Cirsium arvense – Vietnam actions on grain oilseed imports

Cirsium arvense – Vietnam actions on grain oilseed imports

We are continuing efforts to address non- tariff trade barriers in several markets.  Recently NAEGA and other stakeholders have placed focus on actions by Vietnam related to the presence Cirsium arvense (commonly referred to as Canada Thistle or Creeping Thistle) plant parts in imported grain.  The Grades and Inspections Committee continues to seek input to support global  outreach and intelligence gathering related to sound science and best commercial and official practice. 

Communication with U.S. government and stakeholders has been a priority last few days.  In advance of  bi-lateral technical talks between Vietnam and U.S. Government officials on January 23 and 24, NAEGA advised U.S. government and a group of stakeholders organized by USDA as follows:  

We find that a thorough examination and understanding of Vietnam’s pathway analysis, sampling and inspection for grain and oilseed shipments related to the concern over a presence Cirsium arvense / Canada Thistle (CT) seed in grain and oilseed imports is warranted and very much needed so we can better understand how to respond to the concern.

HOWEVER given the lack of understanding and time to consider new information we became of aware at the meeting on Tuesday, we believe that APHIS should take no new action until we adequately consult on possible responses and have a common understanding of what we might gain and the risks related to those possible responses. Given the prevailing circumstances, this means giving all relevant stakeholders the opportunity to be included in the related consultations AND such consultations can begin no sooner than the week of Jan. 28, 2019 and must include a complete reporting on findings from the APHIS Plant Health bilateral with Vietnam.

The principles that need to be considered include: 

  • As we currently understand it, the approach Vietnam is taking is an impractical “zero tolerance” approach and is a concern for many origins. The U.S. response will have global ramifications that impact trade of multiple commodities impacted by all sorts of plant health related measures.
  • Origin final determination to provide for consignment discharge is essential. This means options to allow for commercial partners or even shipment specific management that is based on origin final determination of whether the consignment is allowed to enter and with post shipment and arrival chain of custody-based responsibility for any needed mitigation.  
  • Whatever is considered should provide for adequate time to be implemented, predictability, and commercial flexibility. It should be compliant with sound science, provide for a least trade distortive approach and apply relevant best practices including ISPMs. We need to insist on ISPM compliance, adhering to best practices and holding authorities accountable.

A USDA report following the first day of APHIS Plant Health bilateral with Vietnam, included assurances that the NAEGA advice above and during several related meetings was being taken into full consideration.  USDA has also provided some of the detailed information from the bilateral, including:

  • Vietnam’s PPD provided a summary of U.S. origin shipments including PPD’s analysis of Canada Thistle (CT) presence in these shipments. PPD provided information on shipments from other countries that PPD has rejected due to the presence of CT since PPD’s regulations went into effect on January 1, 2019.
  • USDA disagreed with PPD’s position stating CT can establish populations in Vietnam. USDA maintained our position that all phytosanitary regulations must be based on sound science, and USDA requested PPD provide scientific evidence supporting their position that CT populations can become established in Vietnam. USDA also stated that end use processing mitigates the viability of any CT seed, and therefore, provides the basis for continued trade in accordance with IPPC or ISPM provisions. PPD rejected all of these assertions and communicated their experiences with other mitigation efforts from port to processing made such protocols ineffective and cost prohibitive.

Fortunately, while a more permanent solution in line with NAEGA advice has yet to be identified, the APHIS Plant Health bilateral with Vietnam and related work have identified opportunity to provide for addressing Vietnam import requirements and hopefully continued exports of grain and oilseeds to Vietnam.   Please contact Gary if you would like to discuss or for more information or have advice.