Trump Pursuing Section 301 Tariffs

On Tuesday, May 29 the White House announced its intention to proceed with the U.S. Trade Representative’s Section 301 investigation to punish the Government of China for its policies regarding intellectual property. In response to findings of China’s practices with respect to technology transfer, intellectual property, and innovation, the USTR will implement specific investment restrictions and enhanced export controls for Chinese persons and entities related to the acquisition of industrially significant technology, including litigation at the World Trade Organization for violations of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. In addition, the United States will impose a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion of goods imported from China containing industrially significant technology, including those related to the “Made in China 2025” program.  The final list of covered imports will be announced by June 15, 2018. Please click here for more information.

CFTC Letter

On Thursday, May 31 NAEGA, along with fifteen other agriculture and agribusiness organizations, signed a letter addressed to U.S. Senators James Lankford and Christopher Coons, Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Services. The letter requests that the Administration’s full budget request of $281.5 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) be included in the FY19 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill.

In recent years, the CFTC’s responsibilities have expanded significantly, and more funding is required in order to continue its role in helping to safeguard U.S. futures and swaps markets. Without sufficient staffing, the CFTC will be unable to pursue completion of a number of important rules and initiatives that impact price discovery and risk management for U.S. agriculture, including:

  • Position limit rule;
  • Reg AT/High-frequency trading oversight;
  • Scrutiny of block trading transactions;
  • Commitments to traders reports;

A copy of the letter can be found here.

New Chinese Customs Requirements

The China General Administration of Customs is now enforcing Notification No. 56 regarding “Adjusting Matters Concerning the Inward and Outward Transport Vehicles and Manifest Supervision of Water and Air.” Notification No. 56 requires shippers to include a company code and contact information, as stated on the Bill of Lading, to the manifests submitted prior to the shipments' arrival. In the United States, a company code may include an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Central Index Key (CIK) number. NAEGA is standing by to assist members with compliance with Notification No. 56 if requested.

Comments on Section 232 Investigation into Automobiles

The U.S. Department of Commerce is seeking industry public comment on its investigation into the national security effects of imports of automobiles. On May 23, 2018, the Secretary of Commerce initiated an investigation to determine the effects on the national security of imports of automobiles, including cars, SUVs, vans and light trucks, and automotive parts. This investigation was initiated under section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.

Interested parties are invited to submit written comments, data, analyses, or other information pertinent to the investigation to the Department of Commerce by June 22, 2018. Rebuttal comments will be due by July 6, 2018. The Department of Commerce will also hold a public hearing on the investigation on July 19 and 20, 2018 in Washington, DC.

NAEGA members who are interested in submitting public comment on this investigation should contact Ryan.  

Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism

NAEGA would like to make members aware of an opportunity from U.S. Customs and Border Protection to participate in the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (CTPAT) program.

CTPAT is a voluntary public-private sector partnership program which recognizes that CBP can provide the highest level of cargo security only through close cooperation with the principle stakeholders of the international supply chain such as importers, carriers, consolidators, licensed customs brokers, and manufacturers. The Security and Accountability for Every Port Act of 2006 provided a statutory framework for the CTPAT program and imposed strict program oversight requirements.

When an entity joins CTPAT, an agreement is made to work with CBP to protect the supply chain, identify security gaps, and implement specific security measures and best practices. Applicants must address a broad range of security topics and present security profiles that list action plans to align security throughout the supply chain.

CTPAT members are considered to be of low risk, and are therefore less likely to be examined at a U.S. port of entry.

CTPAT participants enjoy other benefits, including:

  •    Reduced number of CBP examinations
  •    Front of the line inspections
  •    Possible exemption from Stratified Exams
  •    Shorter wait times at the border
  •    Assignment of a Supply Chain Security Specialist to the company
  •    Access to the Free and Secure Trade (FAST) Lanes at the land borders
  •    Access to the CTPAT web-based Portal system and a library of training materials
  •    Possibility of enjoying additional benefits by being recognized as a trusted trade partner by foreign Customs administrations that have signed Mutual Recognition Agreements with the United States
  •    Eligibility for other U.S. Government pilot programs, such as the Food and Drug Administration’s Secure Supply Chain program
  •    Business resumption priority following a natural disaster or terrorist attack
  •    Importer eligibility to participate in the Importer Self-Assessment Program (ISA)
  •    Priority consideration at CBP’s industry-focused Centers of Excellence and Expertise

Members interested in participating should click here. Participation in CTPAT is voluntary and there are no costs associated with joining the program.

New Orleans FGIS/Industry Workshop

On Wednesday, May 23 NAEGA President and CEO Gary Martin joined NAEGA and NGFA members in the New Orleans area for a workshop with the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS). During the workshop, FGIS personnel updated NAEGA and NGFA members on FGIS financials and tonnage fees, New Orleans Field Office operations, the status of policy issues including soybean phytosanitary issues with China, NAFTA, and the IPPC, and an update on FGIS key issues and programs.


This week, IGTC Secretariat Katy Lee attended the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s General Assembly as an private sector invitee. The Secretariat is considering the merits of IGTC participation in the OECD’s Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC). As part of this participation, the IGTC is seeking information on the initiative at BIAC and the OECD that are directly relevant to the IGTC policy agenda and the benefits and costs of IGTC participation. During her travel Katy observed the annual BIAC General Assembly, held bilateral meetings with the BIAC Secretariat and observed the BIAC plenary.

A trip report for this travel will be available soon. 

China announces intention to increase purchases of U.S. products

On Saturday, May 19 the Chinese government announced its intention to purchase more U.S. goods as part of ongoing discussion with the United States on reducing China’s bilateral trade surplus. In a statement released by U.S. and Chinese negotiating team, which included Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur L. Ross, and United States Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer and Chinese State Council Vice Premier Liu He, China agreed to “significantly increase purchases of United States goods and services…[to] help support growth and employment in the United States.” The statement added that “there was a consensus on taking effective measures to substantially reduce the United States trade deficit in goods with China.” A copy of the joint press release can be found here.

IGTC Meetings in Washington, D.C.

This week Katy Lee, Secretariat of the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) held a series of successful meeting with stakeholders and grain trade leaders in the Washington, D.C. area. These meetings included:

  • Monday, May 14: Briefing for the NAEGA Production Technology Committee on IGTC policy files and recent IGTC bilateral meetings with the International Seed Federation in Nyon, Switzerland.
  • Wednesday, May 16: Presentation on IGTC policy files on a webinar hosted by the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation; and briefings with Washington based embassy representatives, including meetings with the Embassies of Japan and Brazil.
  • Thursday, May 17: Meetings with USDA staff to update on IGTC policy files and initiatives and to pursue IGTC actions for common interest with USDA objectives; a briefing of the Value Added Coalition to discuss new plant breeding innovations and IGTC discussions with the ISF; and a briefing for Washington, D.C. based grain trade stakeholders to discuss IGTC policy files and initiatives.
  • Friday, May 18: A meeting with the Embassy of Spain to discuss opportunities for the grain trade in West Africa and on the Canary Islands.


A trip report for this travel will be available soon.  

St. Lawrence Seaway Development Authority Presentation

On Wednesday, May 16 NAEGA President and CEO Gary Martin, Director of Operations Ryan Olson and IGTC Secretariat Katy Lee were the keynote presenters on a webinar hosted by the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. During the presentation NAEGA and IGTC discussed both organization’s missions, IGTC policy files, grain practices on the Great Lakes including Western Inspection, and U.S. trade policy developments. A copy of the NAEGA/IGTC presentation can be found here.