Opening Ceremony of the 2013 World Outlook Conference


Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General

Beijing, China
6 June 2013

Dear Vice Minister Li, Dear Vice Minister Chen, Dear José,

It is a great pleasure to join you today for the opening of the 2013 World Outlook Conference, held for the first time in China. This conference would not have been possible without the strong support of both the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, for which I am very grateful.

Before referring to the 2013 OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook report, let me say a few words about the broader cooperation between the OECD and China on agriculture.

OECD-China cooperation on agriculture

The OECD has a long history of providing evidence-based analysis and advice to governments. This advice usually underscores the need for agricultural policy to support increased productivity, competitiveness and sustainability, while avoiding unnecessary production and trade distortions. We regularly monitor agricultural policy in 41 countries, including China, using internationally recognised producer and consumer support indicators and providing cross-country comparisons of policy efforts and results.

We have co-operated closely with the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture and the Development Research Centre of the State Council. Since 1996, we have held six joint policy workshops on agriculture, and we worked together to produce the OECD Review of Agricultural Policies in China in 2005 and the OECD Rural Policy Review of China in 2009.

Increasing innovation and agricultural productivity growth is a widely shared priority. We are helping countries achieve this goal at the multilateral level, including through our contributions to the G20, of which China is a member. For example, we are building on our work and cooperating with other IOs – notably FAO – to identify policy lessons for boosting agricultural productivity in a sustainable manner. Pilot country studies are under way this year.

We are also supporting countries at the national level through our reviews of National Innovation Systems. To do so, we use a framework to analyse the role of governments in fostering innovation, to identify best practices, and to offer policy advice to help governments increase productivity growth.

We are now working closely with China on the preparation of a workshop to identify ways in which governments and the business community can work together to increase agricultural productivity and sustainable resource use. This workshop will take place in Beijing in mid-October, and I hope that many of you will be able to attend this important and timely event.

As a member of the G20 Agriculture Market Information System Secretariat, housed at the FAO, the OECD is contributing policy information, analysis and advice. This work is fundamental to ensuring that physical markets operate effectively and that governments are well-positioned to collaborate to avoid unnecessary market volatility.

We are also contributing our expertise and the experience of our Member and Partner countries in the design of agricultural risk assessment and management policies to the new G20 Platform on Agricultural Risk Management (PARM). The objective here is to mainstream risk management in development policies.
Launch of the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook

Today, we are here to launch the annual OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook. I would like to thank FAO Director General José Graziano da Silva and his team for yet another successful Outlook report; our close collaboration ensures that the global food and agriculture community gets state of the art market information and policy advice.

The 2013 report provides the best available consensus on medium-term prospects for the major agricultural commodities, reflecting a longstanding expertise in commodity market analysis and modelling.

This year’s report points to a relatively bright outlook for global agriculture, with strong demand, expanding trade and high prices. But if we fail to turn the global economy around, investment and growth in agriculture will suffer and food security may be compromised.

Governments must thus create the right enabling environment for growth and trade. We have much to learn from China in this regard. As highlighted in the report, China’s agricultural reforms have played a key role in its remarkable progress in expanding production and improving domestic food security.

But I will stop here as we will discuss the outcomes of the report in more detail a little later. Let me thank again the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences and the Ministry of Agriculture for their invaluable contribution.
Thank you.



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