On May 22-24 Ryan travelled to Cancun, Mexico to attend the 26th Annual NAEGA-APPAMEX Forum at the Hotel Secrets the Vine. During the forum, Ryan represented NAEGA and IGTC policy positions before nearly 160 participants, including representatives of the Mexican feed industry association CONAFAB. Mr. Olson also met with representatives of the Secretariat of Agriculture, Livestock and Rural Development (SAGARPA) and the National Service for Agrifood Health, Safety and Quality (SENASICA). On Friday, May 24 Mr. Olson presented before the general session on Leading Trade Policies in the Global Economy. Also, on Friday, Katy Lee, Secretariat of the International Grain Trade Coalition (IGTC) presented virtually from Brussels on IGTC policy priorities and multilateral regulatory issues.

A copy of Katy and Ryan’s presentations can be found here and here.

IPPC CPM Trip Report

A trip report is now available for Katy Lee’s travel to Rome, Italy for the IPPC Commission on Phytosanitary Measures (CPM).  Activities during this mission included:

  • Attendance at the IPPC CPM where discussion of electronic phytosanitary certificates (ePhyto) reached 500 delegates.
  • Presentation by the IGTC and on behalf of the Chair of the ePhyto Industry Advisory Group (IAG) on industry case studies from the initial phase of the ePhyto Solution.
  • Representation of NAEGA and IGTC priorities before the CPM and member government representatives.

The full trip report can be found here.

U.S. OFAC Terrorist Assets Report

On May 29, 2019, OFAC released the 2018 Terrorist Assets Report. The 2018 Terrorist Assets report is an annual report provided to Congress outlining the nature and extent of assets held in the U.S. by terrorism-supporting countries and organizations engaged in international terrorism.

Terrorist organizations such as al’Qai’da (AQ) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are examples of terrorist organizations mentioned in the report.

Countries labeled as “state-sponsors of terrorism” and which may have trade restrictions include:

  • Iran
  • Sudan
  • Syria
  • North Korea

The full report can be found here.

U.S. Treasury Foreign Exchange Policy Report

On May 28, 2019, the U.S. Department of the Treasury delivered to Congress the semiannual Report on Macroeconomic and Foreign Exchange Policies of Major Trading Partners of the United States. Treasury reviewed and assessed in this report the policies of an expanded set of 21 major U.S. trading partners.  Additionally, Treasury revised and updated the thresholds it uses to assess where unfair currency practices or imbalanced macroeconomic policies may be emerging.

Treasury found that nine major trading partners continue to warrant placement on Treasury’s “Monitoring List” of major trading partners that merit close attention to their currency practices:  China, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam.

The full report can be accessed here.

U.S., EU and Japan Trade Ministers Meeting

Ambassador Robert E. Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative; Mrs. Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Trade; and Mr. Hiroshige Seko, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, met in Paris on May 23, 2019 to discuss shared objectives to address non market-oriented policies and practices of third countries that lead to create unfair competitive conditions for their workers and businesses.

During the meeting the ministers reiterated their concerns and agreed to deepen cooperation in the following areas:

  1. Market-oriented conditions;
  2. Forced technology transfer policies and practices;
  3. Industrial subsides and state-owned enterprises;
  4. WTO reform;
  5. and digital trade and e-commerce.

The Ministers also voiced concerns over industrial subsidies and third parties’ developing State Enterprises into national champions, disrupting market-oriented trade and confirmed that market-oriented conditions are fundamental to a fair, mutually advantageous global trading system. Additionally, the Ministers welcomed progress made in discussions on text-based work on increasing transparency, identifying harmful subsides that merit stricter treatment and ensuring that appropriate benchmarks can be used. Ministers instructed their staff to continue efforts to finalize trilateral text-based work on this issue and to engage with other key WTO Members to strengthen industrial subsidies rules to address market distortions.

The full statement on the meeting can be found here.

Japan GE Food Labeling

The Japanese Government has finalized a genetically engineered (GE) food labeling regulation that is scheduled to come into effect in 2023. The new regulation establishes a new definition for “non-GE” labeling, which will be allowed only when GE elements are not detectable. Japan’s current labeling system allows for a product containing up to five percent of GE components, which are unintentionally comingled into the product, to be labeled as “non-GE.” As a result of concern that this was misleading, regulators have agreed to create new labeling language for Identity Preserved (IP) products containing up to five percent of unintentional commingled GE components and a zero percent threshold for voluntary “non-GE” labeling.

A copy of the GAIN report with more details on these changes is available here.

USMCA Statement of Administrative Action

On Thursday, May 31 the U.S. Trade Representative released its draft statement of administrative action to Congressional leadership on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The draft statement provides an outline for further discussion with Congress on issues related to the USMCA as Congress considers implementing legislation. The release of the draft statement kicks off a 30 days time period after which Congress could begin to consider and act upon implementing legislation. After these 30 days, Congress could pass USMCA in as little as 90 days.

A copy of the draft statement can be found here.