The government of Tanzania removed a cost-prohibitive value-added tax on the sale of animal feed earlier this summer in part thanks to the combined efforts of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and the Tanzanian poultry and animal feed industry associations.
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced this week it would begin a reexamination of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS) by formally notifying South Korea the United States will call a special joint committee meeting to discuss the trade agreement and consider changes.
Recent moves to again harden the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba will block near-term sales of U.S. feed grains as well as stymie long-term market development. Despite these factors, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) plans to continue its long-time work in Cuba, driven by members’ core belief that trade is critical for improving U.S.-Cuba relations and the welfare of the Cuban people.
With the swearing in of Robert Lighthizer as the new U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on Monday, the United States has its chief negotiator in place to help protect and expand markets for U.S. feed grains and value-added products around the world.
On Thursday, the Trump Administration formally informed Congress it intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Below is a statement from Chip Councell, chairman of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and a farmer on the Eastern Shore of Maryland:
U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Sonny Perdue announced Thursday the Department’s plan to reorganize, including to create an undersecretary-level position focused on trade and foreign agricultural affairs.
Recent events in foreign policy and the ongoing conversation about the value of U.S. trade agreements have put a spotlight on South Korea as a close U.S. ally and an important customer for U.S. products, including grains.
South Korea is now the fifth largest market for U.S. agricultural exports, totaling $6.2 billion in purchases in 2016. The country was the fourth largest importer of both U.S. corn and distiller's dried grains with solubles (DDGS) as well as the seventh largest importer of U.S. barley in the 2015/2016 marketing year.
The Canadian government has set an aggressive goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 megatons by 2030 - and U.S. ethanol is a proven and economically viable tool to help achieve that objective. A U.S. ethanol industry mission delivered that message and more information about the benefits of U.S. ethanol during a mission to Canada in April, followed by formal comments on the proposed Canadian Clean Fuel Standard.
U.S. grain farmers are voicing their support and appreciation for trade with Mexico, a message U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Chairman and Maryland farmer Chip Councell carried with him when he traveled to meet with Mexican buyers in March.
“If you look at the logistics of Mexico, no other country can replace it as a customer for U.S. grain,” Councell said this week to the National Association of Farm Broadcasting about the mission. “The logistics by rail, truck and boat give the United States such a huge advantage.”
The Council’s trade policy initiatives aim to identify and correct barriers to U.S. feed grains exports, provide information to domestic stakeholders about U.S. barriers to expanded trade and engage in trade policy negotiations that can expand access for U.S. grain products.