Call with Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

On Wednesday, July 2 NAEGA’s NAFTA and Asia-Pacific Policy Teams participated in a call with James Kettel, Executive Director of the Trade and Value Added Branch of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture to discuss the Ministry’s work on trade and the upcoming NAFTA agreement. During the call, NAEGA communicated its efforts on NAFTA, including a brief on the comments already submitted to the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments.

A copy of NAEGA NAFTA comments can be found here:

Washington State Delegated Authority Comments

On Wednesday, August 2 NAEGA and the National Grain and Feed Association submitted a joint statement to the Grain Inspectors, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) regarding the agency’s notice of intent to certify the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) as a delegated official agency. In the comments, NAEGA and NGFA strongly recommend that GIPSA, FGIS and the WSDA implement procedures to prevent disruptions of work and meet the statutory obligations of the Grain Standards Act, including:

  1. Prohibiting the intervention of political influence in determining whether, how and by whom Official inspections by Delegated State agencies are conducted at export port locations.
  2. Requiring FGIS to act with expedited due process to prevent illegal actions that impede or prohibit Official Grain Inspection and Weighing Services.
  3. Developing processes and procedures if a Delegated Official State agency is to be replaced by FGIS inspectors.
  4. Provide for GIPSA to meet its obligations to USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service regardless of its ability to meet the Statutory Obligation to Provide Official Grain Inspection and Weighing Services at Export Port Locations.
  5. Make the Delegation of Authority Agreements Uniform, Transparent and Consistent.

A copy of the joint statement can be found here.

Clause 20 Issued in PNW

On Thursday, July 20 Gary Martin, President and CEO of NAEGA, issued a Clause 20 certificate related to exceptional impediments to transportation in the Pacific Northwest region. The request for certification resulted when impediments to transportation, caused by the closure of multiple rail lines due to rockslides and other events, prevented the forwarding of the commodity to the port to the point where loading was prevented. The panel recommended and the President confirmed that this was a valid cause and NAEGA provided a certificate that established the start of the cause at 0000 PST on February 18, 2017 and the end of the cause to be 1553 CST on February 19, 2017.

Geneva IGTC and IGC Meetings

A trip report is now available for Gary’s travel to Geneva, Switzerland to support NAEGA 2017 and 2018 UES objectives largely executed via the IGTC. In Geneva, Gary reported on and received recommendations for IGTC actions to address facilitation of trade with China, to consider parameters for the establishment of new commercial and official practices related to information management and implementation of regulations and to explore options for modification of the IGTC business plan. These included meetings to advance IGTC priorities and developments at the global level, including:

  • The digitization of trading documentation;
  • The IPPC International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures for grain;
  • The endorsement of the Global Low-Level Presence Initiative (GLI);
  • The IGTC’s position on MRLs.

A copy of the trip report can be found here.

Global Low Level Presence Initiative

A trip report is now available for NAEGA Senior Advisor Paul Green’s travel to Rome, Italy for the 5th annual meeting of the Global Low Level Presence Initiative (GLI). In Rome, Paul monitored, reported and analyzed developments and work with like-minded governments and the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) to provide for:

  • The GLI as an active, ongoing and relevant forum where government can work together to harmonize LLP policy globally;
  • Information to GLI members on how an LLP policy might be implemented.

A primary goal of Mr. Green’s participation in this GLI was to convey grain trade practical experience and knowledge as part of an broader effort to move GLI countries to endorse and begin implementing the “Practical Approaches Paper” that was a prominent part of the agenda.

A copy of the trip report can be found here.

USTR Comments on Russia, China and the NTE

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is seeking public comments on China and Russia’s obligations and implementation efforts in connection to their accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and requesting assistance with identifying significant trade barriers for preparation of the annual National Trade Estimate report.

Russia's Implementation of its WTO Commitments
The USTR will convene a public hearing and seeks comments to assist the in the preparation of its annual report to Congress on Russia's implementation of its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The deadline for filing written testimony is September 22, 2017. The hearing will take place on September 28, 2017.

China's Compliance with WTO Commitments
The USTR is seeking comments and will convene a public hearing to assist in preparing its annual report to Congress on China's compliance with the commitments made in connection with its accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO). The deadline for filing written testimony is September 20, 2017. The hearing will take place on October 4, 2017.

National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers
The USTR is seeking comments to help identify significant barriers to U.S. exports of goods, services, and U.S. foreign direct investment for inclusion in the National Trade Estimate Report on Foreign Trade Barriers (NTE). All written comments must be received by 11:59pm on October 25, 2017.

If you are interested in contributing to any of these comments please contact Gary or Ryan.

Ballast Water Management Deadline Extended

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has decided to extend the deadline for compliance with the Ballast Water Management Convention (BWM) to September 8, 2017. Following the September 8 deadline, all covered vessels will be subject to the new ballast water performance standard. The U.S. Coast Guard is already enforcing ballast water management rules more stringent that the IMO convention. For more information, please click here.