IGTC Meeting with the ISF

On October 19-20 Katy Lee, IGTC Secretariat, and Randy Gordon, NAEGA Volunteer, travelled to Berlin, Germany to participate in a meeting between the IGTC and the International Seed Federation (ISF). During the meeting, the IGTC and ISF discussed information sharing on plant breeding innovation for the benefit of the entire agri-food value chain, including consumers. The IGTC provided evidence to demonstrate the importance of advance consultation, open dialogue and exchange of information between entities engaged in developing and implementing gene edited traits in grain production, including grain producers, handlers, exporters and importers, and the food and feed and processing sectors.

A trip report for this meeting will be available in the coming weeks.

 U.S. Barge Trade Digitization Project Workshop

NGFA is convening a workshop this week in St. Louis to help determine next steps, including developing a prototype and establishing a project timeline for a new digital data exchange system for documents used in Mississippi River barge trade.  The NGFA-organized  task force is seeking input from other industry participants on the core requirements of a new system and any other feedback they should consider. Broad adoption by the industry is critical to achieving the maximum potential cost savings associated with the new system.     

All inquiries and feedback are welcome.  Please contact Julie Detlefsen ( or Charlie Delacruz ( with any questions or comments.    

U.S. Food & Agriculture Dialogue for Trade

On Thursday, October 18 Gary Martin co-chaired a meeting of the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade at the American Farm Bureau Federation. Dialogue guests Kelly Ann Shaw, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for International Trade and Tim Pataki, Special Assistant to the President for the Office of Public Liaison provided an overview of the Trump Administration’s trade priorities, including new trade initiatives with the EU, Japan and the United Kingdom.

The Dialogue plans to meet next on November 20.

Upcoming Contracts and Best Practices Seminar – Tokyo, Japan

With the release of the revised NAEGA 2 contract on March 30, NAEGA conducted several educational seminars in 2018 to communicate these revisions and educate on the contract and industry best practices.

As we move forward into 2018, we are considering locations for our upcoming seminars. Let us know if you are interested in attending or hosting!

NAEGA seminars are an intensive and informative review of commercial and official practices taught in an interactive environment. The goal of each seminar is to improve predictability, reduce risks, resolve trade barriers and facilitate profitable trade.   

NAEGA conducts both public and private seminars, and curriculum can be tailored to your needs.  Please contact Ryan if you are interested in hosting a private, tailored seminar at your office. Click here for more information on the in-depth, interactive programs NAEGA conducts!  

Vietnam Announces Temporary Suspension of November 1 Deadline for ReExport of Grain for Canada (creeping) Thistle

On October 17, 2018 Vietnam announced suspension of the November 1 implementation date for a policy of re-exporting any grain (from all origins) in which seeds of Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) are detected.  Instead, if Canada thistle is detected in imports, Vietnam will continue to require conditioning or supervised processing. Vietnam stated that it is now reviewing comments from importers and the U.S. and Russia before further action.  No timeline has been announced, but USDA APHIS has requested that the suspension continue at least until pest risk discussions with supplying countries are concluded.  After which, Vietnam’s National Plant Protection Organization’s website states that a two-month notification period will allow importers to make any necessary adjustments to any new announced measures.

RCC Stakeholder Forum – Washington, D.C. – December 4-5

NAEGA members are invited to attend a meeting of the U.S.- Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council’s 2018 Stakeholder Forum on December 4-5 in Washington, D.C. The stakeholder forum will bring together senior regulatory officials, industry, and other interested members of the public from both sides of the border to discuss recent accomplishments and new opportunities for regulatory cooperation. Further information, including location and agenda, can be found here.

Prior to the forum, the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is requesting information and soliciting public input on how the Federal Government, under the auspices of the RCC, may reduce or eliminate unnecessary regulatory differences between the United States and Canada. OIRA also seeks public comment to identify ongoing or emerging areas for which cooperation could reduce the risk of divergence between U.S. and Canadian regulations. The comments submitted in response to the RFI may inform agencies' development of regulatory reform proposals to modify or repeal existing agency requirements to increase efficiency related to economic activity with Canada, reduce or eliminate unnecessary or unjustified regulatory burdens, or simplify regulatory compliance, while continuing to meet agency missions and statutory requirements.

