Japan VCS – Proposed

On July 11 NAEGA President and CEO Gary Martin met with members of the Japanese grain and oilseed industry at the U.S. Grains Council to discuss U.S. corn quality issues. During the meeting the Japanese Feed Trade Association (JFTA), the U.S. Grains Council and Japanese grain and oilseed importing companies presented on corn quality issues effecting shipments to the Japanese market. JFTA and its members have been pleased with the consistent improvement in the quality of U.S. corn. However, lower protein levels and higher moisture levels in U.S. corn remain a concern. Protein level standards and labelling are required by Japanese law, and lower protein experienced in some recent shipments of U.S. corn levels could result in higher prices or compliance issues. In addition, Japanese industry is also concerned about the presence of “blue-eye mold” and foreign materials in corn shipments.

Since quality reports at load and at FGIS inspection have been different that at delivery, JFTA is keen to develop data useful for comparing the different sampling and analytical methods and explaining the differences. As a result, JFTA, would like to receive additional information on corn shipments including protein and moisture levels and mycotoxin presence.  To harmonize testing measures, JFTA is proposing corn quality assessment project similar to the “2010 Korea-U.S. Corn Quality Assessment Project” in cooperation with NAEGA, Grain Council and FGIS.

In response to this proposal, NAEGA is seeking member input on conducting a corn quality assessment project similar to the 2010 Korea-U.S. assessment conducted by NAEGA in coordination with FGIS and the Korea Feed Association (KFA). Please contact Gary or Ryan with your input and comments.

IGTC Newsletter

The newest edition of the IGTC Newsletter is now available! This week’s newsletter includes coverage of IGTC on combustible dust IPPC ISPM and the WTO SPS Committee meeting. A copy of the newsletter can be found on the IGTC intranet at or by clicking here.

USAEDC Conference

On July 13 and 14 NAEGA President and CEO Gary Martin and Director of Operations Ryan Olson attended the annual U.S. Agriculture Export Development Council (USAEDC) Attaché Seminar at the Westin Arlington Gateway in Arlington, Virginia. The two-day seminar included consultations with Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) attachés on July 13 followed by a general session on July 14.

During July 13 attaché consultations Gary and Ryan met with attaches from Korea, Mexico, Japan, the European Union, Russia, Egypt and the Southern Cone. These meeting allowed NAEGA network and discuss its Unified Export Strategy, upcoming policy priorities, and the work of the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) with U.S. government diplomatic personnel who work directly on policy issues affecting the grain trade in foreign markets.

On July 14 both Gary and Ryan attended the general session of the USAEDC Attaché Seminar, which included remarks from FAS Administrator Phil Karstings and Associate Administrator Jason Hafemeister. During breakout sessions NAEGA gathered information on trade sanctions and embargos, FAS programs and the Brazilian market.

A copy of the agenda can be found here. For more information, please contact Gary or Ryan.

Sanctions and Embargoes

On July 14 NAEGA Director of Operations Ryan Olson attended, as part of the USAEDC Attache Seminar, a breakout session on sanctions and embargos titled Complicated Partners: Opening New Markets – Iran, Burma, and Cuba. The session featured presentations from FAS personnel from Cuba, Burma and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) personnel were on hand to answer sanctions and embargo related questions. As sanctions are being liberalized with Burma, Iran and Cuba, some sections of U.S. industry have an opportunity to access these markets for the first time in decades. However, significant barriers still remain and understanding this is vital to engaging in these new markets.


Since the loosening of sanctions that began in 2012, U.S. businesses can now engage in any form of trade and investment with Burma. However, U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in any trade or commerce with individuals listed on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List). In addition, U.S. persons may not engage in the trade of jade or derived products and jewelry. While general licenses from OFAC are now available for trade with Burma, and broad import bans no longer exist, domestic constraints still represent a challenge to trade with the country. These include poor rule of law, domestic financing requirements and poor agribusiness infrastructure.


Since the U.S. and Iran completed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (nuclear deal), some sanctions related to Iran’s economy have been eased. However, sanctions relief under the nuclear deal was in no way meant to improve commercial or U.S. business relations with the Islamic Republic. Sanctions relief under the deal applies only to non-U.S. persons working outside U.S. jurisdictions. However, OFAC continues to offer general licenses for the export to Iran of agricultural commodities. Export of agricultural commodities to Iran, by U.S. or non-U.S. persons, does not trigger sanctions under U.S. law unless the transaction involves certain U.S.-designated persons such as Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or a designated Iranian bank. In addition, financial transactions to facilitate these exports are allowed, with certain restrictions.


The U.S. agricultural sector has been able to engage in the export of agricultural commodities to Cuba since the Trade Sanctions Reform and Export Enhancement Act of 2000. Under current sanctions, the U.S. persons can export agricultural commodities to Cuba that qualify as EAR99. However, financing for these transactions is still restricted. Agricultural transactions may only be paid by cash in advance or by a bank located in a third country as long as it is not organized under U.S. law. Despite its ongoing ability to trade with Cuba, the U.S. agricultural sector has also benefited from recently granted sanctions relief. Most notably, U.S. persons may now travel to Cuba to engage in “certain authorized export transactions” including the export of agricultural goods, and the approval of direct, non-chartered U.S. flights has increased accessibility to Cuban destinations.

For more information on U.S. sanction and embargo program, please visit the OFAC website, here.

House Passes GMO Labeling Bill

On July 14 the U.S House of Representatives passed a Senate bill authorizing the creation of a Federal labelling standard for genetically modified food. The bill will now advance to the President’s desk, where it is likely to be signed. Under the bill, food manufacturers would be able to use text, symbols or a QR code to provide information on the genetic content of the food they produce. The standard would also override any state laws regarding the labelling of genetically modified food. Efforts to pass a federal standard followed moves by Vermont and other states to implement state based labels for genetically modified food.

For more information on the GMO labelling bill, click here.