Gulf Cooperation Council Meeting on GCC Guide

On Wednesday, November 23, Ryan and Virginia participated in a virtual meeting with the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service and industry stakeholders regarding Kuwait’s recent decision to adopt the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Guide for Imported Food Safety. A copy of the GCC guide can be found here. During the call, FAS representatives provided an update on Kuwait’s recent decision to implement the GCC Guide. Implementation of the guide has currently been delayed by Kuwaiti authorities until April 1, 2017 as the government considers the affects that the new rules will have on importers. Over the next few months, as Kuwaiti officials prepare for implementation, USDA FAS will be reaching out to Kuwaiti officials to ensure that U.S. health certificates for products such as poultry and dairy will be accepted at import. The top priority of FAS is to ensure that FAS mutual acceptance of all U.S. health certificates.


For information on this issue will be available in the coming months as the implementation date near. For more information please contact Gary or Ryan.

2016-17 RCC Work Plans Finalized

The Canada-United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) has finalized the 2016-17 Canada-U.S. Regulatory Cooperation Work Plan. Each work plan consists of a timeline with specific deliverables over the next two years. These plans are the result of collaboration between stakeholders and regulators with the goal of facilitating closer regulatory cooperation between the two countries. This document serves to enhance economic competitiveness by harmonizing regulations while protecting environmental, safety, and health standards in both countries.


A copy of the work plan is available here.

New NAEGA Member Directory

NAEGA has updated the Member Representatives Directory to include the addition of our newest member, Tradiverse Corporation. NAEGA asks all members to review the directory and let us know of any changes that you have. The new directory can be found here and on the NAEGA website under the Member Representatives Directory page.

27th Session of U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade

U.S. and Chinese officials concluded talks of their 27th Session of U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) last week. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus led the U.S. delegation in discussions with the Chinese Vice Premier. Discussions included a range of commercial and trade issues, with agreements being reached by U.S. and Chinese officials on intellectual property, pharmaceutical and medical devices, and information security policies. Press reports of this final JCCT with the Obama administration indicated that efforts related to crop biotechnology regulations failed. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Ambassador Michael Froman both issued statements over the holiday weekend expressing disappointment over the lack of progress in the talks.


For more information on the U.S.-China JCCT, please click here.

Market Access Program 2017 Funding

On Monday, November 14 NAEGA received word that its 2017 Unified Export Strategy (UES) application with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been accepted and NAEGA will receive funding under the Market Access Program (MAP) in 2017. MAP funding in 2017 for NAEGA will be limited to a $346,388 ceiling, $7,000 higher than its 2016 ceiling.

A copy of NAEGA’s 2017 UES application is available here. For more information, please contact Ryan.

2nd Annual World Grain Forum

On November 18 and 19 NAEGA President and CEO Gary Martin represented NAEGA and the IGTC at the 2nd Annual World Grain Forum in Sochi, Russia. During the forum, Gary provided formal remarks “ Global View of Key Dynamics in Policy and Commerce for Grains, Oilseeds and other Agribulks and moderated a panel discussion: “World Grain Market Long-Term Trends and Forecasts”.

Gary also participated in high level meetings with Russian Officials, completed interviews for several Russian and International media sources, and spoke at a round table about security and quality of grain in the context of global food security. A trip report for this travel will be available soon. Please contact Gary or Ryan for more information.

U.S. Election Implications

As President-elect Trump’s transition planning begins and the new Congress is established, NAEGA is monitoring and evaluating potential policy moves and key administration personnel in USDA, USTR and Treasury. Currently, we are working with two small groups of agriculture trade leaders to respond to the impact and changes that may result from the policies of the presidentelect and the new U.S. Congress. Possible changes to, or a renegotiation of, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and broader policy changes that could affect the agriculture trade are both under consideration. NAEGA will keep members updated on U.S. policy changes.

NAEGA members may be interested in the following post-election analysis from Arent Fox, LLP, which can be accessed by clicking here.

Please contact Gary or Ryan if you have any questions.

Recently Issued Reports

This week, NAEGA submitted the following reports to USDA FAS:
ISF Meeting

The report on the IGTC travel to the International Seed Federation’s mid-year meetings is now available. On October 16-17, 2016 NAEGA and IGTC Science Advisor Dr. Marcel Bruins traveled to Bordeaux, France to participate in the meeting and represent IGTC policy on new plant breeding innovations (PBI). In Bordeaux, Dr. Bruins worked closely with the ISF to find common ground and develop common communication plans toward securing international regulatory coherence and compatibility on PBIs.

A copy of the trip report can be found here.

IPPC ISPM Trip Report

The report on the IGTC travel to Melbourne, Australia September 15-23, 2016 for the International Plant Protection Convention’s (IPPC) Expert Working Group (EWG) on the development of an International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures (ISPM) for grain is now available. Science Advisor Dr. Marcel Bruins represented NAEGA and IGTC during meetings to consider a draft specification for the pending ISPM for Grain that was approved by the IPPC Standards Committee.

A copy of the trip report can be found here.

International Arbitration Seminar Trip Report

The report on the NAEGA MAP travel to the International Seminar on Arbitration is now available. NAEGA Senior Advisor Sam Bonilla traveled to Naples, Italy September 6-11 to present before and attend the 3rd Annual International Seminar on Arbitration at the Napoli Chamber of Commerce. Bonilla engaged with members of GAFTA and international contract experts and presented on “Dispute Resolution Clauses and Enforceability of Arbitral Awards in the World, Mainly in Europe and Far East.”

More information on the seminar is available in the trip report here.

USAEDC Annual Workshop

On November 15 and 16 NAEGA Director of Operations Ryan Olson travelled to Baltimore, MD to attend the U.S. Agricultural Export Development Council’s (USAEDC) Annual Workshop. A copy of the agenda is available here.

During the workshop, Ryan heard reports on USDA programs and policy objectives over the past year, including:

Market Access Program
USDA Market Access Program (MAP) participants have been notified of their 2017 program year ceilings. This program year overall funds for participants are lower due to higher rate of fund usage in 2017 and the addition of a new program participant. USDA Office of Trade Programs staff, which oversees the MAP program, added that program funding in the future remains insecure do to short term funding of the federal government and ongoing sequestration.

Cuba Policy
The Administration continues to pursue President Obama’s priority of liberalizing agricultural trade with Cuba. USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Alexis Taylor spoke to the plenary session about the progress and promise of increased agricultural trade. In addition, the State Department and FAS spoke on USDA’s continued work on the island. Currently, USDA has signed 10 memorandums of understanding with the Cuban government regarding agricultural relations and the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has undertaken six rounds of country sanctions changes. The U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) currently has a rotating employee working in the Embassy in Havana, and the USDA hopes to assign more long-term staff to the Embassy once resources are available. Moving forward, USDA and the State Department are pursuing three channels for future engagement: continued dialogues regarding property rights, human rights and U.S. prisoners; strengthening bilateral cooperation; and explaining to the public and the Cuban people the scope and detail of policy changes.

Please contact Ryan for more information on the workshop or if you have any questions.

USDA Women in Agriculture Initiative

The U.S. Department of Agriculture invites all woman participating in the agricultural sector to join its Women in Agriculture Initiative (WIA)! The program consists of three initiatives: USDA WIA Employee Group, Women in Agriculture Mentorship Network, and Global Women in Agriculture. Each of these groups offers professional development opportunities for women in agriculture to support women to assume leadership roles in the U.S. both on and off the farm. The WIA website also offers resources for women farmers, agriculture leaders and young farmers on navigating the business environment and participating in USDA programs.


For more information, or to sign up for the WIA newsletter, please click here.