Trade Advocacy: This Jan. 31, a bipartisan group of lawmakers will launch an agricultural trade caucus advocating for open markets. Morning Consult released survey data that shows rural voters want a president who negotiates more trade deals and lowers tariffs.
USMCA: On Jan. 25, representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico met for the 2024 USMCA Mid-Year Meeting. There were no food or agriculture issues mentioned in the joint readout, however Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quota administration was raised in a bilateral pre-meeting.
U.S. – Kenya: U.S. and Kenya to hold third negotiating round under the Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP) in Nairobi, Kenya from Jan. 29 – 31, 2024. The round will cover agriculture, regulatory practices, and the rights and protections of workers.
Poultry Trade: : Discussions have emerged surrounding the HPAI vaccine. South Dakota’s senators urge to update trade agreements to prevent barriers on poultry.
Data and Analysis: OECD Network on Agricultural Total Factor Productivity (TFP) and the Environment gathered over 100 participants from 20 countries to in Paris on Jan. 18 – 19, 2024, to discuss TFP calculations.
“Yet almost nobody in Washington is talking about the importance of free trade. For farmers like me, not much in politics matters more.”
—Terry Wanzek North Dakota farmer and member of the Global Farmer Network in a WSJ Opinion piece
The Sr. Director, Communications & Public Affairs is a proactive leader with strong strategic, writing, and project management skills. The Sr. Director is responsible for branding, positioning, messaging, budget, and making communications a robust element of CRA and PBPC advocacy. The Sr. Director reports directly to the CRA President & CEO and works in close collaboration with the CRA Sr. V.P. for External Affairs and the Executive Director of the Plant Based Products Council.
NEW BIPARTISAN AGRICULTURAL TRADE CAUCUS LAUNCHES THIS WEEK
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Neb.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), and Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.) will formally announce the launch of an agricultural trade caucus on Wednesday, Jan. 31.
In conjunction with the launch, a new Morning Consult survey of rural voters was released showing:
Sixty-one percent of respondents said Washington should be doing more to support U.S. farm exports;
Seventy-six percent of respondents said they want a president who cuts trade deals and lowers tariffs; and
One-third of respondents said they support Congress playing a larger role in trade.
The Farmers for Free Trade advocacy group will facilitate a fly in this week to further advocate for expanding international market opportunities.
U.S.-MEXICO-CANADA AGREEMENT (USMCA)
2024 USMCA MID-YEAR MEETING
On Jan. 25, representatives from the United States, Canada, and Mexico met for the third mid-year USMCA meeting in preparation for the Free Trade Commission (FTC) meeting.
According to a joint press statement, six committees reported updates, but none of the updates were food or agriculture focused.
Regarding the six-year USMCA review, the press release states: “Today we shared our views on priorities for 2024 with an eye towards the first six-year review of the USMCA in 2026, and reaffirmed our commitment to the ongoing and effective implementation of all aspects of the Agreement.”
According to the press statement, the United States will host the FTC meeting later this year.
No food or agriculture topics were noted in USTR’s readout from the pre-meeting between USTR Senior Advisor Cara Morrow and Mexico’s Under Secretary of Economy for Foreign Trade, Alejandro Encinas.
In a USTR readout of a pre-meeting with Canada, the USTR notes that “Senior Advisor Morrow reiterated the United States’ continued concern with… Canada’s dairy tariff rate quota allocation measures…”
THE STRATEGIC TRADE AND INVESTEMENT PARTNERSHIP (STIP) TO HOLD 3RD NEGOTIATING ROUND
The USTR announced that there will be a third negotiating round of the U.S.-Kenya STIP from Jan. 29-31 in Nairobi, Kenya.
The U.S. delegation will be led by Assistant USTR Constance Hamilton and will include representatives from several other government agencies.
As stated in the USTR announcement, this negotiating round will primarily cover three topics: agriculture, good regulatory practices, and workers’ rights and protections.
The last time negotiators met in person was in Oct. 2023. Since then, the USTR announcement states that it has made “progress in deepening mutual understanding and resolving differences.”
