EU Negotiating Objectives

On January 18, the European Commission released its draft negotiating objectives for upcoming trade negotiations with the United States. In a statement, EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said: "Today's publication of our draft negotiating directives is part of the implementation of the July joint statement of Presidents Juncker and Trump. Ambassador Lighthizer and I have already met several times in the Executive Working Group and I have made it very clear that the EU is committed to upholding its side of the agreement reached by the two Presidents. These two proposed negotiating directives will enable the Commission to work on removing tariffs and non-tariff barriers to transatlantic trade in industrial goods, key goals of the July Joint Statement."

The negotiating objectives cover two potential agreements with the U.S:

  • A trade agreement strictly focused on the removal of tariffs on industrial goods, excluding agricultural products;
  • A second agreement, on conformity assessment, that would help address the objective of removing non-tariff barriers, by making it easier for companies to prove their products meet technical requirements on both sides of the Atlantic.


We extend our sincere  U.S. Ambassador Gregg Doud, Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, and his family on the death of his mother, JoAnn Doud.a tragic fall at the Doud family farm in of the

Japan Trip Report

A trip report is now available for NAEGA’s November 2018 mission to Tokyo, Japan. During this mission, NAEGA President and CEO Gary Martin, Director of Operations Ryan Olson and Senior Advisors Andrew Marting and Sam Bonilla, travelled to Tokyo and conducted a Contracts and Best Practices Seminar to educate and inform Japanese Industry and Government officials on current contracting practices as they relate to trade risks, with an overview of the current global contracting environment.

A trip report for this mission can be found here.

Section 301 Comments

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) is conducting its year Special 301 review to identify countries that deny adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) or deny fair and equitable market access to U.S. persons who rely on intellectual property protection. Based on this review, the United States Trade Representative (Trade Representative) determines which, if any, of these countries to identify as Priority Foreign Countries. USTR requests written comments that identify acts, policies, or practices that may form the basis of a country's identification as a Priority Foreign Country or placement on the Priority Watch List or Watch List. USTR also requests notices of intent to appear at the public hearing.


February 7, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST: Deadline for submission of written comments, hearing statements, and notices of intent to appear at the hearing from the public.

February 21, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST: Deadline for submission of written comments, hearing statements, and notices of intent to appear at the hearing from foreign governments.

February 27, 2019: The Special 301 Subcommittee will hold a public hearing at the Office of the United State Trade Representative, 1724 F Street NW, Rooms 1&2, Washington, DC.

On or about April 26, 2019: USTR will publish the 2019 Special 301 Report within 30 days of the publication of the National Trade Estimate (NTE) Report.

2019 Contracts and Best Practices Seminars – Your feedback needed

Your input is requested! As NAEGA prepares for 2019, we are seeking your feedback on the location, timing and curriculum of this year’s Contracts and Best Practices Seminars.

Let us know if you are interested in attending or hosting a seminar, and what topics we should focus on!

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!  

U.S.-U.K. Negotiations Comments

On January 15 NAEGA, along with the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), submitted joint comments to the U.S. Trade Representative regarding upcoming negotiations of a U.S.-U.K. trade agreement. In the comments, NAEGA and NGFA state that they look forward to a successful USTR negotiation with the UK that encompasses policies and measures that further increase U.S. agriculture’s contributions to the U.S. economy. A successful negotiation will include ambitious and comprehensive access for U.S. agricultural products and is followed with proper implementation and enforcement. This includes agreement on bilateral issues including non-tariff barriers, biotechnology and new plant breeding innovations and sustainability.

A copy of the comments can be found here.

China Trip Report

A trip report is now available for NAEGA President and GEO Gary Martin’s travel to Beijing, China in November 2018. In Beijing, Gary lead and accomplished the annual Ordinary Meeting of the IGTC General Assembly and acted as a co-host of the World Grain Trade Forum with the China National Association of the Grain Sector (CNAGS). During this mission, Gary joined 35 IGTC stakeholders and leaders, including IGTC Secretariat Katy Lee for meetings and events surrounding the IGTC general assembly.

A trip report for this mission can be found here.

