Update on China Soybean Requirements

Last week Gary and Ryan were joined by NAEGA Washington representatives at meetings with the House, Senate and U.S. Trade Representative to discuss ongoing concerns regarding foreign material regulations on exports of soybeans to the Chinese market. NAEGA met with the House Committee on Agriculture Majority Staff on Tuesday, March 27, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Majority staff on Wednesday, March 28, and USTR’s Chief Agriculture Negotiator Ambassador Gregg Doud on Thursday, March 29. During these meetings NAEGA representatives discussed industry concerns regarding APHIS negotiations with AQSIQ and implementation of FGIS Directive 9180.85 requiring all soybean shipments to China to acknowledge foreign material content. To date, NAEGA has been cooperating with USDA by contributing to and communicating our concerns and possible solutions as part of the USDA Systems Approach on Weed Seeds. Unfortunately, APHIS has no current plans to address the “Trade Support” elements that would address China’s practices and provide for leveling the playing field for U.S. exports. As a result, in last week’s conversations, NAEGA requested action on the part of the U.S. government to:

  1. Support the establishment of a new protocol to provide for consistent application of more predictable and transparent Chinese soybean import requirements that are science based and consistent with the International Plant Protection Convention’s International Standard for Phytosanitary Measures Number 32. As such the protocol would eliminate the AD.
  2. Complete work to establish U.S. official and commercial practice as sufficient to meet China’s Administrative Measures of Inspection and Quarantine for the Entry and Exit Grain issued by the General.
  3. Closely examine and report on the unwritten agreement between APHIS and AQSIQ and actions taken by U.S. officials that led to the current circumstances.


Following these meetings, NAEGA is advising and working closely with House, Senate and USTR staff to address industry concerns and identify next steps.

NAFTA Coalition Meeting

On Wednesday, April 4 Ryan attended a Business and Agriculture Community Meeting on NAFTA Modernization Negotiations at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. At the meeting, industry representatives from across sectors provided an update on NAFTA negotiations and analysis of where negotiations might turn. Some type of conclusion to NAFTA seems to be approaching. This week, USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer welcomed his Canadian and Mexican trade ministers to Washington to discuss NAFTA. Several factors are pushing negotiators to a conclusion, including: Mexican election in July, statutory requirements related to trade promotion authority, and the Canada and Mexico’s exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs, which happens on May 1.

CMC and NAEGA Board Meeting Trip Report

A trip report is now available for IGTC Secretariat Katy Lee’s travel to Miami, Florida to attend the Commodity Markets Council’s State of the Industry conference and brief the NAEGA Board of Directors on IGTC funding, policy files and initiatives. A copy of Katy’s trip report can be found here.

IPPC ePhyto Trip Report

A trip report is now available for IGTC Secretariat Katy Lee’s travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur Katy attended the 3rd IPPC Global Symposium on ePhyto as part of IGTC participation in the IPPC ePhtyo Industry Advisory Group (IAG). Currently, the IGTC is advising the IPPC on the testing of its global ePhyto solution. At the Global Symposium the IGTC was granted an opportunity to discuss “ePhyto and Trade Facilitation” before attendees.

A copy of the trip report is available here.

U.S. Section 301 Comments

The last opportunity for public comment regarding the U.S. Trade Representative’s Section 301 investigation expires at midnight tonight, May 22. Currently, the investigation is still ongoing despite Trump Administration officials comments that the proposed “trade war” with China was off the table following productive meetings with the Chinese government that concluded in a join press release on May 19. NAEGA is very closely engaged with the Trump Administration in their ongoing discussion with the Chinese government. According to the White House, the Chinese government has agreed to purchase more farm and agricultural products.

The U.S. Trade Representative is seeking public comment on its findings under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 that the Government of China’s policies on technology transfer, intellectual property and innovation that are unreasonable and discriminatory. In relation to these findings, the Trade Representative proposes an additional duty of 25 percent on a list of products from China. In addition to receiving public comment, USTR will also hold a hearing on May 15, 2018. Parties interested in testifying before the hearing or participating in the public comment period should adhere to the following schedule:

Please contact NAEGA if you are interested in participating in these comments.

China Announces Section 301 Retaliation on U.S.

On Tuesday, April 3 the Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced its intention to implement a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion in U.S. origin goods in response to the ongoing U.S. 301 investigation. This move follows the Trump Administration’s recommendation that a 25 percent tariff be applied to $50 billion of Chinese goods, including aerospace, information and communication technology, robotics, and machinery. The Chinese list of products includes soybeans, durum wheat and certain types of aircraft. These actions follow recently implemented tariffs by the U.S. on Chinese steel and aluminum under Section 232 and $3 billion in retaliatory tariffs in response.

NAFTA Ministerial in Washington

This week U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer welcomed Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Secretary of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo to Washington for a ministers meeting to discuss ongoing NAFTA negotiations. Previously, NAFTA parties had been attempting to schedule an eighth round of negotiations. However, this week’s meeting of ministers is seen as a substitute for the next round of talks and a potential indication that a negotiated agreement could be near completion. Many analysts believe that May 1 is a likely deadline for the negotiating process as Mexican presidential elections approach and the timelines for passage through the U.S. Congress narrows.