China will still be a major player in world food commodities in the coming years, despite its current economic issues and slowing growth.
HSBC’s Mark Berrisford-Smith suggested while China’s growth was slowing, the impact of economic changes in the country should not be overestimated.
He said China’s purchases of farm goods could vary dramatically and the country’s wheat purchases were ’all over the place’.
"Sometimes it is just because they buy other things," he said. "They [currently] buy less [milk] powder and more liquid. They are still a major market for agricultural products and they will continue to be."
He added over the years to come the bank still expected China to import more of most commodities than it does today.
Mr Berrisford-Smith also discussed the issues overhanging global commodity markets.
"It is not just about demand it is also about supply," he said. "When prices go high for a long period of time you get more supply."
He claimed it could take a ’lot of time’ to rectify the current ’serious commodity overhangs’.
Discussing the global economy, Mr Berrisford-Smith suggested it was important for the financial community not to ’talk itself’ into another crisis. He added the uncertainty about global economic recovery was keeping the pound low.
"That and the prospect of a Brexit," he said. "It is hard to know what to expect.
"The risk is it takes so long to fix the last crisis we will be hit by the next one before the job is done," he said.
Other speakers pointed towards the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership as being vitally important to improve exports of high value food goods.
Jean-Marc Trarieux, head of unit for the Americas at the European Commission, claimed the EU could not ignore the benefits of free trade agreements.
"The EU is not the most competitive producer but we have a competitive advantage [in high value goods]. Our strategy is to take advantage of this by pursuing trade policies," he said.