U.S. Government Actions on Canada thistle

This week, NAEGA was informed that USDA FGIS has asked the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to ask exporters to include a request for Canadian Thistle Seed analysis on all wheat load orders bound for the Republic of Korea and Argentina, as well as all wheat and soybean load orders bound for Vietnam.  WSDA indicates it will do the initial analysis, but any “suspect” thistle seeds will be sent to the APHIS lab in North Carolina for further analysis. 

NAEGA expects to continue discussion with relevant committees on the actions of both U.S. and Vietnam government in this regard.  These developments build upon ongoing actions related to Canada thistle presence. In particular, USDA APHIS has advised NAEGA that:

  • Vietnam will require destruction or reexport of U.S. wheat or soybeans in which seeds of Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) are detected in incoming deliveries arriving March 1, 2019 or later. APHIS will implement a Canada thistle sampling protocol during U.S. export phytosanitary inspection for wheat and soybeans after an expected directive is issued by the Federal Grain Inspection Service. Only consignments in which no Canada thistle seed is detected will be eligible for phytosanitary certification for Vietnam
  • FGIS will issue a new directive by Wednesday, February 27, which will describe the procedures for detecting Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) seeds in wheat and soybeans bound for Vietnam. All wheat and soybean consignments with inspection dates on or after the directive date will require seed analysis. APHIS will issue phytosanitary certificates for wheat and soybeans bound for Vietnam inspected on or after the directive date only when accompanied by a completed export phytosanitary inspection report (e.g. FGIS-921-2) indicating freedom from seed of Canada thistle. The FGIS directive is to be posted at:

NAEGA continues pursue measures based on sound science and consistent with international convention that are least trade distortive.  We are working to support work with VN PPD in order to establish a compliance regime to pre-empt the precautionary and yet-to-be-identified-or-justified visual inspection at import and re-export measures upon port arrival of U.S. cargoes in VN.  

Canada Crops Convention

This week, Gary returns from Montreal, Quebec where he attended the Canada Crops Convention. The convention, hosted by the Canadian Grains Council (CGC) and the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) attracts people from across the grain, oilseed, pulse and special crop value chains to: network, coordinate and improve dialogue; discuss and gain insight into advancements and trends in agriculture; and be inspired to continue a collaborative approach to advance the growth and profitability of Canadian crops.

While in Montreal, Gary also conducted visits with NAEGA member companies and prospective members. A trip report for this travel will be available soon.

IFA Conference

Katy is wrapping up a successful three days in London, UK where she attended and presented at the International Fertilizer Association’s (IFA) Production and International Trade Conference. At this IFA conference, Katy represented the IGTC on a panel called: “Trade tensions on the rise - A look at the potential impacts on agri-food and fertilizer trade.”

A trip report for this travel will be available soon.

IPPC ePhyto Case Studies

The International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) and the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) are seeking industry contributions to “case studies” on the roll out of the IPPC’s ePhyto Solution. In particular, the IPPC is seeking participation from destination countries participating in the hub. Moving forward, the IPPC is seeking, through these case studies, to answer questions such as:

  • How did the importing plant protection and quarantine (PPQ) get in contact with the exporter?
  • How was the customer made aware of the existence of the ePhyto?
  • How did the customer clear customs and who was part of the chain?

If you are interested in participating in a case study, please contact the IGTC secretariat at

DBTG Operational and Technical Seminar

On April 10-12 Ryan will travel to Barcelona, Spain to participate in the Dry Bulk Terminals Group’s (DBTG) Operational and Technical Seminar at the Eurostars Grain Marina Hotel. The seminar, which in part celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the DBTG, will cover topics on the operations and safety of the dry bulk terminals, including regulation, retention and motivation, management and safety and health. In Barcelona, Ryan will also participate in a meeting of the DBTG Executive Committee, which he serves as a member.

A copy of the agenda can be found here.


On May 21-23 Ryan and Katy will travel to Cancun, Mexico to participate in and present at the annual NAEGA-APPAMEX Forum at Secrets The Vine Hotel. During the forum, Ryan and Katy will represent NAEGA and the IGTC and discuss ongoing policy and global issues facing the North American and global grain trade.

U.S. DOC opens new Section 232 Investigation

On Monday, March 4 the U.S. Department of Commerce initiated a Section 232 investigation into whether the quantity or circumstances of titanium sponge imports into the United States threaten to impair the national security. In a letter to the U.S. Department of Defense, which supports the Commerce Department in these investigations, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross noted that “titanium sponge[s have] uses in a wide range of defense applications, from helicopter blades and tank armor to fighter jet airframes and engines.” This is the fourth Section 232 investigation initiated by Commerce. Other completed or ongoing investigations have included: steel, aluminum, uranium and automobiles. More information can be found here.

IPPC ePhyto Project

This week, the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) released informational communications about the ePhyto Solution and how industry can get involved. The ePhyto Solution is the electronic certification system that has three core components: a hub system to facilitate the exchange of phytos; a centralized, web-based system that allows countries with their own system to produce, send and receive phytos; and a harmonized and standardized approach in format, structure and codes for certificate exchange. The communication highlights how companies and governments can get involved in the system, and key findings from recent “case studies.” A copy of the communication can be found here.