News & Events
By Andrew Conner, USGC Manager of Global Biotechnology
Japanese government biotechnology regulatory officials, like other Japanese central government officers, rotate every two to four years. Keeping new officials fully informed of the latest issues in biotech is a constant challenge. Last week, in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the U.S. Grains Council hosted a team of Japanese regulators, who visited the United States to learn about the scientific risk assessment of U.S. agricultural biotech products and the production and trade of such products.
By Cary Sifferath, USGC Regional Director in the Mediterranean and Africa
Corn oil is a preferred product across much of the Middle East and North Africa, and Tunisia -- a major producer and exporter of olive oil -- has emerged as the top regional market for U.S. corn oil in calendar year 2011. That is a big jump for Tunisia, which has traditionally been the number three market for U.S. corn oil exports; Tunisia more than doubled its imports over 2010.
The May 15 implementation date for the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is fast approaching, and several key details are yet to be settled. Among these is the development of a mechanism for administering the FTA’s tariff rate quotas (TRQ’s) for U.S. corn and grain sorghum. A USGC team met last week in Bogota with U.S. embassy officials and industry officials to further efforts to finalize the details.
The U.S. Grains Council is strengthening staff resources to deal with evolving world biotechnology issues, according to Rebecca Bratter, USGC vice president of international operations.
The Council has created a new manager of biotechnology position, reporting to Bratter, at its headquarters staff, and Andrew S. Conner has been named to the post.
Representatives from the Korean Environmental and Food Safety Risk Assessment Committees spent the last week in Washington, D.C., Iowa and Washington to gain insight in biotechnology development, regulation and use in the United States. The respective committees play a critical role in the review of scientific data provided by technology developers to the Korean Government for approval of biotechnology products. The U.S. Grains Council-organized mission offered valuable exchanges of information between the team and U.S.
A team of experts from Japan’s Food Safety Commission returned to Tokyo with a better understanding of the U.S. biotechnology regulatory system, reports Tommy Hamamoto, U.S. Grains Council director in Japan.
“Japanese regulators generally make good decisions based on sound science,” said Hamamoto. “The Council mission to the United States helped this group make the connection between regulatory decisions and the realities of commercial seed and grain production.
“Biotechnology has helped me produce more corn more consistently,” said Nebraska farmer Brandon Hunnicutt. “It has helped me become a better farmer, a more efficient farmer, and I believe that is why we’ve seen biotech crops adopted at such a rapid rate not only here in the United States, but in a couple dozen countries around the world.”
With 14 million metric tons (564.5 million bushels) purchased last year, Japan is easily the largest consumer of U.S. corn and associated co-products. A number of these exports is represented by innovative varieties of biotech corn. However, in order to be accepted into Japan, biotech events must pass through stringent inspection processes both domestically and in Japan. In order to promote greater cohesion between the U.S. and Japanese oversight systems, the U.S.
The U.S. Grains Council has lined up a number experts who will share their knowledge and understanding of global trade at its 51st Annual Board of Delegates Meeting July 25-27 in San Francisco, Calif.
Among these individuals is Christine Vick, who provides consulting services for multinational corporations from a variety of industries, including agriculture, biotechnology, energy and financial services.
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 13, 2011 – The U.S. Grains Council and the U.S. Soybean Export Council will host back-to-back international agricultural biotechnology events June 20-22, 2011, in Beijing, China. U.S. and China academic, policy and business representatives will discuss challenges and opportunities for meeting global food demand though technology and trade.
China’s growing economy, increasing middle class, and limited arable land are leading to a new willingness with regard to implementing biotechnology policies.