March 28, 2017 / 8:16 AM / 5 months ago

HIGHLIGHTS-Top trading houses at commodities conference

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, March 28 (Reuters) - Top executives from the world's largest commodity trading houses discuss trends in trading at the FT Commodities Global Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, this week.

The following are highlights:

DAVID MACLENNAN, CHAIRMAN AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF CARGILL:

"Trade policies coupled with foreign aid and sound development policy is critical. Today's global proliferation of a me-first trade posture threatens to destabilise decades of progress in negotiating."

"We all have to make the case for free trade," he said, arguing that "we have to help political leaders speak to their base".

MacLennan has yet to be invited to meet U.S. President Donald Trump but would engage in debate with the U.S. administration over trade and immigration. "I don't want to sit in the bunker for 4 years," he said.

Cargill sees the United States as a clear beneficiary of global trade, and in agriculture one-third of farmland is planted for exports, while the NAFTA agreements has helped Canada become the No. 1 market for U.S. agricultural exports and Mexico the No. 3. "Countries can source their agricultural products elsewhere if they're not getting them from the United States," he said.

Training would be important to adapt to the uneven benefits of trade, while "inclusive and responsible" immigration policy would also be vital, he said. Cargill has 1,000 unfilled positions at meat plants in the United States.

Reporting by Julia Payne and Gus Trompiz, editing by Louise Heavens

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