The American Feed Industry Association held its Import/Export Seminar in Arlington, Va., Dec. 9-10, 2014, which drew more than 60 attendees, some from as far as Japan. The program, hosted every-other-year, was first held in 2010, and is geared toward individuals responsible for the importing and/or exporting of products for their company, and who are interested in learning how the varying government agencies support the U.S. feed industry’s international commerce interests.
The meeting boasted several important speakers from federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Agricultural Service; U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and U.S. Trade Representative as well as individuals from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency; and various private companies. Speakers during the course of the two-day event addressed current trade industry constraints facing the feed industry and introduced opportunities and resources for expanding and engaging at higher levels in the international market.
FAS Administrator Phil Karsting keynoted the event, explaining FAS’s role in helping U.S. companies become successful in exporting agricultural products. He addressed the positive outlook for U.S. feed trade, stating as exports consistently increase and international confidence in U.S. products rise, we will only see more and more interest in U.S. feed and feed ingredients. Karsting also acknowledged the challenges to come such as global biotechnology approvals and updates to animal health rules, which can lead to technical barriers to trade.
Ellen Terpstra, former FAS administrator and current president and CEO of the International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council, advised governments will need to be more flexible looking ahead, especially given the importance international trade plays in addressing concerns about feeding a growing global population.
Many of the conference’s speakers noted the growing opportunities for businesses entering the global trade market. According to the Food Export—Midwest and Food Export—Northeast, currently only one percent of U.S. companies export their product(s) and of that percentage, more than half the companies only export to one country. Other takeaways included how the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act will affect trade policy, how the U.S. government and industry addresses new foreign government feed import requirements such as China AQSIQ’s Decree 118 and updates on specific constraints worldwide pertaining to U.S. feed trade.
“The 2014 Import/Export Seminar was a one-of-a-kind opportunity for industry to hear first-hand from those in the U.S. government agencies that work on feed import and export issues and negotiations on a daily basis. They are our champions and advocates that strive not only for greater access to U.S. feed products globally, but also to ensure that our industry can have access to the imported inputs they need to manufacture high quality, safe feed,” explained Gina Tumbarello, AFIA director of international policy and trade.
“Animal food trade will significantly increase to meet the growing global demand for meat, milk, eggs and pet food and AFIA stands on the forefront of educating our members and the industry on market changes, developments, opportunities and constraints at events such as the Import/Export Seminar,” added Tumbarello. “We are glad the industry, and government agencies like the ones that were represented, are acknowledging the importance of feed trade as we move forward.”
For more information about the Import/Export Seminar, please contact Tumbarello at (703) 558-3561 or firstname.lastname@example.org.