Food and Ag Dialogue High Level Steering Group Meeting

On Tuesday, October 10 Gary and Ryan attended a meeting of the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade’s High Level Steering Group at the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) in Washington, D.C. During the meeting, the Dialogue was briefed by Karen Antebi, Economic Counselor for Trade and NAFTA Office of the Ministry of Economy of Mexico in Washington, DC; Carlos Vazquez Ochoa, Minister of Agricultural Affairs at the Embassy of Mexico; and Mike Hawkins, Agriculture Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada. They discussed the current state of NAFTA negotiations from their respective governments’ perspectives.

During the meeting, the steering group was also briefed by Sharon Bomer-Lauritsen, Assistant US Trade Representative for Agricultural Affairs and Commodity Policy, and discussed further outreach and engagement with administration officials and stakeholder groups.

Please contact Ryan for more information.

IGTC Newsletter

The latest IGTC newsletter is now available! This week’s newsletter includes information about the EU Commission’s high-level conference on modern biotechnologies, updates on the Global Low-Level Presence Initiative, and a final request that members fill out a questionnaire on a global ePhyto solution.

For more details, read the IGTC Newsletter here or visit the IGTC website at

Senate Confirms Deputy Secretary Censky and Under Secretary McKinney at USDA

On October 3 the Senate confirmed Steve Censky to be Deputy USDA Secretary and Ted McKinney to be Under Secretary for Trade with bipartisan support.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue issued the following statement regarding the confirmation votes: “Steve Censky will help us be responsive to producers reeling from the effects of multiple hurricanes and also offer prudent counsel as Congress continues work on the 2018 Farm Bill.  Ted McKinney will take charge of the newly-created mission area focused on trade, and wake up every morning seeking to sell more American agricultural products in foreign markets. We eagerly await their arrival at USDA.” You can read the Secretary’s full statement here.

US and South Korea Agree to Renegotiate KORUS

The US and South Korea concluded their second special session on October 4. After an inconclusive first round in August, the countries have now agreed to begin talks focused on amending the agreement. South Korean Trade Minister Kim Hyun-chong stated that “The two sides recognized the need to amend the FTA to enhance mutual benefits of the KORUS FTA.” Ambassador Lighthizer also released a statement outlining the areas that the US will focus on in the upcoming negotiations, which you can read  here.