OFAC Delays Sanctions for RUSAL, Others

On Tuesday, July 31 the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) extended a general license for investors in three companies linked to Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. In its announcement, OFAC extended its general license for activities for EN+ Group PLC, GAZ Group and United Company RUSAL PLC. The extension of this general license allows further time for investors covered under U.S. sanctions against Russia to divest their shares. Over the past few months Treasury has provided leeway to these companies so that they can maintain business operations. 

Trump Administration Increase Potential China Tariffs

On Wednesday, August 1 the U.S. Trade Representative announced an increase in the proposed tariff rate against Chinese goods related to its investigation into China’s intellectual property practices. Originally, the USTR had announced proposed tariffs of 10 percent on $200 billion in Chinese goods through a notice and comment process which began on July 10. According to U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, “the increase in the possible rate of the additional duty is intended to provide the Administration with additional options to encourage China to change its harmful policies and behavior and adopt policies that will lead to fairer markets and prosperity for all of our citizens.” The USTR will hear comment on this potential duty until September 5. 

Meeting with Senate Ag on China

On Wednesday, August 1 Gary and Ryan met with members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to update Committee members on the China trade and NAEGA’s ongoing efforts to mitigate the effects of the foreign material designation on phytos of U.S. origin soybeans. As reported in last week’s outreach, NAEGA is continuing its focus on the U.S. China trade environment armed with new analysis and action plans.

Recent analysis includes.

  1. An examination of the Grain Standards Act to provide for an understanding that grade quality factors, like Foreign Material (F.M.), are inappropriate and misleading as health and safety designations like APHIS is using on  phyto-sanitary certificates for U.S. Soybeans to China. In addition, the application of factors in this way is having a detrimental impact on competition and price.  The U.S. Grain Standards Act makes it clear that non-grade factors are not to be used in a misleading fashion. Regarding the “Use of official grade designations required” and “false or misleading grade designations for grain shipped out of the United States,” the act states that “(b) No person shall, in any sale, offer for sale, or consignment for sale, of any grain which involves the shipment of such grain from the United States to any place outside thereof, knowingly describe such grain by any official grade designation, or other description, which is false or misleading.”
  2. Informa Study on the impact of the APHIS imposition of the Additional Declaration
  3. NGFA Study on price impact of imposition of the additional declaration


Moving forward, NAEGA is:

  1. Responding to the USDA FGIS request for input on Standard for Soybeans, Canola and Corn. Timing of this consideration changes to the Official U.S. Grain Standards is excellent given the misleading use of the Standard’s soybean grade factor on Phytos for China.
  2. Working with FAS Trade Promotion Program authority to provide for a “Global Broad-based Initiative” (GBI) to address the China NTB dilemma. China has broadly articulated some of its needs in the form of its Decree 177 Import and Export measures for grain which suggest exporter nations present “protocols” to provide for compliance.  But China has provided insufficient details and has demonstrated a lack of appreciation for sound science and due process in its regulatory measures as well a very limited understand of safe, innovative and competitive capacity of the U.S. production and marketing system.  The USDA APHIS is attempting to deploy a systems approach related to one concern of Chinese regulators related weed seeds. If successful, the APHIS weed seed solution could be incorporated into the GBI.  The GBI will provide for studies and development of an aligned strategy to achieve the goal of mitigating China’s Non-tariff barriers to grains and oilseeds by providing for information to demonstrate how the U.S. and China value chain meets China’s import requirements.  This could be undertaken for multiple crops or start with soybeans.   Via a contract with capable and respected third-party project consultancy the follow steps will be integral to the GBI and include the following steps
    1. Conduct a thorough review of all relevant studies and surveys already conducted.
    2. Establish and conduct a robust analysis of the respective outcomes related to China’s concerns to more completely understand the entire system. For example, the APHIS systems approach includes an effort to measure and understand weed seeds and foreign material is now being contemplated and includes sampling and testing along the U.S. supply chain.
    3. Document all aspects of the production, trade and consumption of the respective grain or oilseeds being addressed, including but not limited to, regulatory measures as well as commercial practices that are employed throughout to production and marketing value chain through to Chinese processing and use.
    4. Provide for a report and recommendations on how to provide for an aligned strategy to mitigate China’s non-tariff barriers to grains and oilseeds.
  3. Finally, we are working with colleagues to communicate the negative impact of both tariffs and non-tariff measures in reaction the current geopolitcal environment that includes aggressive use of increased tariffs.

We continue to request your advice and questions.

Peru CVD Investigation

NAEGA is gathering information and responding to a recent notification that Peru has begun a Countervailing Duty investigation into U.S. origin corn. On Wednesday, July 25 NAEGA was informed that Peru’s National Institution for the Defense of Competition and the Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI) initiated an investigation into alleged subsidies for yellow corn originating from the United States. According to documents issued by INDECOPI, the Peruvian government plans to investigate U.S. yellow corn producers during the period of January – December of 2017 for actionable subsidies under World Trade Organization rules.

At this time NAEGA's actions are limited to gathering relevant information and sharing it with members. Please see the below information on the case provided by the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA FAS Post.

NAEGA also invites members to participate in a U.S. government inter-agency meeting between the U.S. Trade Representative, the USDA and other officials to discuss the official U.S. response. The meeting will take place on Tuesday, August 7 in Washington, D.C.    

Meeting with USTR on Peru CVD Investigation – Washington, D.C. – August 7

Interested NAEGA members are invited to two meetings related to industry and U.S. government response to Peru’s countervailing duty investigation into U.S. origin corn. On August 7 at 11:00am NAEGA will host a pre-meeting and lunch at its offices in Arlington, VA. During the pre-meeting NAEGA members are invited to discuss an industry response to the CVD investigation and coordination with the U.S. government.

Following the pre-meeting interested members are also invited to attend an inter-agency meeting hosted by the U.S. Trade Representative to discuss the U.S. government’s response to the investigation. This meeting will take place on 1:30pm on August 7 at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington, D.C.  

If you are interested in participating in either meeting please contact Ryan or Gary.  If you or another representative from your company would like to attend, please notify Gary or Ryan by close of business tomorrow (August 2).

IGTC Newsletter

The latest IGTC newsletter is now available! This edition covers Gary and Katy’s outreach tour in Geneva and Rome, the newly elected chair of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s ePhyto Industry Advisory Group, and information on several upcoming events such as the IGTC’s General Assembly in Beijing in November.

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

OECD Business and Industry Advisory Committee

Katy is back from Paris, France where she attended the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Annual Forum and Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) General Assembly. These events included reports from several BIAC policy groups such as the digital economy committee, the findings of the BIAC Economic Policy Survey, and G20 and G7 related activities. The IGTC is currently conducting a cost-benefit analysis of joining the OECD.

Read the full trip report here