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BVA e.V. and VdG e.V. hope for constructive dialog with Green-led ministries BMEL and BMU

BVA e.V. and VdG e.V. hope for constructive dialog with Green-led ministries BMEL and BMU

Berlin / Hamburg, 9 December 2021. Yesterday, the new federal government was put into office. The Bundesverband Agrarhandel (BVA) e. V. (Federal Association of Agricultural Trade) and the Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse (VdG) e.V. (Grain Traders Association of the Hamburg Stock Exchange) congratulate the new Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his ministers from the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. The agricultural traders had paid particular attention to the appointment of the Federal Ministers for Food and Agriculture (BMEL) and for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMU) in the recent weeks. Both were now given to the Greens: Cem Özdemir will head the BMEL in the future, Steffi Lemke the BMU.

“The fact that both ministries are now headed by people from the same parliamentary group gives reason to expect that they will work together more effectively in the future,” predicts Martin Courbier, Managing Director at BVA e.V.. “From Cem Özdemir, we hope that he will remain true to his objective line even on controversial agricultural issues. I perceive him as a politician with integrity and trustworthiness who is not afraid to address things openly and honestly. That will be good for the debate on the future direction of agriculture and farming. And Steffi Lemke, as an agricultural scientist, also brings expertise for BMEL topics, which is a good prerequisite for constructive talks between the ministries.”

“The fact that both ministries are now headed by people from the same parliamentary group gives reason to expect that they will work together more effectively in the future,”

Managing Director at BVA e.V.

Christof Buchholz, Managing Director at VdG e.V., hopes that the newly led ministries will proceed in a future-oriented manner, recognize the importance of international agricultural trade for global food supply and strengthen innovations: “High-yield regions must be optimally utilized. Food must then be distributed internationally to balance supply and demand. In this way, fewer resources are consumed than it would be the case with production aimed at pure self-sufficiency. Free international agricultural trade is essential for this. Innovations, such as new genomic techniques, must also be strengthened. Innovations help ensure that Germany remains competitive in agricultural production, improves its sustainability even further and maintains its position on the world market.”

Bundesverband Agrarhandel e. V.
The Bundesverband Agrarhandel e.V. (BVA) (Federal Association of Agricultural Trade) represents the interests of the agricultural trade in Germany. The BVA member companies qualitatively process the agricultural raw materials supplied by agriculture, such as grain and oilseeds, by drying and cleaning them and market these products as food and animal feed in Germany and abroad. They also sell seed, crop protection agents and fertilizers as well as animal feed to the agricultural sector. Agricultural trade thus plays a crucial role in the agricultural value chain.

Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e.V.

The Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e.V. (VdG) (Grain Traders Association of the Hamburg Stock Exchange) is the federal association of international wholesale and foreign trade in cereals, oilseeds, feeds and pulses and has been the official voice of the industry at the world trading center of Hamburg for over 150 years. It acts as a service provider for its members and also as a partner for administration, politics and business in Berlin, Bonn and Brussels.

Press contact:
Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e.V.
Anika Nicolaudius
Public relations
Adolphsplatz 1
20457 Hamburg / Germany
Tel: +49 (0) 40-369879-12
E-Mail: nicolaudius@vdg-ev.de

Picture: Deutscher Bundestag / Tobias Koch

Dramatically rising energy prices – future German government must create prospects

Dramatically rising energy prices – future German government must create prospects

Berlin/Hamburg, 05.11.2021 – The dramatic rise in energy prices will inevitably lead to higher food prices if future coalition leaders do not set the right course. Therefore, the Bundesverband Agrarhandel e. V. ( Federal Association of Agricultural Trade) and the Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e. V. ( Grain Traders Association of the Hamburg Stock Exchange) addressed the negotiators of the traffic light coalition yesterday together with eight other associations of the agricultural industry. The associations called on the politicians to give high priority to the affordability of energy supply in the current coalition negotiations.

The production of fertilizers, for example, is very energy-intensive. Increased energy prices are realized throughout the food value chain and their impact on consumer prices is exacerbated by exorbitant increases in fertilizer prices. Some industrial companies have already announced that they will cut back on fertilizer production because it is currently no longer economically feasible. If crops cannot be supplied with the necessary amount of nutrients due to insufficient availability, there is a risk of harvest losses.

The problem of rising energy prices is not only an acute one, but a structural one: the associations pointed out that the competitiveness of the German agricultural industry is also threatened by some national and European legislative procedures in the field of energy policy. For example, in the Fuel Emissions Trading Act-Carbon Leakage Regulation, numerous industries are missing from the list of beneficiary sectors. From the point of view of the associations, this list requires a fundamental review and expansion. In the agri-food sector, there is a real danger of migration abroad, especially of organic farms that trade over longer distances anyway. The sectors eligible for aid and the aid levels are also to be massively reduced as part of the amendment to the guidelines for state aid for climate, environmental protection and energy. Many companies, which will thus be excluded from the special compensation scheme under the EEG, will thereby be placed in a worse position in international competition.

