READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 28th

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READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, March 28th

Mexico Considering Duty-free Corn Trade with Brazil, Argentina

Mexico is mulling over drafting trade agreements that offer Brazil and Argentina duty-free access to the Mexican market for corn. Mexico is the world’s biggest buyer of U.S. corn, and the potential move by Mexico is seen as a shift away from American imports, according to DTN. An eagerness to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement by President Donald Trump has corn buyers in Mexico concerned and exploring other options. Trump has called NAFTA unfair to the U.S. and has vowed to renegotiate the deal or walk away. Mexico currently imports 98 percent of its corn from the U.S. and total U.S. farm sales to Mexico were worth an estimated $17.7 billion last year, five times greater than when NAFTA came into force. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says corn imports by Mexico from the U.S. were worth $2.3 billion in 2015.

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Singapore Plans to Ratify TPP

Singapore will push forward to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a change from other nations taking a wait and see approach after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the trade agreement. While the effort may be mostly symbolic, it does signal to other TPP nations that Singapore is still open to the agreement without the United States. Singapore’s Prime Minister said during a visit to TPP member nation Viet Nam last week that “Singapore is proceeding with the ratification,” according to online publication World Trade News. After Trump’s move, Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry had said that it would be focusing on other regional trade initiatives as TPP cannot come into effect in its current state. A Singapore trade official says that ratifying TPP is an effort by the country to “study the new balance of benefits” with other TPP members. Singapore is interested in either bilateral deals with TPP member countries or implementing TPP without the United States. U.S. agricultural exports included in the trade agreement were estimated to be worth $4 billion.

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Avian Influenza Spreads to Georgia

Georgia, the nation’s top poultry-producing state, confirmed Monday the likely presence of low pathogenic avian influenza. The state’s agriculture department confirmed the presumptive low pathogenic avian influenza in a northwestern Georgia county that borders Alabama and is near Tennessee, the sites of other reported avian influenza cases. The virus was identified during routine pre-sale screening for a commercial facility and was confirmed as H7 avian influenza by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory. As a precaution, the affected flock has been depopulated. Officials are testing and monitoring other flocks within the surveillance area and no other flocks have tested positive or experienced any clinical signs. Poultry contributes $25.9 billion to Georgia’s economy and accounts for 104,000 jobs in the state.

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China, Others, Resume Meat Imports from Brazil

Bans on meat imports from Brazil following the announced investigation into alleged bribery over meat safety issues were short-lived as China, Chile and Egypt have resumed imports from Brazil. Meat industry publication Meatingplace reports the temporary bans by the three nations were lifted over the weekend. However, meat purchases from the processing plants under investigation will remain suspended. The countries were among more than a dozen nations that have restricted purchases from Brazil, following the March 17th announcement of an investigation into alleged corruption involving 33 public sanitary inspectors and 21 meat processing plants. The decisions to resume purchases brings some relief to the Brazilian meat industry, which accumulated millions of dollars in losses last week due to the temporary bans. China alone is the second largest importer of Brazilian poultry and the third largest buyer of pork.

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EU Approves Dow DuPont Merger with Agreement to Sell R&D Assets

The European Union has approved the Dow DuPont merger after the companies agreed to sell substantial assets including key research and development activities. The EU approved the $130 billion deal Monday after Dow and DuPont agreed to address concerns that the merger would leave few incentives to produce new crop protection products in the future. An EU spokesperson taking part in the review of the merger said the decision “ensures that the merger between Dow and DuPont does not reduce price competition for existing pesticides or innovation for safer and better products in the future.” In return for the EU approval, DuPont will divest large parts of its global pesticides business, including its global research and development organization, according to Reuters. Dow, in turn, will sell two acid co-polymer manufacturing facilities in Spain and the United States. The deal is still to be approved by regulators in the United States, Brazil, China, Australia and Canada, but the companies said they were confident of clearance in all remaining jurisdictions.

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President Signs Resolution to Repeal BLM Planning 2.0

President Donald Trump Monday signed a congressional resolution directing the Bureau of Land Management to repeal their Planning 2.0 Rule. The resolution was supported by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the American Farm Bureau, and others. The American Farm Bureau had suggested the rule, which was finalized in December, would negatively impact federal lands use. Ethan Lane, executive director of the Public Lands Council, applauded the action and called it a significant victory for western ranchers. He says the rule would have caused a wholesale shift in management focus at BLM by prioritizing social and environmental change over ensuring the multiple use of public lands. Lane says the Public Lands Council looks forward “to working with the new Administration to bring together a streamlined planning process that works for livestock ranchers and the western communities that depend on the use of BLM lands.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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