News & Events
Grain trade experts from the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) visited Ireland and Israel late last year to meet with customers in those markets, which have become increasingly important if non-traditional importers of U.S. corn and co-products.
Ireland has imported 95,000 metric tons (3.7 million bushels) of U.S. corn in the first three months of this marketing year, which is nearly half the amount it imported the prior marketing year, 170,000 metric tons (6.7 million bushels). Israel imported 386,000 metric tons (15 million bushels) of U.S. corn in the last marketing year.
Britain's stunning decision last week to leave the European Union (EU) could have both market and trade policy effects on the U.S. grain industry, though exactly how this critical geo-political change could impact farmers' bottom lines is among the many questions about what has been dubbed "the messy divorce."
The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) combined forces this week for a series of meetings in Brussels to raise concerns about delays in approvals for soybean and corn biotech events and exhorting the need for a predictable, transparent and science-based regulatory system in the European Union.
Hesham Hassanein has stepped down as the U.S. Grains Council’s (USGC’s) regional director of the Middle East and Africa, as of June 5. Despite this staff change, the Council remains committed to its presence and programs in the Middle East, Africa and Europe region and is assessing options to maintain USGC representation in this critical area of the world.
President Barack Obama’s announcement in Germany earlier this week that he believes the United States and European Union can strike a deal on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) by the end of 2016 put additional focus on the latest round of U.S.-EU negotiations happening in New York.
As part of the negotiations, the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) participated in a U.S.-EU Direct Stakeholder Engagement Event and chief negotiators briefing on April 28, focusing on the EU’s authorization system to approve biotech events.
With the U.S. election season fast approaching, the time pressure for progress on two pending trade negotiations is increasing. U.S. Grains Council (USGC) Director of Trade Policy and Biotechnology Floyd Gaibler is in Brussels this week for the latest round of United States-European Union negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP).
“Market access and progress on biotechnology issues continue to be our key objectives in T-TIP,” Gaibler said. “The recently-proposed opt-out legislation is a good example of the kinds of issues we face.”
The European Commission’s recent proposal for a national opt-out on biotech approvals is receiving mounting criticism from both biotech opponents and supporters, including calls for the proposal to be withdrawn.
Reports surfaced Thursday that the European Commission is considering a policy that would allow member states to “opt-out” of importing food and feed products containing biotechnology events approved by the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA).
If enacted, a national opt-out for import approvals of biotechnology-derived products for food and feed uses would be disruptive and counter to international obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO).