Industry forum ignores expressed demand for non-GM soy for China.
NOTE: Below is the official report on the Round Table on Responsible Soy (RTRS) Annual Conference in Beijing.
The RTRS has attracted criticism from NGOs worldwide for certifying GM glyphosate-sprayed soy as "responsible". The wildlife conservation giant WWF is a founder of the RTRS and Monsanto and other big GM firms are members.
In the official report, no mention is made of the fact that, according to the reports received from people who attended the conference, every Chinese industry speaker demanded supply of conventional, GMO-free soybeans.
No mention is made of the Brussels Soy Declaration issued three weeks ago by 13 major European retailers. The Declaration expressed support for continuing production of non-GM soy in Brazil.
No mention is made of the fact that on April 18, the two most prominent representatives of the Brazilian soy industry were told by Chinese officials in Beijing that (a) China had no intention of approving Monsanto's new GM soybean, Intacta/RR2, for import and that (b) China wants Brazil to ship over 10 million tons of conventional GMO-free soybeans to its crushing industry.
But perhaps the silence on these issues is not surprising given that Monsanto is the main sponsor of the RTRS event. The other five sponsors are Dutch and one of them, Solidaridad, is an environmental NGO.
More on the RTRS:
RT8 Beijing: Multi-stakeholder forum on responsible soy successfully concludes in Beijing
Chinese Soy Stakeholders Dialogue with RTRS and Global Delegates and Express Desire for Increased Cooperation
Round Table on Responsible Soy Association, 30 May 2013
The Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) successfully concluded RT8: The International Forum on Responsible Development of the Soybean industry in Beijing, China under the theme “Building Global Bridges for Responsible Soy.”
Over 200 global delegates attended the multi-stakeholder RT8, including soy industry leaders and respected thinkers from the soy value chain – from China and around the world - gathered to dialogue about the responsible development of the soybean industry and the benefits of responsible soy.
“China plays an essential role in the international soy industry and China is the most important country of soy production and consumption,” said Liu Denggao, Deputy Director, Chinese Soybean Industry Association during Session I, Developments in Chinese Soy Production, Imports and Overseas Investments.
Co-hosted by the Chinese Soybean Industry Association (CSIA), the conference is the RTRS’ 8th annual conference, and the first held by the association in the Asia-Pacific. China was the first country to cultivate soy and produced approximately 12 million tonnes in 2012/13 (USDA). It is also the world's largest importer, having imported 59 million tonnes in 2012/13 (USDA). While the purpose of the RTRS conference is to share knowledge and dialogue about responsible soy between all countries and regions where soy is produced and consumed, the programme has a special focus on China as the world’s biggest market for imported soy as well as a major producer.
RTRS CEO Agustin Mascotena opened the conference by expressing his thanks to his co-host and his sincere hope for increased cooperation and dialogue on responsible soy. “As the global leader on responsible soy, the RTRS welcomes the opportunity to convene a dialogue on the solutions offered by responsible soy with companies that produce, trade and buy soy in Asia. RTRS soy benefits the environment, workers, and communities and helps companies guarantee a long-term sustainable supply of responsible soy into the future,” Mr. Mascotena said.
Soy production, especially in South America, has been blamed for a number of issues including environmental degradation, social breakdown, and worker exploitation. The RTRS was created to tackle these issues and transform the soy industry by creating demand for responsible soy in all stages of the supply chain. A consensus based initiative, the RTRS allows stakeholders with a wide range of views to have a global dialogue and reach agreement on how best to ensure economically viable, socially equitable and environmentally sound soy production.
Gai Junyi, Academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering gave a rousing official closing address at RT8 where he said to the packed room that “China should take good care of its soybean farmers and import responsible RTRS soy, while providing more soy products as high quality protein food for consumers worldwide.”
Other eminent speakers included Dr. Cheng Guoqiang, Secretary General and Senior Research Fellow, Development Research Center, of the State Council of China, Soy Market and Policy in China. Dr. Cheng told the delegates that “Vegetable oil consumption will grow during this period of higher income and that the policy will remain open and supportive for the plant oil market.”….