International Coffee Council meets in Milan

While many of the worlds top leaders met for the 70th General Assembly in New York this week, a gathering of the coffee sector’s top officials is currently underway in Milan, Italy. The International Coffee Council, which meets twice a year to discuss issues relating to the coffee trade, welcomed the International Coffee Organisation’s most recent member, Japan, back to the table for its 115th Session. Japan’s Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kenishiro Matsubashi, delivered a statement to the council on behalf of the Japanese government. The statement from Japan, which is the fourth largest importer and consumer of coffee in the world, singled out Executive Director Robério Oliveira Silva as contributing to its decision to re-join the ICO. “Mr Executive Director, it is not too much to say that your dedicated approach has encouraged Japan to return to this organisation,” Matsubashi said on behalf of the Japanese government. Matsubashi said the government had been pleased that Silva’s accepted the All Japan Coffee Association’s invitation to visit the country 12 months ago.

“You met Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida and other key government officials and you earnestly expressed your expectation for Japan’s return to the ICO,” said Matsubashi. Japan said that one-year on from that meeting it was pleased to comes back to the ICO at the time of International Coffee Day, and at a time when its coffee industry was expanding rapidly. “Thanks to strenuous efforts of the Japanese private sector, Japan’s import of coffee exceeded 450,000 tonnes of green beans equivalent in 2014,” said Matsubashi. “You will find a coffee shop at every street corner in Japan.” Matsubashi said the price of coffee had fluctuated since 2010 due to volatile production against increasing demand. “We understand that the key mission of the ICO is to work towards improvement of coffee productivity, stabilisation of the price and distribution, and enhancement of skills and livelihoods of producers,” said Matsubashi. “This corresponds to Japan’s interest.” The ICO also published an ICC statement from Russia, which became its seventh importing member in April. Alexander Yakovenko, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the United Kingdom, used his time in front of the council to welcome Japan and thank the ICO on behalf of Russia. “We proceed from the assumption that Russia’s membership in the ICO will be beneficial both for Russia and all the countries that grow coffee beans and process them,” said Yakovenko. “Russia is ready to cooperate with all the ICO Member states to further develop the strategy of the Organization and raise its efficiency.” Russian President Vladimir Putin proved somewhat less popular at the GA this week, using the opportunity to once again assert his support for Syrian President Bashar Al Assed and to launch the first airstrikes in Syria. Image credit: International Coffee Organisation Pictured: Japan’s Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr Kenishiro Matsubayashi

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