Round 5 NAFTA Update

In advance of the 5th round of NAFTA negotiations, the U.S. Trade Representative updated its NAFTA negotiating objectives. A notable inclusion is a commitment to “Establish specific commitments for trade in products developed through agricultural biotechnologies, including on transparency, cooperation, and managing low level presence issues, and a mechanism for exchange of information and enhanced cooperation on agricultural biotechnologies.”  The update is seen as an  action to help clear the way for two deputy USTR nominees – Dennis Shea to be ambassador to the WTO and C.J. Mahoney to be deputy USTR for China, Africa and the Western Hemisphere -  to move through the confirmation process after Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR) put a hold on them. Read the summary of objectives here, with the sections with changes highlighted.

Early reports from Mexico City are that the mood remains the same as it has been over the past few weeks – uncertain but hopeful. No great breakthroughs are expected during the 5th round but the technical negotiators will continue to make progress on a number of non-contentious chapters. There will not be a ministerial meeting during the  round.  A Sixth (Technical) Round will be conducted in Washington, DC: December 11. At the 6th round  not all chapters will be covered as many of the staff from the three parties will be at the WTO Ministerial, which will be taking place at the same time.

In the U.S. over 168 Food and Agriculture industry stakeholders, sent NAFTA related letters to all 50 U.S. State governors. An individualized version of the letter was also sent to state agriculture commissioners and each state’s leader of economic development. A final copy of the general letter is attached and can be found here.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released an analysis of 12 states it believes would be hardest hit by a NAFTA withdrawal. The states included: MI, WI, ND, TX, MO, OH, IA, IN, AZ, NE, PA & NC. You can find the full analysis here.

EU, IGC, Coceral and IGTC events in Brussels, Belgium – December 3-6

Gary will work on behalf of both NAEGA and the IGTC in Brussels, Belgium at several important trade related events. While in Brussels he looks forward to meeting NAEGA member personnel whenever possible!  

On December 4, Gary plans to attend the European Commission Grains Outlook Seminar. At the Seminar, the Commission will present its outlook for global grain supply, demand and trade.

On December 5th Gary will attend the International Grains Council’s 46th Session and report the IGC on IGTC (agenda attached).  That evening IGTC will co-host the Coceral Annual Reception at which the IGC delegates from IGC member governments are expected to join agri-value chain representatives and officials from the EU institutions.  The IGC is a government-to-government organization of 28 member governments with a unique mandate to facilitate trade.

IGC MCC Meeting and IMO CCC 4 Report

On Friday, September 8 Katy Lee, Secretariat of the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) traveled to London to attend and participate in the International Grain’s Council’s (IGC) Market Conditions Committee (MCC) meeting. During the meeting Katy presented before the MCC on Current Developments in Policy and Practice as part of the IGTC’s continued and regular engagement with the IGC. Following these meetings Katy participated in the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Subcommittee on the Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC) to monitor and respond to developments impacting the global grain and oilseed trade. A trip report from this travel is now available.

A copy of Katy’s trip report can be found here.

U.S.-China AQSIQ Survey Team Report

On September 10-20 NAEGA Senior Advisor Kirk Miller joined a group of China AQSIQ officials for a survey tour of grain supply chain facilities in the Mid-West. A trip report for this mission is now available. The trip, supported by the USDA FAS, NAEGA, U.S. Soybean Export Council, U.S. Grains Council, American Soybean Association and the United Soybean Board, was meant to educate AQSIQ officials on the U.S. export supply chain and the fungible, comingled nature of U.S. grain and oilseed exports as part of U.S. government and industry efforts to comply with Decree 177 facility registration requirements. During their travel, the team visited facilities along the Mid-West, Mississippi River and Gulf Coast in Kansas City, St. Louis, Memphis and Galveston. The trip concluded with a briefing in Washington, D.C.

A copy of Kirk’s trip report can be found here.

DBTG and AAPA Conferences

On November 5-10 Ryan traveled to Punta del Este, Uruguay to participate in the American Association of Port Authorities Latin American Congress and the Dry Bulk Terminal Group’s Fall Operational and Technical Seminar.

Priority during this mission was NAEGA’s continued engagement with the Dry Bulk Terminals Group, which NAEGA renewed its Memorandum of Agreement with in 2017. The NAEGA and the DBTG work together closely on international regulatory issues that affect the global grain trade and dry bulk terminals. Ryan also advises the DBTG Executive Committee. A trip report for this travel will be available soon.

USAEDC Annual Workshop

On November 13-15 Ryan traveled to Baltimore, MD to attend the U.S. Agriculture Export Developments Council’s Annual Workshop. USAEDC annual workshop brings together USDA cooperators, staff and other U.S. government officials to discuss trends and opportunities for U.S. agriculture exporters. Discussions featured remarks by Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney and discussions on USDA and cooperator programing and policy. A trip report for this travel will be available soon.

IGTC General Assembly and Events

Last week, the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) and NAEGA completed several successful activities in the Washington, D.C. area, including:

November 15

  • S. Capitol Tour: IGTC members met with U.S. Representative Adrian Smith of Nebraska to discuss the IGTC’s mission and objectives. Participants were then treated to a tour of the U.S. Capitol and grounds.
  • IGTC and Canadian Embassy seminar on policy issues affecting the international grain trade: IGTC members and corporate stakeholders attended an exclusive event at the Canadian Embassy to discuss the IGTC’s global policy agenda to D.C. based Embassy representatives, international organizations and select U.S. government officials.
  • IGTC and World Bank Reception: Enabling the Business of Agriculture: The IGTC held an evening reception at the World Bank to discuss the Enabling the Business of agriculture project and network with World Bank officials and staff.

November 16

  • IGTC Strategy Session: IGTC members and corporate stakeholders met to discuss policy files and priorities, including plant breeding innovations, information sharing, electronic documentation and the IPPC ISPM for grain, among other issues.
  • IGTC General Assembly: Members met for their annual General Assembly to discuss and vote on IGTC operational and policy issues.

November 17

  • Management Council Meeting: The IGTC management council met to discuss ongoing implementation of the business plan.

Agenda’s for these events and further information and photos from these activities can be found on the IGTC website: