Cirsium arvense – Vietnam actions on grain and oilseed imports

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.  We are investigating several options and input including 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. 

We believe USDA will provide for meeting at 10 AM on Friday Feb. 8 that includes a debrief on the 2nd day of the bilateral between APHIS and VN PPD.   Meanwhile NAEGA is seeking advice from several sources on how address the Veitnam’s actions as well ways to improve the. ability to address non-tariff trade barriers related to measures associated with phytosanitary risk management.    

IGTC Newsletter

The latest IGTC newsletter is now available! This week’s edition includes an update on the ePhtyo Industry Advisory Group (IAG) meeting last week in Geneva, more information on Japan’s proposed MRL changes, and a report on the IGTC digitization efforts.

A copy of the newsletter can be found here.

Asian Gypsy Moth

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency have released a memorandum regarding the import requirements for marine vessels entering North American ports which have called upon areas regulated for Asian gypsy moth. The memorandum states that all vessels must arrive in North American ports free of Asian gypsy moth and with required pre-departure certification in order to prevent seve negative impacts from introduction.

A copy of the memorandum can be found here.

Venezuela Sanctions

On January 28, 2019 the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control announced sanctions against Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13850. The purpose of the EO 13850 is to target rampant corruption within the Venezuelan government, which according to the US government has exacerbated “the economic and humanitarian crises afflicting the Venezuelan people.”

As a result, US persons are now broadly prohibited from engaging in transactions with PDVSA, including its majority-owned subsidiaries. Previously, PDVSA had only been subject to limited sanctions imposing restrictions on certain debt and equity transactions.

In light of the impact the blacklisting of an entity such as PDVSA would have on the United States and beyond, OFAC rolled out a slew of general licenses (summarized below) authorizing US persons to engage in certain transactions involving PDVSA and its majority-owned subsidiaries – two of which PDV Holding, Inc. (PDVH) and CITGO Holding Inc. (CITGO) are US entities.

ATP Awards

On January 31, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced $200 million worth funding to 57 organizations as part of the USDA’s Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program. The program is intended to help U.S. farmers and ranchers identify and access new export markets. The program was authorized by President Donald Trump as part of a $12 billion assistance package to mitigate the adverse effects of trade retaliation. A list of organizations that received money under the ATP can be found here. More information on the program can be found here.

U.S.-China trade talks

Chinese officials are in Washington this week as trade talks continue between the two countries. On Tuesday, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He arrived in Washington to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Mr. He is also expected to meet with President Trump on Thursday. Trade discussions will include the ongoing tariffs and in place by both countries, as well as Chinese intellectual property rights and forced technology transfer policies. Reports indicate that U.S. and China officials are negotiating a meeting on trade between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year.

Board of Directors Meeting

On Tuesday, January 29 the NAEGA Board of Directors met at the Miami Beach Edition Hotel in Miami, Florida. During the meeting, the Board reviewed NAEGA finances, heard reports from the Grades and Inspections and Contracts Committee, and discussed the ongoing IGTC transition, and conducted programming and financial planning for 2019. The Board also approved minutes from its March 19, 2018 meeting. Minutes from this meeting will be available soon.

Peru CVD Actions on Yellow Corn

NAEGA continues to work closely with the Peru Corn CVD Special Interest Group (SIG) to coordinate responses and messaging regarding Peru’s self-initiation of a countervailing duty case against U.S. origin yellow corn.

Currently, Peru’s INDECOPI is scheduled to hear arguments regarding this case at a February 20 hearing in Lima. To ensure proper preparation and coordination for this hearing, many SIG participants are filling coordinated hearing extension requests in an effort to delay the hearing until March 18. If you are a party to this case and would also like to file an extension request, you are invited to use the below language as part of your submission.

          Extension request (English)

          Extension request (Spanish)

In addition, if you are a party to this case and not participating in the NAEGA SIG, you are invited to participate. Please email Ryan for more information.