China – U.S Trade Dispute

On August 1, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump announced new tariffs on Chinese goods would come into effect on September 1st. The tariffs would be levied at an initial rate of 10 percent on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese goods that had not been included in the previous rounds of tariffs.

On August 5th, China retaliated by instructing their companies to suspend purchases of U.S. agricultural goods. Simultaneously, the Chinese renminbi breached a price level not seen since 2008. This event prompted the U.S. Department of Treasury to formally declare China a currency manipulator, further escalating tensions between the two nations.

Despite the actions taken by both countries, President Trump described the latest round of talks, held in Beijing the week of July 29, as “constructive”. Additionally, U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators are still expected to meet for a new round of talks in September.

U.S. Anti-Dumping Duties on Mexican Tomatoes

On July 26, 2019, the U.S. Commerce Department set a preliminary anti-dumping duty of 25.28 percent on imports of close to $2 billion worth of Mexican tomatoes. The action came as the department is engaged in talks with Mexican growers on a new agreement that would suspend the duties in exchange for voluntary restrictions on the tomato trade.  The Department has also proposed 100 percent inspections of incoming shipments of imported tomatoes from Mexico.

Mexican tomato growers, unhappy with the U.S.’s actions, are now calling on the Mexican government to begin inspecting all imports of U.S. farm goods. Mexican Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development Victor Villalobos has raised the possibility of increasing inspections of U.S. agricultural products entering Mexico unless the U.S. drops it’s  proposal requiring inspections of all Mexican tomatoes coming into the United States.

The U.S.  Department of Commerce is expected to issue its final anti-dumping duty determination by Sept. 19 unless the two sides have agreed on a new suspension agreement.

U.S. -EU Agreement on Beef Exports

On August 2, 2019, the U.S. and the European Union signed a deal to allow more American beef into the EU. The agreement was approved by EU countries earlier this month and gives U.S. importers a larger share of the 45,000 tons of beef allowed into the EU every year.

Once the deal is fully implemented, duty-free American beef exports to the EU are expected to rise from $150 million annually to $420 million, according to data released by the U.S. trade office.

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.


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.