Chinese Cochran Fellows

On April 20 NAEGA welcomed a group of nine Chinese plant protection and quarantine officials currently touring the U.S. as part of the USDA’s Cochran Fellowship. The fellows, all officials at the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine are in the U.S. to learn how U.S. inspection and food safety laws/regulations are created, monitored and enforced on a national and port level.  The goal is to demonstrate the effectiveness of U.S. port inspections and U.S. food safety regulations along with the safety of U.S. food products from the farm all the way to the port.

During the meeting, Gary, Ryan and Jess McCluer with the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) briefed the fellows on the unique components of the North American grain system, including the bulk, comingled supply chain. In addition, the Chinese group was briefed on the Food Safety Modernization Act and U.S. industry compliance.

A copy of the presentation is available here.

Lighthizer Confirmation Letter

This week, NAEGA signed a letter organized by the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade that calls for the Senate to confirm Robert Lighthizer, President Trump’s nominee for U.S. Trade Representative. The letter highlights the importance of international trade as a part of the U.S. economy and emphasizes the urgency of renegotiating NAFTA and pursuing additional bi-lateral trade agreements “to secure the greatest possible benefits for U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses.” A copy of the draft is available here.

Proposal for Rules for International Business and Human Rights Arbitration

An Independent International Working Group led by specialists from Sweden, the Netherlands, are developing a draft proposal for an International Business and Humans Rights Arbitration system for businesses and victims of human rights violations. The system would allow businesses and individuals to voluntarily agree to bring disputes to the international arbitration. The Working Group has proposed drafting a specialized set of arbitration rules to resolve disputes of human rights abuses by businesses. Reasons for proposing a draft include greater procedural transparency and permitting multiple victims to aggregate claims. The proposal, which can be found here, is currently open for comment.

Pakistan MB Fumigation

NAEGA is now advising the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) regarding the detection of weed seeds and bacteria in shipments of soybeans and soybean products to Pakistan. Over the last couple of weeks APHIS has been in contact with the Pakistan Department of Plant Protection (DPP) regarding the detection of cockle bur (Xanthium sp.) and Stewarts Wilt in shipments of soybeans and DDGs. As a result, PPD had initially requested that shipments of U.S. origin soybeans and soybean meal be treated with methyl bromide fumigation to devitalize cockle bur seeds. In more recent discussions, during which APHIS educated PPD on manufacturing and end use processes for DDGs and soybeans, PPD has shown increased flexibility regarding methyl bromide fumigation. As of this week, APHIS is continuing to dialogue with PPD regarding shipments of this kind, and PPD looks willing to avoid trade disruptions. In addition, PPD is interested in traveling to the U.S. to conduct a pest risk analysis.

APHIS is requesting from industry additional information on the end use of soybean and SBM shipments to Pakistan. If you have any information you would like to share with PPD, please contact Ryan.

A copy of APHIS meeting notes from calls with PPD can be found here.

GOA Report on USAID Food Assistance

Earlier this week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released a report on the U.S. Agency for International Development's (USAID) implementation and oversight of additional food aid flexibility authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. The report offers the first comprehensive look into the extent USAID is using the new authority to provide cash transfers, food vouchers, and locally or regionally procured (LRP) food—rather than U.S.-grown commodities—to those in need across the globe. A press release on the GOA Food Aid Report can be found here.

IGTC Working Visit – India

IGTC Secretariat Katy Lee and NAEGA Contractor Patrick Hayden are back from their travel to India to attend the Global Grain, Food and Feed Conference (G2F2) and meet with members, governments and other industry stakeholders. A copy of their trip report is now available. While in New Delhi and Mumbai, Katy and Patrick attended and represented NAEGA and the IGTC at the G2F2 conference, discussed IGTC policy files and conducted research on tariff and non-tariff barriers. In addition, Katy met and worked closely with IGTC members the Soybean Processors Association of India (SOPA) and the Solvent Extractors Association of India (SEA).

A copy of the trip report can be found here.

NAEGA/IGTC Meetings – Beijing, China

NAEGA President and CEO Gary Martin is back from Beijing, China where he engaged on multiple NAEGA and IGTC priorities with government and industry stakeholders. These priorities included the IPPC’s ISPM for Grain and ePhyto system, the World Bank’s Enabling the Business of Agriculture Project, production technology and Decree 177. Multiple meetings with Chinese officials and industry and representatives from the governments of Argentina, Australia, Brazil and the U.S. resulted in new and helpful findings to assist in achieving NAEGA’s China related and many other objectives. Thanks to all NAEGA member personnel who attended the reception on Friday evening. We expect to call on you again soon for more advice!

The U.S. situation in China remains a challenging one. Ongoing WTO litigation, including China’s U.S. DDGs and Sorghum trade remedy cases and the U.S. action over China’s support for domestic wheat, rice and corn growers, coupled with the uncertainty about how to comply with a host regulatory mandates, are all of NAEGA concern. Our work related to Decree 177 continues as their remains a lot of confusion regarding compliance with the Decree 177.

The newest development is Notification No. 18. The Department for Supervision on Animal & Plant Quarantine, AQSIQ has titled the notification “Further Strengthening Risk Early-warning of Entry Grains”. The notification falls under China’s Decree 177 and states that it is needed effectively prevent and control the safety risk of entry grains into China. With the Notification, AQSIQ is apparently instituting an early-warning system focused on corn and corn substitutes such as sorghum, barley, dried cassava, DDGS and other productsThe early warning system is broken down by Type A and Type B violations.  Type A applies to pesticides, biological toxins and pollutants, and other harmful substances in excess of existing residue levels.  It includes products containing unapproved transgenic ingredients.  Type B applies to grain found with quarantined live pests, toxic plant seeds, quarantine disease, treated seeds, mold, FM exceeding the contract agreement by 50 percent and shipments contaminated by rodents, birds and other serious quality problems. In the event of a Type A violation the enterprise would be subject to testing for three consecutive consignments.  Two Type A violations would lead to the suspension of permit approval and registration. If Type B is detected field inspection will be strengthened and China will conduct laboratory testing and identification of the risk.  The entry grain cannot be transferred out of the port before testing and identification is completed.  For Type B, three violations would lead to suspension of permit approval and registration.  For both type A and B of violations, resumption of approval of registration will only restart after the investigation and the relevant corrective measures have been enforced. Further, AQSIQ has stated they will reward custom officials with a high rate of detection and “set them up as good examples”.

The U.S. government is currently organizing meetings in Beijing the week of April 24 with AQSIQ and other related parties. Gary is planning on returning to Beijing at the request of USDA FAS to support those during their meetings with AQSIQ.

More information on these developments and this mission will be available in a forthcoming trip report.  Your advice and questions are welcome. Please contact Gary to discuss.

IGTC Newsletter

The April IGTC Newsletter is now available! Read reports of recent IGTC activity around the world, including a report on Gary’s outreach activities in China, GLI’s 2017 meeting and an update on the IPPC’s ePhyto hub.  Check it out here!

China e-Commerce Training Videos

The USDA Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) Shanghai’s “doing Business in China Through e-Commerce” Virtual Training Center is now online. The training center is an online educational tool for all U.S. exporters interested in China’s e-commerce market. The Virtual Training Center can be accessed by simply clicking here, or pasting the following URL in your browser: