US-EU Regulatory Issues: T-TIP Opens Door for Renewed Discussion

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.

US-EU FTA Provides Pathway to Address Ongoing Biotech Concerns

By Floyd Gaibler, U.S. Grains Council Director of Trade Policy and Biotechnology
The office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has officially notified Congress of its intent to enter into negotiations with the European Union (EU) on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. This is an opportunity to elevate ongoing discussions on a number of significant longstanding issues, among the most important of which is timely approval of genetically modified (GM) events in crops destined for export.

Audio and Video Interviews on Agrisure Vipterra MIR 162 Approval in the EU

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.

EU Approves MIR 162, Opens Doors to US DDGS, CGF

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.

Drought Boosting Spain’s Import Projections

By Cary B. Sifferath, USGC Regional Director in the Mediterranean and Africa

Dry conditions this winter and spring have reduced Spain’s domestic grains production, and Spanish feed millers report that that Spain may need to boost imports by at least 3 million metric tons above its typical level of around 10 million tons. This is an estimate for all grains including milling wheat, feed wheat, barley, sorghum, and corn. Spanish feeders expressed interest especially in U.S. new crop sorghum, having assessed that old crop supplies remain excessively tight.

Sigfrido Romeo Joins USGC as EU Technical Consultant

Sigfrido Romeo

The U.S. Grains Council appointed Sigfrido Romeo as the new technical consultant focused on European Union policy issues. Romeo will represent the concerns and priorities of the Council with various EU policymakers and regulatory authorities on biotechnology, trade and issues relevant to the ongoing dialogue on sustainability of the U.S. food production system.

Export Competition Updates: Ukraine, Kazakhstan, South Africa

Ukraine exported just over 2 million metric tons of grain in December, of which about 1.6 million metric tons (63 million bushels) was corn, according to U.S. Grains Council sources. The leading corn importers were Egypt, 252,000 tons; Spain, 350,000 tons; and Iran, 160,000 tons. Egypt, Tunisia and Spain took most of Ukraine’s wheat shipments.

Year-Long Council Effort Yields EU Success

The U.S. Grains Council and the United Sorghum Checkoff Program have succeeded in a year-long effort to resolve an obsolete provision in European Union (EU) tariff regulations that has hindered U.S. sorghum sales to Europe.

“The Council has been very active and really pushed the envelope to make this happen,” said Florentino Lopez, executive director of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program. “We are very happy about what has been accomplished and the strong stand the Council has taken to move things forward.”

USDA Highlights Council Program

The USDA published a blog entry on the U.S. Grains Council’s “reverse mission” to Spain and Portugal in March, which capitalized on progress made in January when an Iberian buyers team visited Kansas and Texas to explore U.S. sorghum production. The visit, organized in partnership with the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, exposed representatives of 12 large grain-using entities, including swine, poultry and beef producers, to the advantages of using U.S. sorghum.

Council Creates Opportunity for Central American, Caribbean Brewers to Source US Barley Malt

With intense competition in barley malt and malting barley sales coming from European and Canadian exporters, the United States faces several barriers to exporting barley to Central American and Caribbean breweries who rely heavily on imported product.

Likewise, independent breweries in the region have started looking for ways to better manage their price risk when purchasing malt as global supplies continue to tighten.

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