Geneva and Brussels IGTC Meetings

On November 7-12 Gary Martin, as acting in his role as President of the IGTC, traveled to Geneva, Switzerland and Brussels, Belgium. In Geneva, the IGTC conducted a General Assembly and Strategy Session.   During the meetings, the IGTC established a new business plan that provides for transitioning the IGTC from NAEGA administration and financial underwriting to a member funded and sustained federation.  Other actions taken by IGTC included welcoming of a new IGTC member, the South African Cereals and Oilseeds Trade Association (SACOTA) and election of officers. Gary also attended a meeting of the IPPC’s ePhyto Project Industry Advisory Group (IAG). More details on these and other NAEGA actions in Geneva and Brussels can be found in the trip report here.

U.S. Government Transition – Mexico

One of our top priorities related to the transition of the U.S. government will be preserving and upgrading the North American agriculture trade. To this end, discussions with Ken Ramos, Head of Trade at the Mexican Embassy to discuss impacts and changes that may result from trade policies of the president-elect and the new Congress were the focus of a group of like-minded industry representatives including NAEGA Director of Operations Ryan Olson on Friday, December 16.

During the meeting, Mr. Ramos expressed the Mexican Government’s interest in upgrading and enhancing cross border trade between Mexico, Canada and the U.S. through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Mr. Ramos pointed to the opportunity to enhance sanitary and phytosanitary rules for cross border trade in any discussions between the NAFTA parties.  

The NAEGA supported concept of a Rapid Response Mechanism that was in-part successfully negotiated TTP is a good fit to upgrade to trade policy to better address plant health protection as well as many other non-tariff trade barriers. Advocating for the RRM will be a center piece of NAEGA efforts related to the U.S government transition.

U.S. Sues China over Corn, Rice and Wheat Practices

On Wednesday, December 15 the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced its intention to file a case at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Chinese wheat, corn and rice trade practices. The suit alleges that Chinese tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) for these commodities fail to uphold the country’s obligations under WTO rules. According to USTR, China lacks transparency in the rules for importing commodity grains resulting in underutilization of the TRQs for corn, wheat and rice. USTR estimates that full utilization of the TRQs would have allowed nearly $3.5 billion of imports into China in 2015.

More information on the USTR’s actions against China can be found here.