Launch of CELCAA Sector Vision and Policy Recommendations on “How to achieve sustainable agri-food trade”

Presently, European agri-food trader operate in an environment of continuous uncertainty. Climate change and geopolitical conflicts have shifted areas of agricultural and agri-food production and trade, modes of transport, and processing, with severe impacts on food and nutrition availability, affordability, and security. Crop migration will substantially change production and trade patterns in the future.  The war in Ukraine has further revealed the strong vulnerability of agri-food trade to geopolitical conflict and re-emphasized the need for further diversification. It also showed the strong global interconnectedness and interdependence of agri-food production and trade.

Given these challenging circumstances agri-food traders agree that the triangle of environment, nutrition and food security needs a review and fresh perspectives, to create enabling and innovative conditions in which environment, societal and business can sustainably grow together. Therefore, we are inviting you, to discuss together with us new perspectives for an essential sector.


15th November 2023
4.00 – 6.00 pm followed by a networking cocktail



Moderator: Julia Dahm, Agri-Food Journalist, Euractive

  • “A day in the life of an agri-food trader” with CELCAA President Marcel van der Vliet
  • Keynote speech: Lessons learned from 4 years Green Deal and its impact on agri-food trade: with Michael Hager, Head of Cabinet, Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis, DG TRADE
  • 7 things to think about after the elections 2024– Agri-food traders’ recommendations ahead of European elections:
  • “How to achieve sustainable agri-food trade”: About the thought process together with CELCAA Secretary General Nelli Hajdu
  • Agri-food trade policy at the spotlight: Essentials for the next legislative period together with:
    • Dr. Ignacio Sanchez Recarte, Secretary General, CEEV
    • Iliana Axiotiades, Secretary General, COCERAL
    • Marcel van der Vliet, President CELCAA – Eucolait
    • Hélène Simonin, Sustainability and Food Policy Director, UECBV
  • Panel discussion: How to achieve sustainable agri-food trade?
    • Luis Carazo Jimenez, Acting Director, International, DG Agri
    • Ted Swinkels, Managing Director, CEFETRA, President Coceral
    • László Druskóczi, Head of Trade, Permanent Representation of Hungary 
    • Ms. Chantal Line Carpentier, Head, Trade, Environment, Climate change, and Sustainable Development Branch of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade and Commodities (DTIC)

Networking Cocktail

Speakers Biographies

Marcel Van der Vliet, President CELCAA / Van Drie Group (Netherlands)

Marcel Van der Vliet grew up at the family farm in Friesland, the heart of Dutch dairy farming, as son of livestock (cattle & sheep) traders. Marcel holds a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations from the University of Groningen, with a specialization in international political economy, with a special interest in the WTO and the European Union. He is working as Sales and Procurement Manager at Van Drie Ingredients in the Netherlands, since March 2016. In this capacity, Marcel trades dairy commodities and food & feed ingredients for different entities within the family-owned Van Drie Group. Previous to this position, Marcel was trading manager at Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate NV, in Mouscron, Belgium; responsible for the procurement of all non-cocoa ingredients for Cargill’s European chocolate manufacturing sites. Before that Marcel was trader & export manager in dairy commodities and ingredients at the Dutch Hoogwegt Group, responsible for markets in Africa and business development in the Middle-East and Central America.

Iliana Axiotiades, Secretary General, COCERAL

Iliana Axiotiades is currently acting as Secretary General for Coceral, which represents European traders in agri-commodities and agrosupply, Euromalt, which brings together the European malting industry, and Unistock, the European association of portside storekeepers of agri-bulk commodities. This involves managing the three associations and representing their interests with the European Commission, Parliament, Member States, and non-EU Permanent Representations to the EU.
Iliana is also Vice-President of the IGTC – the International Grain Trade Coalition, and Lead of the IGTC’s Plant Breeding Innovation Policy Team.
Iliana has spent most of her career in the agri-food industry, as a consultant, at the helm of the European starch industry association, and in Cargill, where she held both Government Affairs and operational roles. She also led Johnson Controls’ European Government & Trade Relations, where she worked with the Power Solutions, Automotive and Building Efficiency businesses to promote energy efficiency policies. She was, at the time, the company Lead for the TTIP negotiations.