The request for comments can be found here. Please let us know if you are interested in participating. These comments are due on November 8, 2018.

Korea MRLs

South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) has published a SECOND draft list of temporary MRLs on October 19, 2018. Please note that this is still a draft and that MFDS is collecting comments. We expect a final list of MRLs to be published by Korea in mid-November which will contain MRLs from both this second list and the list published on October 12, 2018.  The ultimate temporary maximum residue limits (MRLs) are scheduled to effective before the end of this year and maintained through the end of 2021. The final MRL list is expected to be released in mid-November.

A copy of the lists can be found below:

-           First draft MRL list
-           Second draft MRL list

Please review these lists and send comments for NAEGA to convey by October 30, 2018.

Canadian Plant Health Council Launched

On October 12, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), as part of its Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada, launched the Canadian Plant Health Council (CPHC). The CPHC consists of eleven members from national industry associations, academia, and government and will work to address priorities for the plant health sector, with the goal of protecting Canada’s agriculture, plants, and forests. In the coming weeks CPHC will be developing the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada, and will be responsible for prioritizing and delivering plant health-related activities under the strategy and for facilitating cooperation across governments, industry, academia, and other partners.

More information on the CPHC and the Plant and Animal Health Strategy for Canada can be found here.

Contracts and Best Practices Seminar – Portland

Thank you to all who joined us in Portland, OR for a NAEGA Contracts and Best Practices Seminar on Monday, October 15. During the seminar, participants received an in-depth review of the global contracting and dispute resolution environment, including an update on the new NAEGA 2 Model Contract with NAEGA Senior Advisor Sam Bonilla. The seminar also featured interactive activities including a mock arbitration.

NAEGA will hold its next Contracts and Best Practices Seminar on November 30 in Tokyo, Japan.

Presence of Cirsium arvense in Vietnam Shipments

NAEGA is continuing to follow ongoing market access issues regarding weed seed presence in U.S. shipments to Vietnam. On August 21, 2018 USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) sent a letter to Hoang Trung, Director General of Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department (PPD) regarding the presence of Cirsium arvense (Canadian thistle) seed in U.S. grain shipments. According to the letter, APHIS is investigating the incidence of Cirsium arvense in U.S. export grain, both through evaluation of available scientific literature on and the grain pathway, and by review of export grain samples over a six year period.


APHIS has been working on the Cirsium arvense issue with Vietnam since June 2018.  Currently, there is a November 1 deadline in place which states that, if Cirsium arvense is detected after this date, consignments will be re-exported, and there will be a risk of suspension of U.S. grain imports. 

Currently, APHIS is engaged on a technical basis, and has proposed a bilateral meeting in the U.S. in early December 2018 to address the issue. In the meantime, APHIS has provided a pathway risk analysis in which it was argued that there is a low risk not only of Canada thistle seed being present in the grain pathway and consequently low risk of entry into Vietnam, but that with Vietnam’s tropical climate, the fragility and low germination of the seed, and the intended use of processing are taken into consideration, there is a very low risk of establishment.  Additionally, APHIS provided an identification key for thistle, noting that there are a number of other thistle seeds sharing much of the same morphology with Cirsium arvense, and inviting a technical exchange.

In response to these claims, Vietnam has stated that there is a high probability of introduction and according to international practice the appropriate level of protection for Cirsium arvense is zero at arrival of all consignments. 

NAEGA continues to monitor this situation and is pressing for a global and across U.S. Government coordinated response. NAEGA believes that Ukraine and Australia have already secured an accommodation.

As this situation continues to develop, NAEGA is seeking member input and recommendations for appropriate paths forward. Additional background information can be found below:

  1. APHIS letter to Vietnam PPD – August 21, 2018
  2. Vietnam PPD letter to APHIS – September 5, 2018
  3. PPD Exporter Announcement of November 1 Deadline