Vietnam’s Canada Thistle measures

On Friday, December 14 NAEGA hosted a delegation from the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture headed by Vice-Minister Hà Công Tuấn.  Participants included the U.S. Soybean Export Council, the U.S. Grains Council and U.S. Wheat Associates.  During the meeting, Vietnamese Plant Protection Department (PPD) reported on its intentions for implementation on January 1, 2018 of a re-export requirement if Canadian thistle (Cirsium arvense) is found at import in soybean, corn and wheat.  Ultimately, the Vietnamese officials indicated they will not take action on U.S. shipments discovered to contain Canadian thistle until after planned consultations with the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on January 14, 2019.   

NAEGA is working closely with industry stakeholders and the Office of the USDA Undersecretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs to follow up on the meeting.  We will focus on securing sound and least trade distortive practices on behalf of both PPD and APHIS to address all their respective actions.  The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture has asked that we provide additional information about the U.S. export system and mitigation efforts regarding Canadian thistle.

RCC Comments

On Monday, November 26 NAEGA and the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) submitted joint comments to the U.S. Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) regarding the joint U.S.-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council. In the comments, NAEGA and NGFA requested increased cooperation between the U.S. and Canada to reduce trade distorting non-tariff barriers, including through the promotion of rules and standards that will reduce risk and increase the predictability and certainty international trade.

A copy of the comments can be found here.

Notice to the Trade

Addendum 1, Clause 6 be of the NAEGA 2 Model Contract (revised March 30, 2018) is the subject of a new NAEGA Notice to Trade. The notice provides guidance on how to calculate the waiting time at the second berth if the first seller has loaded part of their cargo at the first berth. The notice clarifies that that the correct interpretation of "remaining contracts" in Addendum 1, Clause 6B, should be interpreted to read as "remaining tonnage."  The Notice is available to the public and can be found here.

IGTC 2019 Business Plan

The Management Council of the International Grain Trade Coalition ( has set forth a new 2019 Business Plan.  Importantly, the window for Corporate Stakeholder one-time investments to secure a perpetual governance role in IGTC and provide for a funding bridge to a permanent self-sustaining IGTC will close at the end of 2018.  Corporate Stakeholders are for-profit entities who have made a onetime  investment in IGTC so that it can proceed to operate from the annual dues paid by the non-profit trade associations and councils that are IGTC members. The IGTC continues to seek new Corporate Stakeholders -time is running out to secure your spot! Interested companies can contact IGTC secretariat Katy Lee or Gary who serves at IGTC President. If you would like a copy of the business plan please contact Gary. 

IGTC Newsletter

The latest IGTC newsletter is now available! Highlights include a recap of IGTC participation in a gene editing event in Beijing, the IGTC’s MOU with the International Grains Council, and an update on the ePhyto case studies.  

Read the full newsletter here.

CBP Blockchain

According to a statement by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), CBP is preparing to test several new use cases for blockchain in the trade compliance environment, including verifying the origin of certain raw material imports, verifying the composition of liquids imported via pipeline under free trade agreements and a potential joint test with the U.S. Postal Service. Following these tests, CBP will present the results of the use cases to the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC), after which the agency hopes the private sector provides their thoughts.

Comments on AMS soybean, corn and canola standards

On December 3 NAEGA joined comments to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) on their request for information on changes to the U.S. corn and canola and U.S. soybean standards.

For corn and canola, NAEGA joined the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) in comments stating that both organizations believe that changes to the U.S. grain standards create confusion and uncertainty for market participants and should be avoided unless they can be shown to demonstrably improve or correct significant flaws in the existing standards. Unless changes are justified based upon these criteria, NGFA and NAEGA believe they can be counterproductive – creating a lack of understanding, more uncertainty and increased risk among domestic and international buyers, which may tend to encourage some customers to seek out alternative suppliers in other countries whose grading standards are more stable and predictable.

For soybeans, NAEGA joined NGFA, the American Soybean Association, the National Oilseed Processors Association, and the U.S. Soybean Export Council in comments to AMS. These comments state that that AMS should withdraw its request for information and not proceed with further rulemaking regarding changes to the soybean standard. In particular, these organizations believe that industry needs additional time for the soybean market to normalize and for the U.S. to resolve major tariff and non-tariff barriers with foreign buyers, among other things, before changes to the standards should be considered.

A copy of the comments can be found here:

2019 U.S. Trade Missions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service has announced its trade mission schedule for 2019. While final dates are subject to confirmation, planned USDA trade missions for 2019 are scheduled as follows:

  1. Taiwan (Taipei), March 11-14
  2. Canada (Montreal and Toronto), April 2-5
  3. Colombia (Bogota), June 3-6 (to include buyers from Panama)
  4. Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City), October 14-17 (to include buyers from Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand)
  5. Kenya (Nairobi), October 28-31 (to include buyers from Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda)
  6. Mexico (Mexico City), November 5-8
  7. United Kingdom (London), TBD

A full and updated list of missions can be found on the FAS website here.

IGTC Newsletter

The latest IGTC newsletter is now available! Highlights include a recap of the IGTC General Assembly in Beijing, a briefing on the World Grain Trade Forum and an IGTC notice to the trade on agricultural applications of precision biotechnology.

Read the full newsletter here.

Japan Trade Agreement Comments

On November 26 NAEGA and the National Grain and Feed Association submitted joint comments to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding upcoming U.S. trade negotiations with Japan. In the comments, NAEGA and NGFA stated that, as a strong and longtime ally, treaty and trade partner, the United States should not accept agriculture, forestry and fisheries outcomes from Japan that are limited in scope. Instead, the U.S. should work with our Japanese partners to pursue additional market access and integration that is proportionate to and reflects the close relationship the two countries together have built and enjoyed over the last 70-plus years.

NAEGA and NGFA also requested that Japan expand all current agricultural market access – to include and exceed all offsetting competitive advantages provided to other countries through the European Union (EU)-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement and the CPTPP – while incorporating modernization provisions adopted in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement to address the challenges of 21st century global trade. A copy of the NAEGA/NGFA comments can be found here.