News & Events
By Andrew Conner, U.S. Grains Council Manager of Global Biotechnology
While the United States and Colombia will both benefit from the ratification of the free trade pact, a proposed biotech regulation has the potential to put the country's corn imports from all sources, including the U.S., at risk. The Council is actively working to help Colombian stakeholders resolve this problem.
Sometimes there is a disconnect between domestic and international agricultural policy, and it is important to note that this problem is not unique to the United States. Negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) between the United States and the EU may begin as early as June. Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership are well advanced. At the same time, both the United States and EU are engaged in review and revision of domestic farm legislation that may have significant implications for pending and projected trade agreements.
Historically a major market for U.S. feed grains, the EU in recent years has developed a web of non-tariff trade barriers that has greatly reduced U.S. market share. The current Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) initiative offers a welcome opportunity to address some of these longstanding concerns.
The U.S. Grains Council participated this week in the "U.S.-EU High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum" and will continue to be actively engaged in discussions to ensure that agricultural trade issues are constructively addressed in any T-TIP agreement.
By Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa
By Clover Chang, U.S. Grains Council Director in Taiwan
In 2009, the Taiwanese Food Industry Research and Development Institute (FIRDI), sent the Department of Health (DOH) a draft policy for addressing instances of Low-Level Presence (LLP) of unapproved biotech events.. Currently, Taiwan has a zero tolerance policy that, if enforced, would prevent a shipment from entering Taiwan if trace amounts of an unapproved biotech event were detected.
Keynoting the 2012 Feed Latina Congress in Punta del Este, Uruguay, U.S. Grains Council Vice Chairman Julius Schaaf emphasized that competition does not preclude cooperation on common priorities. For U.S. and South American feed grains producers, such issues include market access, greater understanding and acceptance of food security through trade, and increased international acceptance of biotechnology.
USGC Senior Regional Director Cary Sifferath gives his perspective on the MIR-612 approval in the European Union and the potential impact on U.S. coarse grains co-product shipments to the region. "Approval of the event has opened the trade [of U.S. corn gluten feed and distiller's dried grains with solubles]," said Sifferath. Within a few days of the approval, a Portuguese buyer who attended the Export Exchange conference in Minneapolis last week indicated purchases of corn gluten feed and soybean meal.
The U.S. Grains Council is pleased to learn of the official approval of the Syngenta corn variety MIR 162 Agrisure Vipterra in the European Union, opening the way for exports of U.S. corn co-products, including distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) and corn gluten feed (CGF). The long-delayed decision came after years of industry leadership and efforts, especially those partners of the Council in the EU, including COCERAL, a grain trade association, FEFAC, a feed millers association, and the Irish Feed Millers Association.
By Byong Ryol Min, U.S. Grains Council Director in Korea
The U.S. Grains Council brought a team of Korean biosafety/risk evaluators to the United States from August 16-26 to review how agricultural biotechnology is developed, tested, approved, grown and utilized within the United States, with a special reference to U.S. biotech regulatory system and safety/risk assessment process.
The U.S. Grains Council's strategic outreach to China continues to pay dividends. Last week, the Council had the privilege of hosting a delegation of high-level think tank officials from China on a corn-focused tour across the United States. The trip served as an opportunity for those working on Chinese agricultural development and policy to view U.S. corn and value-added produced systems first hand. The team also was able to assess the impact of the current drought and deepen its appreciation of the productive potential of biotechnology.