Tokyo NAEGA Contract Seminar and Reception – Invitations to follow!

NAEGA has confirmed a date and location for our 2019 Tokyo Contract & Best Practices Seminar.  The Seminar, which will be followed by a reception, will take place at the TKP Shinbashi Conference Center in Tokyo, Japan on November 22, 2019.  We would like to thank our colleagues at the Japan Feed Trade Association (JFTA) for their assistance in securing a venue and agreeing to partner with us for the Seminar again this year.  NAEGA President & CEO Gary Martin, Director of Operations Patrick Hayden and Senior Advisors Sam Bonilla and Andrew Marting are currently scheduled to attend. Invitations will be sent out soon. Mark your calendars now and we look forward to seeing you in Tokyo!

2019 OFAC Symposium

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) will hold it’s 2019 Fall Symposium at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.  OFAC’s annual symposium provides a comprehensive review of OFAC and current U.S. economic sanctions.  The event includes presentations on OFAC regulations as well as targeted reviews of sanctions concerns for new and updated OFAC programs.  In addition to formal presentations, OFAC staff will be available throughout the day to answer questions on issues unique to a number of regulated industries.

An agenda and registration information is available here.

U.S. Grain Standards Act Hearing

NAEGA has responded to written questions from members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, following the July 31, 2019 testimony of NAEGA Grades and Inspection Committee Chair Nick Friant at a hearing on “Perspectives on Reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act”.  The questions, and answers, will be submitted into the official record of the hearing and can be found here.

Vietnam Canadian Thistle Policy

On August 15, 2019, NAEGA and other industry partners received an update on discussions with Vietnam on the Canadian Thistle issue for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR).  Earlier this year, Vietnam’s Plant Protection Department (PPD) began enforcing a zero tolerance for Canadian Thistle seeds, causing most U.S. exporters to stop pursuing soybean and wheat contracts with Vietnam due of the risk of Canadian Thistle detection. NAEGA and other industry partners have urged the U.S. government to work with Vietnam’s PPD to find a solution that allows for U.S. industry to alleviate PPD’s concerns. USTR briefed industry on developments on the Canadian Thistle issues and other discussion with Vietnam.


The NAEGA Special Interest Group (SIG) on the Peru’s self-initiation of a countervailing duty case against U.S. origin yellow corn case received an update on the case on Friday, August 16. U.S. Grains Council (USGC) counsel Deen Kaplan provided the SIG with a discussion of recent developments.  USGC will coordinate the next call for Wednesday, August 28, which will feature an update from U.S. government.

NAEGA is coordinating the Special Interest Group (SIG) in order to facilitate a coordinated industry response. If you are interested in joining the SIG, please contact Gary or Patrick. 

U.S. Delays Implementation of Some China Tariffs

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has announced that a new 10 percent import duty on cellphones, laptops and many other consumers goods made in China will be delayed until December 15, 2019  instead of taking effect on September 1 as originally planned.

The delayed items, which also include video game consoles, toys, computer monitors and footwear and clothing account for more than half of the $300 billion worth of Chinese imports that are part of the latest round of U.S. tariffs. U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the reason for the delay was to avoid punishing U.S. consumers before the winter holiday shopping season.  Items that will still face a 10 percent tariff on September include beef, pork and other food and agricultural items.

Tom Medd – 1944-2019

NAEGA is saddened to report that Tom Medd, former member of the NAEGA Contracts Committee, passed away on August 10.  A veteran of the Vietnam War, Tom worked in the grain industry for over 45 years, starting as manager of the family-owned Norway Spur Grain Company in Oakes, ND and retiring as Senior Vice President of Corporate Risk Management at CHS, Inc. After retirement, Tom continued to work in the industry as a NAEGA arbitration panelist. His family has asked that any memorials be donated to St. John in the Wilderness Church in White Bear Lake, MN or North Oaks Children’s Hospital Guild II.

NAEGA offers its condolences to Tom’s family.


On August 6, 2019,  thanks to the leadership of the  National Grain & Feed Association NAEGA and several colleague trade associations submitted comments in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) proposed revisions to regulations under 7 CFR Part 340 applicable to the movement of certain genetically engineered organisms. The comment noted significant deficiencies and major recommendations to assist in improving Part 340:


  1. Inadequate transparency and implications for the credibility and integrity of U.S. biotechnology review process.
    1. Flawed concept and questionable acceptability of “confirmation letters”.
    1. Implications for disruptions of field trials.
    1. Lack of international acceptance of recognition of APHIS’s regulatory approach.
    1. Need for coordinated action by U.S. Government agencies in promulgating rules and guidance on genome editing and other forms of plant breeding innovation.

Major recommendations:

  1. APHIS is urged  to amend its Part 340 proposed rule to require all technology providers to notify the agency in advance before introducing gene-edited or other plant breeding innovation traits for commercialization – even those within APHIS’s expressly exempted categories – so that the agency can issue an official approval letter for all traits that do not present a plant pest risk.

  2. APHIS should secure international recognition or acceptance of its regulatory approach toward assessing plant pest risk before proceeding to finalize its Part 340 rule.

  3. Third, APHIS should not proceed to issue a final rule on Part 340 until its sister agencies – the U.S. Food & Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – develop and issue guidance and/or rules on how they plan to address genome editing and other plant breeding innovation technologies within their respective areas of jurisdiction under the Coordinated Framework. 

Text of the comments can be found here.

U.S. Grain Standards Act Hearing

On July 31, 2019, NAEGA Grades and Inspection Committee Chair Nick Friant testified at a U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry hearing titled “Perspectives on Reauthorization of the U.S. Grain Standards Act.” in Washington, D.C. Nick’s testimony was coordinated with the NGFA and focussed on aspects of the NAEGA / NGFA ’s policy recommendations for the reauthorization of the U. Act.

More information, including Nick’s written testimony and a link to watch the entire hearing can be found through this link.