News & Events
U.S. corn quality and biotechnology issues highlighted the discussion today as a Chinese delegation of provincial State Administration of Grain (SAG) officials visited the U.S. Grains Council's Washington, D.C., headquarters. Council board member Chip Councell of the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, was able to join the meeting and provide a farmer's perspective on the practical and environmental benefits of biotechnology.
In its December World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture pegged China to import 7-million metric tons (276 million bushels) of U.S. corn during the current marketing year. Now - it doesn't look like China will meet those initial expectations due to a dilemma causing disruption in the marketplace.
Japan has a well-developed regulatory system for biotechnology but its biotech event approval system is challenged to keep current with the many new biotech events posed in the near future. While this challenge is not unique to Japan, the volume of U.S. corn exports to Japan adds a special urgency to the need to avoid disruption to the trade. Japan imports 10-15 million metric tons (393.7-590.5 million bushels) of U.S. corn a year, which means that both Japanese end-users and U.S.
Japan has a well-developed regulatory system for biotechnology and food safety approvals. The U.S. Grains Council works closely with Japan's regulatory government agencies to ensure the United States remains in compliance and to help keep the industry up-to-date on U.S. regulatory processes. While biotechnology products are proven safe and appropriately labeled in Japan's food system, some consumers remain hesitant, as they do not fully understand the intricate details behind the safety system.
The timing was coincidence. In London for the 2013 International Grains Council (IGC) Grains Conference, U.S. Grains Council Chairman Julius Schaaf and President and CEO Tom Sleight were greeted by an unexpected headline in the London Independent previewing a major policy address endorsing agricultural biotechnology.
The speech, delivered by UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson, was ultimately delivered on June 20, and may be read in its entirety here:
The United States and the European Union announced the formal launch of the U.S.-EU negotiations on a trade and investment agreement during a G-8 meeting this week in Northern Ireland. Formal negotiations on the Transatlantic and Trade Investment Partnership (T-TIP) will begin the week of July 8 in Washington, D.C. The negotiations strive for an ambitious, comprehensive and high-standard agreement.
"The major corn exporting countries have a tremendous opportunity," said U.S. Grains Council Chairman Don Fast, "and the formation this week of the MAIZALL Alliance is a big step towards turning that opportunity into a reality."
A memorandum of understanding was signed Tuesday to form an alliance of North and South American maize producers. U.S. Grains Council President and CEO Tom Sleight says the U.S. Grains Council, National Corn Growers Association, MAIZAR and ABRAMILHO will function under the name MAIZALL - The International Maize Alliance.
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC), along with the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), MAIZAR, representing Argentina producers and the maize supply chain and ABRAMILHO (Brazilian Association of Corn Producers) today signed a memorandum of understanding to form an alliance of North and South American maize (corn) producers to collaborate on a global basis to address key issues concerning food security, biotechnology, stewardship, trade and producer image. The organizations will function under the name, MAIZALL—The International Maize Alliance.
By Adel Yusupov, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director for Southeast Asia
Fresh from an exploratory U.S. Grains Council trip to India last month, the Council has taken another significant step in further developing the agricultural relationship between the United States and India. Together with the Compound Feed Manufacturers Association (CLFMA) of India, the Council has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly work towards growth and development of the commercial poultry and livestock sectors in India.