Importance of Free Trade Theme at USGC Conference

Without free trade agreements (FTAs) between the United States and markets in Latin America and Southeast Asia, the United States risks losing export competitiveness, warned U.S. Grains Council directors during the 7th International Marketing Conference. "One of the biggest threats facing the United States is the fact that pending FTAs with Colombia and Panama have not been ratified," said Kurt Shultz, USGC regional director in Panama.

Mexico General Director of Rural Finance Luncheon Speaker

Ernesto Fernandez-Arias, general director of support to rural financing in Mexico, presented to nearly 200 attendees of the U.S. Grains Council’s 7th International Marketing Conference. According to Arias, Mexico’s agriculture industry production maintained a growing trend despite the world economic recession. The implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was significant to Mexico as it has become a world leader in some international food markets. "Food exports have prompted the primary sector output.

Syria Enforces Levy on Imported Corn, Barley, USGC Expects Duties to be Eliminated

In an effort to encourage local production and generate revenue for the national treasury, Syria has recently imposed import duties on corn and barley, the U.S. Grains Council has learned. The duties were originally set at $77/metric ton but have since been scaled back due to industry pressure. They are currently at $22/ton for corn and $44/ton for barley.

US Agricultural Exports are a High Priority for President Obama

In the State of the Union address Jan. 27, 2010, President Barack Obama listed international trade as one of his top priorities for expanding the U.S. economy. “We need to export more of our goods. Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America,” he said as he issued the challenge to double U.S. exports over the next five years, with specific focus on helping ‘farmers and small businesses increase their exports.

USGC: Looking Beyond US Borders

The U.S. Grains Council’s 7th International Marketing Conference and 50th Annual Membership Meeting, themed, “50 Years of Leadership: Acting on Opportunities,” will be held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Feb. 13-17, 2010. “This meeting is essential for the Council as it provides a chance for stakeholders to gather with the USGC international staff and plan the best direction for Council programs and focus in the coming years,” said USGC President and CEO Thomas C. Dorr. “Information gathered at this meeting helps USGC Advisory Team members shape the 2011 Unified Export Strategy (UES).

Turkey’s MOA Appeals Court Decision, Biotech Ban Resumes

Several weeks ago, the U.S. Grains Council reported Turkey’s Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and Rural Affairs released a directive, ordered by the Turkish Danistay Court, to repeal the Oct. 26, 2009, regulation that restricted market access of products containing biotechnology derived content. The Council received word today that the MOA appealed the Court’s decision and overturned the regulation. Thus, the Oct. 26 ban is again in effect.

Morocco Tariff Cuts Create Opportunity for US Corn

The U.S., Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA), signed in June 2004, has provided the United States a significant market advantage with its recent tariff reduction of U.S. corn. As of June 1, 2009, the government reinstated tariffs on corn imports with U.S. origin a 7 percent tariff and a 17 percent tariff for other origins. Chris Corry, USGC senior director of international operations, said, “As of Jan. 1, 2010, the Moroccan government has reduced the tariff for corn of U.S.

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