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Global food prices posted sharp declines in March according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Meanwhile, USDA announced moves to boost sugar imports amid tight supplies and China ag purchases were more muted in the latest update from USDA.
The Directors General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are urging governments worldwide to keep agri-food products and workers moving across borders during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The start date for the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) should be delayed from the current June 1 target to ensure that implementation is not negatively impacted by demands on businesses, regulators and governments posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, several members of the Senate Finance Committee urged in a March 30 letter to US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer.
A group of Senate Finance Committee Republicans is calling on President Donald Trump to take several actions on the trade front, including tariff waivers on medical products and broadening tariff exemptions. Meanwhile, USDA data shows China continuing to purchase an array of US ag products and the National Restaurant Association (NRA) detailed restaurant closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The US and China signed a poultry regionalization agreement allowing US poultry exports to continue in the event a highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) or Newcastle disease outbreak hits here, one of several recent milestones USDA and the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) detailed in an update on implementation of the Phase One US-China trade deal.
Day ahead – March 23, 2020: FDA guidance, Dean Foods sale, FSIS export library, COVID-19 infection at WFP
FDA announced all guidance documents related to coronavirus will be considered final and will be published without public comment. Meanwhile, Dean Foods undid its designation of Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) as the lead bidder at a planned bankruptcy sale, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) updated its Export Library to reflect the Phase One US-China deal and World Food Programme (WFP) Director David has tested positive for COVID-19.
Food & Ag Policy Briefing: “No food shortage” says US farm body, laws eased to let shops join forces, Portugal reduces child obesity
The American Farm Bureau Federation sought to calm nerves last week by clarifying that there is no shortage of food in the US and the supply chain remains strong even though consumers may be seeing barren food shelves or television amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Day ahead – March 19, 2020: HOS exemptions, USDA Service Centers, ‘healthy’ label claims; China ag buys
The Department of Transportation (DOT) expanded exemptions to hours of service (HOS) trucking rules amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, USDA is asking farmers to call before going to USDA Service Centers, FSIS expanded the definition of “healthy” for meat and poultry labels and China continues to purchase US ag goods despite the impacts of coronavirus.
The Trump administration formally notified Congress Tuesday (March 17) it intends to negotiate a trade agreement with Kenya. Meanwhile, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) announced measures in response to coronavirus and USDA began its 2020 National Farmers Market Manager Survey.
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