Cirsium arvense (CT) – Vietnam actions on grain and oilseed imports USDA APHIS signals intent to enforce Vietnam’s precautionary zero tolerance beginning March 1

We are disappointed to report that USDA APHIS has notified some stakeholders that it considers Vietnam’s zero tolerance for CT seeds to be justified and APHIS will be taking action effective March 1, 2019 not to issue phytosanitary sanitary certifications for consignments of wheat and soybeans from the U.S. if a yet to be defined APHIS regime detects the presence of CT.  Moreover, the APHIS action will not prevent Vietnam from taking any action at import – including continuing to visually inspect consignment shipments upon arrival, and to require reexport if Canadian thistle is detected.  As a result, USDA APHIS and Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department (VN PPD) will be using a zero-tolerance approach to CT in wheat and soybean shipments.

Over two weeks after a bilateral meeting in Vietnam between USDA APHIS and VN PPD ended, we were quite surprised and disappointed to learn that, during the January 23 -24 talks, APHIS acquiesced to the Vietnamese position that, based on what APHIS said were controlled laboratory (greenhouse) experiments conducted by Vietnam,  CT seeds are capable of propagating in Vietnam’s climate. Based upon this outcome and without any evidence of exposure or consideration for management of risk to Vietnam’s agriculture, APHIS has conceded that Vietnam’s zero tolerance for CT seeds is justified and shall result in APHIS action not to issue phytosanitary sanitary certifications for consignments of wheat and soybeans from the U.S. if a yet-to-be-defined APHIS regime detects the presence of Canadian thistle in U.S. export shipments of wheat and soybeans to Vietnam.  USDA APHIS said it had written to Vietnam stating the understanding that the certificate issuance requirement to be imposed by APHIS will apply to vessels loaded on or after March 1, not to shipments en-route on or before that date and has not received a contrary response from Vietnam.    PLEASE NOTE: The agreement codified by the APHIS communication with Vietnam’s Plant Protection Division (VN PPD) does not prevent Vietnam from taking any action at import – including continuing to visually inspect consignment shipments upon arrival, and to require reexport if Canadian thistle is detected. 

A detailed and updated reporting, including discussion actions exporters as well as NAEGA might take can be found here.

2019 MAP Allocation

On Tuesday, February 12 NAEGA received word that its 2019 Unified Export Strategy (UES) application with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been accepted and NAEGA will receive

funding under the Market Access Program (MAP) in 2019. MAP funding in 2019 for NAEGA will be limited to a $366,652 ceiling, $23,452 more than its 2018 ceiling.

A copy of NAEGA’s 2019 UES application is available here. For more information, please contact Ryan.

U.S. Trade Advisory Committees Nominees

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in cooperation with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), is accepting nominations for new members to serve on its agricultural trade advisory committees. The deadline to be considered for the next round of appointments is Friday, March 1, 2019.

Members of the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) will assist in advising the USDA and USTR on operating existing trade agreements, on negotiating new agreements, and on other trade policy matters. Focusing on six aspects of trade:

  • Animals and animal products;
  • Fruits and vegetables;
  • Grains, feed, oilseeds and planting seeds;
  • Sweeteners and sweetener products; and
  • Tobacco, cotton, and peanuts.

Committee members must be U.S. citizens, qualify for a security clearance, and serve without compensation for time, travel or expenses. The committees generally meet in Washington D.C., at least twice a year. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m. ET on March 1, 2019. All nomination materials should be mailed in a single, complete package to: Sonny Perdue, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-1001, Attn: APAC/ATACs. Courtesy electronic copies of the nomination materials should be sent to

USDA Agricultural Projections

On February 14 at 12 p.m. EST, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release the complete set of tables prepared for the upcoming USDA Agricultural Projections to 2028 report. The tables will include projections for farm income, U.S. fruits, nuts and vegetables supply and use and global commodity trade. Tables will be posted in MS Excel format and posted to the USDA Office of the Chief Economist’s (OCE) website.

The complete USDA Agricultural Projections to 2028 report will be released on March 13, 2019 and will include a full discussion of the projections for U.S. commodity supply and use, farm income, and global commodity trade.

The tables will be a ten-year representative scenario for the agricultural sector. The projections do not represent USDA forecasts, but rather reflect a conditional long-run scenario based on specific assumptions about macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments, with no domestic or external shocks to global agricultural markets. The Agricultural Act of 2014 is assumed to remain in effect through the projection period.

Background on USDA’s long-term projections and past issues of the report are available at the USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) Website.

EU Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol

In late January, the European Union (EU) acknowledged that the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP), meets the requirements under the Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Building on the widely accepted SSAP, the new program, called SSAP-RED, addresses the specific requirements of the RED regulations, including restrictions on land conversion with commitments on auditing, compliance, and reporting. The decision shall apply until June 30, 2021. NAEGA has worked to define and support the SSAP since its conception.  

A copy of the new protocol can be found here.