READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, September 2nd…

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Wheat Industry Applauds End to Japan’s Wheat Import Suspension

Wheat industry groups welcomed Japan’s announcement to end the temporary ban of U.S. white wheat exports. Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture announced imports resumed Thursday, with the purchase of 58,000 metric tons of U.S. white wheat. The Ministry had temporarily suspended new purchases following the July announcement by the Department of Agriculture that a small number of wheat plants were found in the U.S. containing unapproved, genetically engineered traits. The GE wheat resistant to the herbicide glyphosate was found in a fallow field in eastern Washington State. The U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers applauded the resumed imports by Japan Thursday. The groups say the “unexpected situation” caused only a minor disruption in trade because stakeholders “approached it in a reasonable way.”

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U.S. Senators Urge Investigation Into Canada’s Dairy pricing Policies

Two U.S. Senators say Canada’s dairy pricing policies are harming trade and will negatively affect the U.S. dairy industry, jeopardizing the country’s trade commitment to the United States. Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin are asking for the investigation regarding Canada’s recently announced National Ingredients Strategy and its already active Ontario Class VI (Six) pricing program. The Senators sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack alleging Canada’s program punishes processors in Canada for the use of imported dairy products. The U.S. Dairy Export Council in response to the letter says Canada has created a “deeply problematic” track record of instituting programs to “intentionally create roadblocks to dairy imports.” The dairy industry welcomed the call for an investigation.

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Vermont, Grocery Industry, Agree to Dismiss GMO Labeling Lawsuit

A lawsuit against the now defunct Vermont GMO labeling law was dismissed this week, after the parties to the lawsuit agreed the suit was no longer needed. That’s because of the federal GMO labeling bill passed by Congress in July and signed by the President, preempts state labeling laws. The lawsuit was filed in 2014. In August, Vermont’s Attorney General said the federal GMO labeling bill meant Vermont would “no longer be enforcing” the state law. The state of Vermont reached the agreement with the Grocery Manufactures Association, Snak International, the International Dairy Foods Association, the National Association of Manufacturers, Syngenta, DuPont, Dow, Bayer, Monsanto and Conagra.

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German Activist Hope to Stop EU-Canada Trade Deal

Activist delivered a public complaint to Germany’s Constitutional Court this week in hopes to scuttle a trade agreement between the European Union and Canada. The activist called the complaint the “biggest ever” against a trade agreement. Many see the deal as a template for a potential EU-U.S. agreement, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The deal between the EU and Canada could increase trade between the two by 20 percent. However, many EU voters  fear the agreement would give multinational corporations greater access to European markets without creating jobs, according to Reuters. Three groups opposing the deal delivered 70 boxes of documents with 125,000 signatures to the court this week. The groups argue the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement breaches Germany’s constitution, and want the court to stop implementation of the deal before its ratification by EU states.

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Syngenta Seeking Buyer for Hawaii Operation

Syngenta AG is seeking a buyer for its 6,000-acre operation in Hawaii. In the midst of a $43 billion takeover by ChemChina, Syngenta is trying to sell the Hawaii operations while still planning to remain part of the state’s agricultural industry. Syngenta has 105 full-time Hawaii employees. Syngenta told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser newspaper it would seek to have its existing seed work in Hawaii continue to some degree under contract with a new owner. Syngenta’s presence in Hawaii stretches back nearly 50 years. A Spokesperson for Syngenta declined to tell the paper why the company was selling the operations, other than calling it a “change of approach to the business model.” Meanwhile, the company says the Syngenta-ChemChina merger is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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Amazon Seeking Drive-up Grocery Location in Seattle

Online retail giant Amazon is diving further into the grocery business and seeking a brick-and-mortar location in Seattle, Washington. Meatingplace reports Amazon is now looking to build a facility in Seattle where consumers can pick up the groceries they ordered online. Dubbed only “Project X’” in planning documents with the city of Seattle; the language matches planning documents for drive-up grocery stores planned in the San Francisco Bay Area. The architect that designed the plans is also the same who designed Amazon’s San Francisco, California plans. Amazon has yet to confirm the plans. The online retailer started with book sales in 1994 but quickly grew to a vast selection of items, including groceries.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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