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China urges food safety at G8 talks
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China has urged international cooperation to meet the "mighty challenges in bolstering food security and fostering stable agricultural development."

Addressing the Group of Eight (G8) agriculture meeting on Sunday, Agriculture Deputy Minister Niu Dun said mitigating the impact of the financial crisis on agriculture required a concerted effort by the international community.

He said all countries should pay closer attention to food security, promote agricultural development and create a favorable environment for tackling the financial crisis.

Member countries "should build up capacity in monitoring and conduct early warning tests on global food security"

Speaking on the development of biomass energy - the energy from plants and plant-derived materials - Niu said there needed to be an evaluation of its long-term implications and then policy could be drafted accordingly.

Niu also discussed anti-protectionism and urged countries to oppose discrimination against foreign workers under the excuse of protecting domestic jobs.

"We should work together to oppose trade protectionism in all manifestations and reject attempts to raise the market access threshold under various excuses and oppose all forms of investment protectionism that harm the interests of other countries," he said.

Niu also urged "the utmost sincerity in accelerating Doha Round talks and to work for a comprehensive and balanced outcome on the basis of consensus reached in July 2008".

The G8 agricultural ministers gathered in Italy to discuss issues ranging from world food security to the role of biofuels in curbing the harmful effects of climate change.

They also discussed the issue of world hunger, the fight against waste and efforts to increase agricultural production during the three-day meeting in Cison di Valmarino in the Veneto region.

The G8 refers to the group of eight highly industrialized nations - France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Japan, the United States, Canada and Russia.

The G8 ministers were joined by counterparts from China, Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, Australia and Egypt.

Italy, which holds the rotating G8 presidency, has pledged to make farm production the top concern of its national economy.

(Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2009)

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