U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade

On Friday, January 18 Gary co-chaired a meeting of the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade at the American Farm Bureau Federation. Dialogue guests Guillermo Malpica Soto, Head of Trade and NAFTA Office, Embassy of Mexico, Ricardo Rojas, Economic Advisor, Embassy of Mexico and Marvin Hildebrand, Minister (Economic), Embassy of Canada provided comments on the USMCA agreement and Section 232 steel and aluminum tariffs.

Cirsium arvense – Vietnam actions on grain oilseed imports

We are continuing efforts to address non- tariff trade barriers in several markets.  Recently NAEGA and other stakeholders have placed focus on actions by Vietnam related to the presence Cirsium arvense (commonly referred to as Canada Thistle or Creeping Thistle) plant parts in imported grain.  The Grades and Inspections Committee continues to seek input to support global  outreach and intelligence gathering related to sound science and best commercial and official practice. 

Communication with U.S. government and stakeholders has been a priority last few days.  In advance of  bi-lateral technical talks between Vietnam and U.S. Government officials on January 23 and 24, NAEGA advised U.S. government and a group of stakeholders organized by USDA as follows:  

We find that a thorough examination and understanding of Vietnam’s pathway analysis, sampling and inspection for grain and oilseed shipments related to the concern over a presence Cirsium arvense / Canada Thistle (CT) seed in grain and oilseed imports is warranted and very much needed so we can better understand how to respond to the concern.

HOWEVER given the lack of understanding and time to consider new information we became of aware at the meeting on Tuesday, we believe that APHIS should take no new action until we adequately consult on possible responses and have a common understanding of what we might gain and the risks related to those possible responses. Given the prevailing circumstances, this means giving all relevant stakeholders the opportunity to be included in the related consultations AND such consultations can begin no sooner than the week of Jan. 28, 2019 and must include a complete reporting on findings from the APHIS Plant Health bilateral with Vietnam.

The principles that need to be considered include: 

  • As we currently understand it, the approach Vietnam is taking is an impractical “zero tolerance” approach and is a concern for many origins. The U.S. response will have global ramifications that impact trade of multiple commodities impacted by all sorts of plant health related measures.
  • Origin final determination to provide for consignment discharge is essential. This means options to allow for commercial partners or even shipment specific management that is based on origin final determination of whether the consignment is allowed to enter and with post shipment and arrival chain of custody-based responsibility for any needed mitigation.  
  • Whatever is considered should provide for adequate time to be implemented, predictability, and commercial flexibility. It should be compliant with sound science, provide for a least trade distortive approach and apply relevant best practices including ISPMs. We need to insist on ISPM compliance, adhering to best practices and holding authorities accountable.

A USDA report following the first day of APHIS Plant Health bilateral with Vietnam, included assurances that the NAEGA advice above and during several related meetings was being taken into full consideration.  USDA has also provided some of the detailed information from the bilateral, including:

  • Vietnam’s PPD provided a summary of U.S. origin shipments including PPD’s analysis of Canada Thistle (CT) presence in these shipments. PPD provided information on shipments from other countries that PPD has rejected due to the presence of CT since PPD’s regulations went into effect on January 1, 2019.
  • USDA disagreed with PPD’s position stating CT can establish populations in Vietnam. USDA maintained our position that all phytosanitary regulations must be based on sound science, and USDA requested PPD provide scientific evidence supporting their position that CT populations can become established in Vietnam. USDA also stated that end use processing mitigates the viability of any CT seed, and therefore, provides the basis for continued trade in accordance with IPPC or ISPM provisions. PPD rejected all of these assertions and communicated their experiences with other mitigation efforts from port to processing made such protocols ineffective and cost prohibitive.

Fortunately, while a more permanent solution in line with NAEGA advice has yet to be identified, the APHIS Plant Health bilateral with Vietnam and related work have identified opportunity to provide for addressing Vietnam import requirements and hopefully continued exports of grain and oilseeds to Vietnam.   Please contact Gary if you would like to discuss or for more information or have advice.

Member Invoices and Annual Meeting Notification

NAEGA has completed its annual invoicing for membership dues and export volume fees. On Friday, January 4, each member representative should have received an email with a membership invoice and an annual member meeting notification. Member representatives will also receive an invoice and meeting notification via Fedex. All NAEGA member dues and export volume fees are due by February 15, 2019.