Articles of Interest- Wednesday, April 10, 2019
April 10, 2019
Egypt Rejects French Wheat Shipment Amid Ergot Concerns
World-Grain – 04/10/2019
The government of Egypt has rejected a shipment of 63,000 tonnes of French wheat that arrived at Egypt’s Red Sea port of Safaga, saying the cargo exceeded the authorized levels of ergot, according to a report from Reuters. According to Reuters, officials found 0.1% ergot in the wheat shipment, which exceeds the acceptable level of 0.05%. A request has been filed to re-test the shipment, which was bought as part of an international tender by Egypt’s General Authority for Supply Commodities, the news agency noted. Egypt, which is the world’s largest importer of wheat, caused confusion in the global market in 2016 when it reinstated a ban on trace levels of ergot. Following three failed tenders, Egypt in September 2016 eliminated its zero-tolerance policy on ergot levels in wheat and promised to follow international standards allowing up to 0.05%.
Canada Considers New Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Agricultural Products
Sucessful Farming – 04/09/2019
New retaliatory tariffs by Canada on U.S. products including agricultural ones may soon be on the way. David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S., told members of the North American Agricultural Journalists (NAAJ) at this week’s annual NAAJ meeting in Washington, D.C., that the proposed retaliatory tariffs are in response to the U.S. using Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 that place tariffs on steel and aluminum for national security reasons. These were instituted during negotiations of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement. This agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement has been signed but not yet ratified between the three nations. “When the U.S. imposed (steel and aluminum) tariffs, we said we could put in corresponding tariffs – dollar for dollar – in retaliation of unjustified and illegal tariffs,” says MacNaughton. “Our position is that the tariffs are unjustified and illegal and should go.”
US Hurdles Further Complicate USMCA Ratification
Agri-Pulse – 04/10/2019
The renegotiated North American trade pact is popular in the U.S., Mexico and Canada, but the Trump administration and U.S. lawmakers are making ratification increasingly difficult with complications that threaten to derail the process. When Jesús Seade, Mexico’s top North American negotiator, met with reporters last week, it was clear he’d been hoping for a calm discussion about progress and optimism in implementing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. South of the border, they call it the Mexico United States Canada Treaty, or T-MEC for short. What Seade got instead were frantic questions about newly threatened auto tariffs and demands to reopen negotiations on labor and pharmaceutical issues. Shortly before Seade’s press conference, President Donald Trump lobbed a new threat to hit Mexico with a 25 percent tariff on cars and car parts if it did not stop the flow of migrants and illegal drugs to the U.S…Trump has not unleashed the auto tariffs yet, but he is still unwilling to lift his Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum from Mexico and Canada, and that is becoming a major impediment to USMCA ratification.“From the Mexican point of view, I can tell you we will never dream of completing the USMCA … if that problem has not been resolved,” Seade said about the steel and aluminum tariffs.
Millers, Bakers Weigh Flour Checkoff
Capital Press – 04/09/2019
The wheat flour industry hopes to increase domestic demand by raising money for marketing and research through a flour checkoff for U.S. millers and bakers. A town hall discussion on the checkoff took place April 7 during the American Bakers Association convention in Naples, Fla. Christine Cochran, executive director of the Grain Foods Foundation, plans to finalize a proposal to submit to USDA later in the spring. The USDA would open a proposed checkoff to public comment for 60 days, Cochran said…The proposed checkoff would be a 16-cent assessment per hundredweight of wheat flour used to produce “bread basket products,” including fresh and frozen bread, bread, rolls, buns, bagels, naan, pitas, other flatbreads, English muffins and biscuits.
Zimbabwe Seeks $613 Million Aid from Donors After Drought, Cyclone
Reuters – 04/09/2019
Zimbabwe appealed on Tuesday for $613 million in aid from local and foreign donors to cover food imports and help with a humanitarian crisis after a severe drought and a cyclone that battered the east of the country. An El Nino-induced drought has wilted crops across Zimbabwe and left about a third of its 15 million people in need of food assistance, according to a U.N. agency. The situation was worsened when Zimbabwe, along with Mozambique and Malawi, were last month battered by Cyclone Idai, leaving hundreds of thousands needing food, water and shelter. An appeal document given to reporters by the ministry of information showed the government is seeking about $300 million in aid for food while the rest would fund emergency shelters, logistics and telecommunications among other needs.
Source: U.S. Wheat Associates