NAFTA Negotiating Round 6

U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators are meeting this week in Montreal, Quebec for the Sixth Round of North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks. This week, negotiators sought to bridge some long held gaps in negotiating positions, with new language being proposed on auto rules of origin that would help raise regional content metrics through the inclusions of research and development spending in country of origin content methodologies. In addition, negotiators discussed U.S. and Canadian proposals on dairy market access.

IGTC Newsletter

The latest IGTC newsletter is now available! This week’s newsletter includes an update from the IPPC ePhtyo Symposium in Malaysia, a farewell and thank you message to IGTC Vice President Teresa Babuscio, and an update on the IGTC questionnaire on MRLs.

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

TPP-11 Countries Reach Agreement

On Tuesday, January 23 the TPP-11 countries of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam reached a deal on a revised Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The final agreement will be signed at a ceremony in Chile on March 8. The agreement comes after the United States withdrew from the TPP nearly one year ago, and includes modified language to the original TPP that eliminates or revises controversial sections on IP protections, state owned enterprises and labor.

Brussels IGTC Events Trip Report

A trip report is now available for Gary’s travel to Brussels, Belgium to attend and participate in IGTC outreach events. From December 3-6 Gary attended the European Commission Grains Outlook Seminar, COCERAL’s annual reception, and the International Grains Council’s 46th Session. He also met with Mr. Arnaud Petit, who will become the executive director of IGC in February 2018.

A copy of the trip report can be read here.

Tokyo Contract Seminar Trip Report

A trip report is now available for NAEGA’s travel to Tokyo, Japan to lead a Contracts and Best Practices Seminar. In Tokyo, Gary, Ryan and Senior Advisor Sam Bonilla educated Japanese industry and government officials on usage of and proposed changes to the NAEGA 2 Model Contract at the Tokai University Club on November 28. Topics included perspectives on the global contracting environment and case studies of commercial topics like arbitration and contract terms. A cocktail reception followed the seminar.

A copy of the trip report can be read here.

NAFTA Chapter 19 Meeting

On Friday, January 19 Ryan joined other agriculture industry stakeholders for a meeting on NAFTA’s Chapter 19 with Victor Mroczka, ‎Director of Trade Remedies, WTO & Multilateral Affairs at the U.S. Trade Representative. During the meeting, agriculture stakeholders discussed the benefits of Chapter 19 to exporters and investors in the North American marketplace. Chapter 19 of NAFTA creates a process for reviewing (challenging) one member’s imposition of anti-dumping (AD) or countervailing duties (CVD) on imports from another NAFTA member. It has provided U.S. food and agriculture exporters with an effective tool to hold AD and CVD investigators and administrators accountable through an appeals process that can overturn egregious AD and CVD investigations and keeps markets open for business. Currently, negotiators from the U.S., Canada and Mexico are considering the future of Chapter 19 in ongoing NAFTA negotiations.

More information on Chapter 19 can be found here.

Letter on Section 199A of Tax Law

NAEGA is consulting with and supporting the actions of the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) regarding issues raised with Section 199A of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.  Concern has been raised by industry participants about how the new Section 199A will influence grain marketing decisions. On January 11, NGFA and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) issued a joint statement about these developments, which can be read here. According to the statement, NGFA and NCFC “are working intensively with stakeholders, including cooperatives, noncooperative-owned agribusinesses and Senate offices, including Senators Hoeven, Thune and Roberts. The goal of these discussions is to arrive at an equitable solution that preserves the benefits that cooperatives and their farmer patrons previously enjoyed under Section 199 of the tax code, while addressing any unforeseen impacts on producers’ marketing decisions.

U.S. to Begin Enforcing GLOMAG

On December 20, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order (EO 13818) which seeks to use economic sanctions to tackle international human rights abuses. EO 13818 blocks the assets of 13 persons and lays the framework for applying blocking and U.S. visa restrictions on additional persons in the future.

The EO also authorizes blocking sanctions to those who materially assist, sponsor, or provide financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to, the targeted activities even absent the presence of a Specially Designated National (SDN). This means that companies or individuals involved with parties that may be engaged in human rights violations or corrupt activities, even if not designated an SDN, run the risk of potentially being designated themselves under this broad authorization.

Read more about this development here.

Member Invoices and Annual Meeting Notification

NAEGA has completed its annual invoicing for membership dues and export volume fees. On Friday, January 12, each member representative should have received an email with a membership invoice and an annual member meeting notification. Member representatives will also receive an invoice and meeting notification via Fedex. All NAEGA member dues and export volume fees are due by February 15, 2018.