaborative effort will be extremely beneficial to enhancing global food safety. The APEC region has a significant presence on the world stage because it accounts for 41 percent of the world population and nearly 50 percent of global food production. The World Bank and APEC clearly recognize that global and regional cooperation in the area of food safety capacity building, in partnership with food safety regulators, the private sector, and the academic community can bring many benefits. It enhances public health, promotes food security, supports participation by developing economies and high-value food supply chains, promotes confidence in the global food supply, and enhances the facilitation of trade.

The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding is timely and much needed, and from a U.S. perspective, it is especially so in light of our new Food Safety Modernization Act. Among many things, this important and historic legislation recognizes that we live in a globalized world and that protecting the safety of food imports and the integrity of the increasingly complex supply chains that underlie how foods get into our homes really requires a new partnership, a new paradigm, and new approaches. The Food Safety Modernization Act actually gives the FDA a new mandate to engage partners, including industry and other organizations, to support the global safety net for food products, and this is essential. Regulators cannot and should not do it alone.

Furthermore, the Food Safety Modernization Act requires that we develop a comprehensive plan to help support and strengthen the technical, scientific, and regulatory food safety capacities of foreign governments and their respective industries which export food to the United States. To do this, we must survey and assess how technical assistance in the global community can bring food safety standards and preventive controls more centrally into food safety efforts and how we can show that ultimately stronger food safety systems lead to more reliable markets.

The leveraging of resources among the two parties signing this agreement today will help in this effort, clearly benefitting the APEC region and beyond, but certainly it will also help us to implement in the United States this important new legislation, and so I have a particular interest in this activity going forward.

I think it’s also important to note that this initiative, this Memorandum of Understanding, holds great promise for industry as well. We all benefit from strong, capable food safety systems and we all have a vested interest in helping to ensure adequate, science-based regulatory capacity in countries producing and exporting food, and like others, I want to acknowledge the critical role that Pam Bailey and the Grocery Manufacturers of America has played in making this MOU a reality. She’s been a strong voice in speaking to the importance of food safety, highlighting the critical challenges we all face and the unique opportunity we have through APEC to work together in new and powerful ways. This MOU reflects these perspectives and it underscores the value of a targeted, collaborative effort to strengthen food safety capabilities and practices in key regions of the world to improve health and quality of life, but also to support key industries, safe and reliable exports, and economic development.

I should note that APEC and the World Bank, through the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum’s Partnership Training Institute Network, have enjoyed a successful collaboration since 2008 to provide food safety training and soon open-source, reproducible modules deployed in the APEC region to support food safety capacity building in conjunction with its partners. You’ve heard a bit about that and I can speak to the importance of this to the nations participating in APEC and beyond.

So through this Memorandum of Understanding, the World Bank and APEC really renew their commitment to continue to work collaboratively on projects, materials, and events, and to continue to encourage adherence to internationally accepted food safety standards and best practices in the APEC region through the three-phase work plan that’s describe in the MOU. So as part of the U.S. delegation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration looks forward to continuing this important work, working with APEC, the World Bank, and other key partners as we strive together toward a safer global food supply.

Thank you so much.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much. And now I’d like to introduce Ms. Pamela Bailey, the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Pam, please.

MS. BAILEY: Thank you. Before I begin, on behalf of my organization, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, its member companies, and the consumers we serve, I would like to commend the governments of Australia and China for their leadership in co-chairing this APEC effort, as well as the government of the United States for its leadership, and specifically Ambassador Marantis and Commissioner Hamburg. This is a unique partnership within the U.S. government, in fact, to have FDA and USTR and all the other government agencies working together on a shared vision toward facilitating trade and economic growth, as well as public safety, and it is truly a model that we all can learn from within the United States.

I would also like to thank the World Bank for its support and recognition of the importance of safe food to public health and food security, as well as to economic development in international trade. You have been a critical partner in this initiative and we are delighted to have this opportunity to be here with you today to formalize and deepen our partnership.

In recent decades, as our food supply has become more global and more complex, partnerships have become more critical to enhancing food safety. Consumers want, no matter where they live in our world, and they deserve safe food. Each time they are forced to endure a significant food safety event, consumer confidence in the food supply and their favorite brands is damaged. Our industry’s operating model on food safety has been and continues to be very clear. The private sector must take the initiative to improve food safety in its own operations, but we cannot do it alone. We need genuine partnership with key stakeholders, including governments.

The Partnership Training Institute Network, PTIN, established by the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum is a shining example of the public-private partnerships we need. Its work allows growers, producers, and regulators in the 21 APEC economies to better anticipate and manage potential food safety issues, but the PTIN’s strength is the unique collaboration that it created between APEC food safety regulators, multilateral institutions like the World Bank, academia, and industry, all focused on a common mission to improve food safety.

It is a unique approach that plays to the strengths of our industry because food and beverage companies have a vast amount of experience, knowledge, and understanding when it comes to developing and manufacturing safe products. We know what works, what doesn’t work, and how to apply best practices along the entire global supply chain to ensure our products are safe. We bring in resources to help inform and educate foreign governments, producers, and growers around the world on best food safety practices.

The Grocery Manufacturers Association, our member companies, and our industry colleagues in the APEC region are proud partners of PTIN. GMA and the Australian Food and Grocery Council and our newest partner, Zhanjiang Guolian Aquatic Products of China, represent the food and beverage industry on the PTIN Steering Committee. While we have accomplished much together, the work of the PTIN has only just begun. In order to make a measureable, sustainable impact, and that must be our goal, we must scale up the PTIN. We must conduct more trainings in priority areas. We must reach more growers, more producers, more food safety officials. That is why we are so thrilled to be here today alongside our partners, APEC, the World Bank, and all the rest of my colleagues on the Panel this morning, to witness this commitment together to collaboratively scale up the deployment of PTIN training and build out the PTIN network of food safety experts. I look forward to working with my colleagues here today to do just that, and it is my hope that PTIN will serve as a public-private partnership model not only in deploying food safety training around the world, but to develop responsible solutions to other issues that will confront our industry in the future because it is only when there is genuine collaboration between the public and private sectors that we can effectively get the job done, and so I thank you all.

MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Pam. And now we’d like to go forward with the signing, so I would like to invite Dr. Lin, Steven, Inger, please pick up the pens. Thank you.

Well, thank you all for coming out this morning to this really important event. This now concludes the signing ceremony. Again, thanks and enjoy Big Sky.

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