In addition, the new version of the EU Energy Taxation Directive provides for higher minimum taxation for fossil fuels. As a result, further increases in costs are to be expected, especially as gas will remain indispensable as a bridging technology for some time to come.

To ensure that companies in the agricultural sector can continue to make their contribution to climate protection, they need operationally sensible margins and planning security. The future German government is called upon to ensure this and thus make its contribution to ensuring the production of high-quality food in Germany in the future as well.

Bundesverband Agrarhandel e. V.
The Bundesverband Agrarhandel e.V. (BVA) (Federal Association of Agricultural Trade) represents the interests of the agricultural trade in Germany. The BVA member companies qualitatively process the agricultural raw materials supplied by agriculture, such as grain and oilseeds, by drying and cleaning them and market these products as food and animal feed in Germany and abroad. They also sell seed, crop protection agents and fertilizers as well as animal feed to the agricultural sector. Agricultural trade thus plays a crucial role in the agricultural value chain.

Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e.V.
The Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e.V. (VdG) (Grain Traders Association of the Hamburg Stock Exchange) is the federal association of international wholesale and foreign trade in cereals, oilseeds, feeds and pulses and has been the official voice of the industry at the world trading center of Hamburg for over 150 years. It acts as a service provider for its members and also as a partner for administration, politics and business in Berlin, Bonn and Brussels.

Further information:

Bundesverband Agrarhandel e. V.

Martin Courbier

Secretary General

Invalidenstraße 34,10115 Berlin, Germany

Tel.: +49 30 2790 741-0

E-Mail: zentrale@bv-agrar.de

www.bv-agrar.de

Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e. V.
Christof Buchholz
Secretary General
Adolphsplatz 1, 20457 Hamburg, Germany
Tel: +49 40 36 9879-0
E-Mail: info@vdg-ev.de
www.vdg-ev.de

Picture: Matthew Henry / Unsplash

VdG e.V. formulates positions for the Federal Election 2021

VdG e.V. formulates positions for the Federal Election 2021

Hamburg, 2 September 2021. The Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e.V. (VdG) (Grain Traders Association of the Hamburg Stock Exchange) formulates four recommendations to the future German government on the occasion of the federal elections in 2021: International agricultural trade should be strengthened and high-yield regions should be leveraged. Innovations in agricultural production and trade should be enabled and promoted. New breeding techniques (NBT) would have to be clearly legally defined at EU level in order to create legal certainty for companies. The European supply chain law should be based on the standards of the supply chain due diligence law of the Federal Republic of Germany. The new German government should also advocate these goals at EU level.

1. The new German government should strengthen high-yield regions and international agricultural trade in order to secure Germany’s supply of diverse agricultural products and contribute to the global food supply.
For some months now, prices for cereals and oilseeds have been at a historically high level. To prevent this from becoming permanent and ultimately having an impact on consumer prices, sufficient production is needed. Agricultural products should therefore be produced primarily where resources are available in sufficient quantities and can be used efficiently. In many regions of Germany, the conditions for high and sustainable production are in place. The climate and soil favor the cultivation of many agricultural products, such as wheat, barley, rye or rapeseed, and technical expertise, skilled workers and infrastructure also contribute to good yields. Other products can be optimally produced in other regions of the world. International trade then creates a global balance between supply and demand. Both – high-yield regions and agricultural trade – must be leveraged and strengthened in a sustainable manner.

2. The new federal government should facilitate and promote innovations that make agriculture and multilateral trade even more efficient and thus help to ensure that sustainably produced, high-quality and affordable food is globally available to the world’s population.

In order for agriculture and the food value chain to meet increasing sustainability demands in the future, they need new technologies, digital systems, low-risk crop protection products or even New Breeding Technologies (NBT). The potential of such innovations must be harnessed by recognizing existing systems and creating appropriate legal regulations.

3. The new German government should advocate the clear legal definition of new breeding technologies (NBT) at EU level in order to create legal certainty for companies and to continue to allow imports from countries that already use NBT.
Not only do New Breeding Techniques, such as Genome Editing, offer potential in application that currently remains untapped, but outdated EU law also affects trade. For example, in the U.S., one of the world’s most important grain exporting countries, genome-edited plants without foreign genetic material are not subject to GMO regulation and are consequently not labeled. To date, it has also not been possible to identify in a generally valid way whether raw materials originate from genome-edited or conventionally bred plants. This poses major challenges for companies that trade or process raw materials internationally, which in turn are associated with a high degree of legal uncertainty. EU law must be modernized in such a way that importers gain legal certainty and Germany and the EU are fully connected to the world market.

4. The new German government should play a role in the drafting of a supply chain law at EU level and work to ensure that its standards are based on the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act.
With its Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, the Federal Republic is a pioneer for legal regulations to strengthen human rights and environmental due diligence obligations in business activities. The aim is to create a level playing field and standards for all EU countries in order to ensure compliance with human rights and environmental standards in supply chains, an acceptable burden on companies and fair competition.

Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e.V.

The Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e.V. (VdG) (Grain Traders Association of the Hamburg Stock Exchange) is the federal association of international wholesale and foreign trade in cereals, oilseeds, feeds and pulses and has been the official voice of the industry at the world trading center of Hamburg for over 150 years. It acts as a service provider for its members and also as a partner for administration, politics and business in Berlin, Bonn and Brussels.

Press contact:
Verein der Getreidehändler der Hamburger Börse e.V.
Anika Nicolaudius
Public relations
Adolphsplatz 1
20457 Hamburg / Germany
Tel: +49 (0) 40-369879-12
E-Mail: nicolaudius@vdg-ev.de

Picture: Claudio Schwarz / Unsplash

Trade in Change – The Hamburg Grain Exchange from its Birth to Today

Trade in Change – The Hamburg Grain Exchange from its Birth to Today

It was 1558: Hamburg merchants obtained the right from the “Honorable Council of the City of Hamburg” to establish a place for themselves at the bridge Trostbrücke in Hamburg’s former harbor area. At that time, it connected the bishop’s old town around the Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church with the count’s new town. Here they met on a daily basis to compare qualities and to trade. This was the hour of birth of the Hamburg Stock Exchange, one of the oldest German stock exchanges. Even then, the Hamburg Stock Exchange was characterized by two ideas: an international orientation combined with a strong sense of community.

Tradition, coupled with a constant willingness to innovate and adapt to the changing market, is still the guiding principle of Hanseatic traders today. And many exchanges have survived from that time to this day: the Hanseatic Securities Exchange, the Coffee Exchange, the exchanges of the insurance industry and house brokers, and so also the Hamburg Grain Exchange. The grain exchange is the last active “commodity exchange” in existence.

The stock exchange serves the trading business

But what is actually the task of a commodity exchange? Originally, it was to promote the economic interests of the members of the exchange. The Hamburg Grain Exchange, for example, provided a forum where traders and brokers initiated and brokered transactions in grain, oilseeds, animal feed, pulses or seeds.

Today, the Hamburg Grain Exchange still serves the agricultural trading business. Among other things, it issues the Hamburg feed contract bill and other form contracts. These are intended to help settle contracts fairly and prevent disputes. They are publicly available and can be downloaded here. Every Tuesday, the grain exchange’s quotation commission also establishes the spot market prices franco Hamburg for several types of grain, feed and pulses and publishes them as price guidance for the industry. The Grain Traders’ Association of the Hamburg Stock Exchange is the responsible body of the Hamburg Grain Exchange. It also manages its business.

The exchange remains alive even in times of digitalization

In the past, grain traders met every day with their samples. Today, market participants come together three times a year for interregional exchanges at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce: Every January, April and August, up to 700 participants crowd into the exchange hall. They peruse the offerings of exhibiting companies, share market information and discuss it, close deals and network. Today, daily trading is largely done via the Internet, e-mail and telephone – life on the exchanges has changed, but the face-to-face meeting has not lost its value. It still paves the way for smooth business transactions today. We are happy to contribute to this and to keep exchange life in Hamburg alive with all exchange visitors.

The Supply Chain Due Diligence Act – From a voluntary commitment to a cross-border standard

The Supply Chain Due Diligence Act – From a voluntary commitment to a cross-border standard

International trade helps to reduce poverty. This has been observed where countries have expanded their imports and exports in recent years and thus connected to the world market. But the increasingly ramified, global supply chains bring challenges – and responsibility for all players. Are living and working conditions fair? Are wages appropriate? Who monitors compliance with human rights and environmental standards? The German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act is intended to ensure a transparent and sustainable supply chain in the future.

In 2016, the German government issued the National Action Plan for Human Rights and Business. Many companies had responded to this with individual voluntary commitments. In 2020, the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development asked more than 2,000 German companies what measures they had already implemented on a voluntary basis. The results were disappointing – for example, compliance with human rights could often still not be guaranteed, especially among suppliers. As a consequence, the German government announced the Supply Chain Due Diligence Act, which has now been passed by the Bundestag and Bundesrat in June. It is to be published in October and is expected to come into force at the beginning of 2023. Initially, it will only apply to companies that employ at least 3,000 people in Germany. One year later, this threshold is to drop to 1,000 employees.

Many companies are already voluntarily committed to fairness and transparency in their supply chain – with voluntary commitments or certifications. However, they have tended to be at a disadvantage compared with companies that invest less in this area. The law now aims to change this and create equal standards for all in Germany.

The German Federal Republic is thus one of the pioneers among the EU countries, alongside France and the Netherlands, among others. As a logical consequence, however, a law at European level is also essential to create a level playing field beyond national borders. The EU Parliament has already taken the first steps in this direction: A proposal for a so-called EU due diligence law is to be launched before the end of this year.

Foto: Julian Mora / Unsplash