agricultural trade

Biden signs ocean shipping reforms into law

Ocean carriers will be barred from unreasonably refusing to load U.S. cargo, a practice that blossomed during pandemic-related port congestion, under a bill signed into law by President Biden on Thursday.

Vilsack adviser nominated for U.S. chief agricultural negotiator

In his second attempt to fill the post, President Biden nominated Doug McKalip on Wednesday to be the U.S. chief agricultural negotiator, working with U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai. The post has been vacant since Biden took office, to the increasing dismay of farm-state lawmakers and the agribusiness sector.

Record U.S. farm exports amid global turmoil

The United States will export a record $191 billion worth of agricultural products this fiscal year as the world scrambles to replace the corn, wheat, and vegetable oil it would normally get from Russia and Ukraine, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. It would be the second year in a row of record-high farm exports.

Biden nominates two for USDA undersecretary posts

President Biden selected two veterans of U.S. agriculture and nutrition policy for sub-cabinet positions at the Agriculture Department. Stacy Dean was nominated to serve as undersecretary for nutrition and Alexis Taylor to be undersecretary for trade, announced the White House. Dean has been the senior official overseeing USDA nutrition programs since Biden took office and Taylor has been Oregon's agriculture director since December 2016.

U.S. food prices insulated from warfare in Ukraine, says Vilsack

The Russian invasion of Ukraine will have, at most, a muted effect on U.S. food prices, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. “We have tremendous (domestic) production capacity,” he told reporters attending the USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum.

U.S. farm exports to set a record, but not as big as expected

China is buying less U.S. crops and livestock than expected, particularly soybeans, and America's ag exports are feeling the pinch. Sales are forecast at a highest-ever $175.5 billion this fiscal year, said the USDA on Tuesday, but just like the record set last year, the crest was not as high as it looked in the summer.

High prices, strong demand mean back-to-back records for U.S. ag exports

Propelled by the global economic recovery from the pandemic, U.S. farm exports will set back-to-back sales records this fiscal year and in the new year beginning on Oct. 1, the government forecast on Thursday. China would account for $1 of every $5 in exports during the two-year span, with annual purchases running more than $10 billion above its previous record, set in 2014.

Whitley promoted to FAS administrator

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack named Daniel Whitley to be administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service on Wednesday. He has been the acting chief of the agency, which tracks food and agriculture issues worldwide and promotes U.S. goods.

Transatlantic truce on aircraft benefits U.S. farm exports

President Biden announced a breakthrough in the long-running U.S.-EU dispute over airliner subsidies on Tuesday: Suspension of retaliatory tariffs on each other's products for five years beginning in July. The overall $4 billion in EU tariffs included duties on $1.4 billion of U.S. ag exports from frozen seafood to cotton, wheat, tobacco and alcohol.

U.S. demands trade panel ruling in dairy dispute with Canada

The Biden administration elevated a long-simmering dispute over Canadian dairy quotas on Tuesday by calling for a three-judge panel to decide the matter under USMCA rules. It was the first time that a dispute settlement panel was invoked under the trade agreement that took effect last July 1.

Looking beneath the surface, USDA paper gauges pandemic’s impact

Global trade in food and agricultural products grew by 3.5 percent last year, according to the WTO, leading to descriptions that the sector was robust and resilient in the face of the worst pandemic in a century. However, a USDA working paper says the impact of the coronavirus was obscured by such factors as the de-escalation of the Sino-U.S. trade war.

Dairy likely to highlight USMCA consultations

Trade ministers from Canada, Mexico and the United States are scheduled to confer digitally on Monday and Tuesday in the first meeting of the USMCA's Fair Trade Commission, with dairy expected to be the hot topic. U.S. dairy groups called on Sunday for the Biden administration to escalate an ongoing complaint against Canadian dairy quotas unless this week's meeting produces results.

Trade agency approves tariffs on imported phosphate fertilizer

U.S. fertilizer companies are "materially injured" by imports of subsidized phosphate fertilizer from Russia and Morocco, said the U.S. International Trade Commission on Thursday, so it approved, on a 4-1 vote, the imposition of countervailing duties on the imports.

Weaker dollar will help meat and dairy but not cotton exports, says CoBank

U.S. farm exports are forecast by the USDA to hit a record $157 billion this year, aided by a weaker dollar against many foreign currencies. Agricultural lender CoBank says the impact will be somewhat uneven, with meat and dairy products benefiting the most.

China gobbles a larger share of world meat trade

The world's most populous country is already its largest meat-importing nation and "looks like it's poised to play a major role in meat markets in the future," said USDA senior economist Fred Gale on Thursday. China's imports of beef, pork, and poultry are projected by the USDA to grow 29 percent in the coming decade.

As ag embraces climate mitigation, trade may benefit — researchers

The Biden administration's plan to enlist American agriculture in mitigating climate change through cover crops and carbon trading could pay dividends in another field entirely — negotiations for freer agriculture trade, said an American Enterprise Institute paper on Tuesday. The United States would be in a stronger bargaining position if it shifted some of its farm subsidies into .s.o-called green box programs that are deemed not to distort international trade, said the paper written by three farm policy experts.

Largest corn sale to China since July

Private exporters reported the largest sale of U.S.-grown corn to Chinese buyers in nearly six months, with 1.36 million tonnes for delivery this marketing year, said the USDA on Tuesday. It was only the fifth time since 1994 that corn sales to China exceeded 1 million tonnes in a single day.

Farm sector rebounding but may need more aid, says Duvall

The farm economy, battered since 2018 by a trade war and a pandemic, is rallying, though it is too early to declare a return to prosperity, said the president of the largest U.S. farm organization on Thursday, reserving judgment on whether more stopgap federal aid will be needed.

Tariff-rate quotas are more likely to stay than be negotiated away

The Uruguay Round of trade negotiations, concluded in 1994, created tariff-rate quotas for agriculture with the expectation that they would be a stepping stone to freer trade. Instead, most of those TRQs are still in place and new WTO members have added 43 more, says a report by three USDA researchers.

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