Ambassador Tai and Kenya’s President Ruto met bilaterally in July 2023.
According to the Administration, the U.S.-Kenya STIP focuses on increasing investment, promoting sustainability and inclusive economic growth to benefit consumers, businesses, and workers.
HIGHLY PATHOGENETIC AVIAN INFLUNZA VACCINES AND TRADE
On Jan. 18, Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune sent a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack urging the Administration to update trade agreements to ensure trade barriers are not erected in response to Highly Pathogenetic Avian Influenza (HPAI) vaccines.
The letter states: “We therefore request the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) work proactively with the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to resolve potential trade disputes while continuing to support a robust research program related to vaccine efficacy and a surveillance program.”
Both senators wrote “We recognize that without updated trade agreements, the use of [highly pathogenic avian influenza] vaccination can put our poultry and egg industry at a disadvantage…”
According to the CDC, in the past two years, avian flu has generated more than 81 million cases. During the fall and spring, detections are more prominent due to the migration of wild birds.
USDA’s Agricultural Research Service has been focusing on vaccine trials to test for avian flu outbreaks.
Due to several bilateral trade agreements on U.S. poultry, there is the concern on how vaccinations against HPAI may cause disruptions between these countries.
Currently, the U.S. does not allow imports of poultry from flocks that are vaccinated by HPAI, nor countries that have been affected by HPAI.
The World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) emphasized the need of collaboration by governments on trade protocols and requirements to ensure safety measures to stop the prevalence of HPAI.
WOAH argues that avian influenza vaccination should not be a barrier to safe trade.
USDA’S UNCERTAINTY IN THE OWNERSHIP OF U.S. FARMLAND BY FOREIGN INVESTORS
The report concluded that enhancing efforts to collect, track, and share key information could better identify national security risks.
According to the report, the Agricultural Foreign Investment Disclosure Act (AFIDA) requires foreign investors to report any U.S. land ownership to the USDA. Several shortcomings have been identified due to inaccurate data.
The report also stated that the USDA is not adequately conducting quality reviews to track the accuracy of the AFIDA data.
There have been increased efforts focusing on the foreigners that have not filed AFIDA forms. A “data mining” pilot program was launched by USDA, which links AFIDA data with the Farm Service Agency. But the program does not include all foreign landowning non-filers.
The GAO identified multiple errors while reviewing the AFIDA data.
The Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) does not receive AFIDA data regularly. Defense officials noted that AFIDA data may contribute to identifying relevant non-notified transactions.
USDA officials mentioned that they did share AFIDA data from several specific countries, including China and Russia, as well as the FBI and Defense Department.
GAO strongly suggested that the USDA create a process where AFIDA data is regularly shared with the CFIUS and carefully reviewed to improve inaccuracies.
Data and Analysis
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Network on Agricultural Total Factor Productivity (TFP) and the Environment gathered in Paris on Jan. 18-19.
There is lack of consensus among research on the most accurate approach to measuring TFP. According to the OECD, the objective of the Network is to gather experts together “to share experiences and best practices, and aim to develop a framework for cross-country agricultural TFP comparisons. In due course, the ambition is to create a set of ’environmentally-adjusted’ TFP (EATFP) indicators.”
According to OECD Head of Unit Jesus Anton, “Innovations that induce more #productivity and #sustainability of agriculture are the way forward to meet the multiple challenges of food systems including #foodsecurity and #climatechange.” Anton also notes that “Measuring an environmentally #sustainably productivity index will bring the attention of agricultural policy makes to act.”
More than 20 countries and 100 participants attended the conference. Productivity, innovation, sustainability, climate change, and food security were among a few issues discussed.
In the fall of 2023, the USDA/Economic Research Service presented to the Network on Agricultural Total Factor Productivity and the Environment its data on International Agricultural Productivity. This data provides annual indexes of agricultural TFP for countries and regions in the world beginning in 1961.
USDA/ERS studies attribute the source of growth in agricultural output to the improvement in TFP over the past 60 years.