New Zealander elected as chair of WTO ag-trade negotiations
Agricultural negotiators at WTO elected Vangelis Vitalis, the New Zealand ambassador, to chair ag-trade discussions, the WTO announced.
Canadian ag groups stand by supply management
Farm groups in Canada suspect they will face unfair competition from U.S. dairy and poultry producers if the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement opens the border to U.S. imports, says Commodity News Service, based in Winnipeg.
U.S. and Japan agree on agricultural market openings
Trade officials from United States and Japan are to meet in Tokyo “to complete a bilateral agreement over access to Japan’s automotive and agricultural markets,” said the New York Times. The long-sought agreement is part of the wrap-up of the mammoth Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact that …
House passes CFTC reauthorization despite veto threat
On a party-line rollcall of 246-171, the House voted to send the Senate a bill to reauthorize the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. It would create new safeguards for customers' money and ease regulation of so-called end users.The customer safeguards are a reaction to the collapse of two large trading houses and are intended to preserve customers' accounts during financial upheavals.
U.S.-Canada tensions rise over agricultural trade
The United States is frustrated with Canada "because it believes Ottawa promised greater foreign access to its dairy and poultry markets as a condition of joining" the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks, "and yet has offered nothing," reports the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Future of U.S.-Cuba ag and food trade is filled with “ifs”
Larger U.S. food and ag exports to Cuba are not assured despite President Obama's decision to normalize diplomatic relations and take steps to facilitate the sales, which must be made on the basis of cash in advance, say USDA economists.
Embassy pact fuels hope for end of U.S. embargo on Cuba
A U.S. agricultural coalition said it hoped for an end to the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba now that the nations agreed to re-open embassies in each other's capital.
Brazil is poised to expand ag exports, says global report
Brazil, second to the United States in food and agricultural exports, "is poised to become the foremost supplier in meeting additional global demand, mostly originating from Asia," says the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2015-2024.
Ag panel members help stall fast-track package
President Obama's request for fast-track authority on trade agreements was in limbo after the House voted 302-126 against one of the elements of the package. That's a ratio of more than 2-to-1.
Crucial House vote near on repeal of meat-origin labeling
The House could vote as early as Wednesday on repeal of mandatory country-of-origin labels (COOL) on packages of beef, pork and chicken sold in grocery stores. Meatpackers and the largest cattle and hog groups, who opposed COOL from the start, have their best chance in years to get rid of it. The World Trade Organization has issued a final ruling against COOL as a barrier to imported meat and livestock.
South Africa to resume imports of U.S. chicken meat
South Africa to resume imports of U.S. bone-in chicken meat, "initially 65,000 tonnes a year, under an agreement reach by the two countries," said Reuters.
India unfairly bars U.S. poultry and hogs, rules WTO
A WTO appellate panel ruled that India violated fair-trade rules by barring imports of U.S. poultry, eggs and hogs as a way to prevent entry of avian influenza. The poultry industry estimated sales of poultry to India could rise quickly to $300 million a year once India's restrictions are removed. The case began eight years ago and the United States won a first-round WTO ruling in 2014. The United States said India excluded U.S. products in order to give a leg up to its own farmers.
Farm subsidies soar in developing countries, panel hears
Major agricultural countries in the developing world, such as China, India and Brazil, are increasing their farm subsidies and displacing U.S. ag exports on the world market, two trade analysts told the House Agriculture Committee. "The United States, as the biggest agricultural exporter, suffers most from these distortions," said Craig Thorn of DTB Associates. U.S. negotiators have raised the issue at WTO discussions.
Financial struggle as farmers face tighter margins
Growers across the country face tighter margins due to the combination of high production costs and sharply lower commodity prices, a panel of farmers told a House Agriculture subcommittee. They asked for action against farm subsidies overseas and for continued federal support at home. "For many Texas producers, there is no room for error" this year, said Steve Verrett, a cotton grower and executive vice president of Plains Cotton Growers in Lubbock, Texas.
Trade groups push for repeal of U.S. meat-origin labels
Two major trade groups, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers, told lawmakers that repeal is the only option available in a losing battle over the so-called country of origin labeling (COOL) law. The World Trade Organization has ruled three times against COOL, which requires labels on packages of beef, chicken and pork saying where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.
Japan lowers its target for food self-sufficiency
Japan, the largest Asian importer of corn, beef and pork, has lowered its target for food self-sufficiency to 45 percent by 2026 from the current 50 percent, said Bloomberg.
What can Cuba sell U.S.? Tobacco, seafood, produce
The U.S. farm sector usually discusses Cuba in terms of possible growth in sales to a nearby market, although trade is limited by the trade embargo enacted during the Cold War.
WTO ruling on U.S. meat-label rules expected in mid-May
A WTO panel expects to rule by mid-May on whether the United States violates global trade rules with its requirement for packages of beef, pork and poultry to say where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered, said AGCanada.com.