Dr Ignacio Sanchez Recarte, Secretary General of CEEV

Dr Ignacio Sánchez Recarte was named Secretary General of CEEV, the association representing the interests of European wine companies, in June 2015. Before that he served as Director for Internal Market & Sustainability at spiritsEUROPE, the European representative body for spirit producers, and as Director of Environment affairs and Innovation, at Bodegas Chivite, a Spanish wine group.For the previous 7 years, Ignacio worked for the International Organization of vine and wine (OIV), the scientific and technical intergovernmental organization in the field of wine, first as Head of the Viticulture Unit, then as Head of the Economy and Law Unit. Prior to this, he was a researcher in the Food Technology Department of the Public University of Navarra. Ignacio is an Agronomic Engineer from the Public University of Navarra and obtained his PhD in Engineering at the University of Lleida. A Spanish citizen, Ignacio is fluent in Spanish, English, French and Italian. In 2016, he was elected Vice-President of FIVS, the international federation of wine and spirits producers, and Vice-President of CELCAA, the organization representing EU associations and companies active in the sector of agricultural and agri-food trading.From 2022 he acts as one of the two FIVS interim Co-Presidents.

Luiz Carazo Jiménez, Acting Director, International, Directorate General Agriculture and Rural Development

Luis Carazo Jiménez, Agricultural Engineer from the Polytechnic University of Madrid and Master’s Degree in International Trade, began working in the dairy sector and then moved to the Department of Agri-Food Promotion of the Spanish Institute of Foreign Trade (ICEX). Official of the European Commission since 1997, first on environmental issues and subsequently in agricultural policies, has been responsible for the markets for olive oil, cereals and sugar. He was Head of the Animal Production Unit for the period 2012-2019 and, since June 2019, has been responsible for agricultural trade relations with the countries of America.

László Druskóczi, Head of Trade Policy, Hungarian Permanent Representation

László Druskóczi is currently the head of the trade policy unit within the Hungarian Permanent Representation. He started his diplomatic service in 2020 and since 2021 he was nominated as head of the unit.
Before that László was a deputy head of the trade policy department in Budapest engaging with trade policy since 2016.  At the beginning of his career he worked at the State Secretary for EU coordination within the Prime Minister’s Office.
László finished it’s University in 2015 as an international relation expert, with special focus on EU affairs.

Ted Swinkels, Managing Director, CEFETRA/President Coceral

Ted Swinkels has been working for Cefetra in the Agri business form more than 20 years, first as a trader, later on in several managerial positions. Currently he is the Managing Director of Cefetra and Tracomex Group in the Netherlands. Since June of this year he has become the President of Coceral.

Dr. Chantal Line Carpentier, Head, Trade, Environment, Climate change, and Sustainable Development Branch of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade and Commodities (DTIC)

Dr. Carpentier is Head, Trade, Environment, Climate change, and Sustainable Development Branch of UNCTAD’s Division on International Trade and Commodities (DTIC) following 8 years as Chief of UNCTAD New York Office. Since 2023, she chairs the UN InterAgency Task Force on the Social and Solidarity Economy (UNTFSSE).

Prior to UNCTAD, she supported the Commission on Sustainable Development and served as Major Groups (of non-State actors) Coordinator in the SDGs negotiations and the UN Rio+20 Conference at DESA, Head of the North American Free Trade Agreement Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s, Environment, Economy and Trade Division, Agro-environmental policy analyst for Winrock International and post-Doctoral fellow/Brazil office manager for the International Food Policy Research Institute.

She obtained a PhD. in Agro-Environmental Economics from Virginia Technology and MSc. and BSc. from McGill University.

Michael Hager, Head of Cabinet, Executive Vice-President Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis

Michael Hager is the Head of Cabinet of the Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis. Before this engagement he had served as Head of Cabinet of former Commissioner Günther Öttinger from 2013 onwards as well as in the Cabinet of Vice-President Margot Wallström from 2008 to 2010. He has held various positions in the European Commission as well as in the European Parliament. He holds an MA in History, Political Science and Japanese Studies from the Eberhard-Karls Universität Tübingen/Germany.

Hélène Simonin, Sustainability and Food Policy Director, UECBV

With a combined French-German background and a long experience in Brussels Hélène Simonin joined UECBV – the European Meat and livestock trade union – in 2022, giving overall guidance and doing structural work for the association and members, and keeping a special focus on the wider sustainability area. Before, Hélène Simonin worked for the European Dairy Association (EDA) in Brussels leading all food, environmental and health-related topics. This included a wide array of expertise in legislative work and communication, e.g. on healthy diets and sustainable production, new technologies, food safety, quality along the food and feed chain and sanitary issues in trade relations. In that time she also chaired relevant groups at FoodDrinkEurope, namely on Sustainable Food Systems and Environment. She has been giving her expertise to food and nutrition security projects for 15 years, and now follows the research project ‘Pathways for sustainable livestock’. With a background in agronomy, Hélène Simonin has extensive experience in several subsectors of the food industry, namely in the chocolate, frozen fruit and vegetables, and the fresh and starch potato sectors.

Julia Dahm, Journalist, Euractiv

Julia Dahm has been a journalist at Euractiv since May 2021. Based in Brussels, she covers agriculture and food policy, and works as a freelance moderator. Julia has a background in European Affairs.

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