U.S. Government Transition

U.S. Government Transition

NAEGA Continues to monitor developments in the U.S. Government transition, including nominations by the President-elect. Nominations hearings will begin in the U.S. Senate this week, and so far, NAEGA understands the following nominations have been made: 
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U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade

NAEGA is continuing and expanding its work to lead  a broad-based group of industry stakeholders in US Food and Agriculture Trade. As part of this effort, NAEGA President and CEO Gary Martin, along with Bill Westman, Vice-President of the North American Meat Institute, convened a U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade at Arent Fox, LLP on Thursday, January 5. The Dialog works to inform the broadest set of stakeholders as possible on all policy specific efforts and relevant information while attempting to engage with Government officials whenever welcome, possible and practical

 

At the Dialogue session, former NAEGA outside counsel Marc Flieschacker led a panel of Arent Fox attorneys including Partner Matt Clark, , Former Congressman Phil English and Keith Huffman that provide information and perspective on the  changes that the new administration and Congress could immediately make to U.S. trade policy, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Following the Arent Fox team we heard about how the US Congress plans to proceed from Everett Eissenstat, Chief International Trade Counsel at the Senate Finance Committee, and Steve Claeys, Trade Counsel at the House Ways and Means Committee.

 

Dialogue participants considered a path forward for the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade in 2017. Many expressed interest in supporting trade in coordination with the Dialog, including addressing potential policy changes in the Asia/Pacific and North America directly with the Trump Administration.

 

Letter to the Transition Team

Gary and Bill have sent a letter to President-elect Trump requesting a listening session to convey information on why U.S. Agriculture international trade is critically important, has done very well, can be expected to create even more jobs and economic growth and needs to be considered before new policy actions are taken.  

 

If a listening session can be scheduled with the transition team, Gary and Bill will gather feedback amongst the Trade Dialogue and act on a response. Meanwhile, NAEGA and members of the Dialogue are working closely with like-minded stakeholders on communication efforts regarding trade policy in North America and the Asia-Pacific.

 

Cuba

In additions to efforts related to the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade, NAEGA is monitoring the U.S. government transition related to relations with Cuba. Much of President Obama’s efforts to liberalize trade and investment with Cuba over the last two years have occurred via executive action, making them liable for immediate repeal by the Administration of President-elect Trump. These include travel, diplomatic relations, and administrative coordination.

 

In particular, NAEGA is monitoring how changes to the “180-day rule” administered by the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) could affect members. The 180-day Rule states that any vessel that enters Cuba for the purpose of trading goods and/or services of any kind is prohibited from entering the U.S. to load or unload freight for 180 days after leaving Cuba. However, agricultural commodities currently enjoy an exception to the rule under Cuba Asset Control Regulations (CACR). Removal of the exception by the future administration could have direct impact on members, particularly those scheduling vessels that have recently called on Cuba in the first few months of the new administration. An announcement from the Obama Administration regarding the 180 Day rule is rumored to be coming before January 20.

 

For more information on these regulations, please visit the OFAC website or refer to these FAQs on Cuba sanctions.