NAFTA Discussions Continue in D.C.

Mexico Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo is in Washington, D.C. this week to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to continue high-level NAFTA talks. This week the two countries will focus on auto rules of origin and the inclusion of a sunset clause.

Over the past two weeks, the U.S. and Mexico have moved to close an additional ten chapters of the agreement. As they move into the third straight week of negotiations, negotiators will push to update the agreement’s rules of origin for autos and wage requirements. The U.S. has pushed to include tougher rules regarding what percentage of the car needs to be built in NAFTA countries to avoid tariffs. The U.S. has proposed increasing that percentage to 75 percent, from 62.5 percent, as well as requiring that a portion of those autos be made in factories that pay at least $16 per hour.

This week’s meetings will also include discussing a sunset clause. The U.S. has strongly pushed for a provision that would automatically terminate the agreement if all three NAFTA countries do not agree to renew it every five years. Mexico has strongly opposed the idea of a sunset clause in fear that it would hurt investment in Mexico and the global competitiveness of North America.

Negotiators are working to achieve an agreement in principle in time for the current Mexican administration to sign an agreement. President-elect Lopez Obrador takes office in December, and U.S. law requires a strict timeline of congressional notice that would require finalizing negotiations this month if a new agreement is to be approved before end of year.

While recent negotiations show significant progress, several important issues remain unresolved, including seasonal restrictions on agriculture trade. The U.S. has proposed creating a seasonal window for agricultural products that would restrict imports from Canada and Mexico and impose a tariff on products based on volume and the time of year.

While the U.S. has discussed the idea of creating a bilateral NAFTA agreement with Mexico, Mexican officials insist that Canada be part of the final agreement. Canada did not participate in the past two weeks of negotiations on bilateral U.S.-Mexico issues. In the meantime, Canadian trade officials have conducted high-level strategy discussions in preparation for the resumption of trilateral NAFTA negotiations.

Rice Harvest | Bay City, TX | Tx Farm Bureau

Senate Names Farm Bill Conferees

This week, the Senate voted to move to conference on the farm bill by a voice vote. Following the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer named nine members as conferees to the 2018 farm bill debate.

“This strong group of Senate conferees knows how to work together on a bipartisan basis to get the Farm Bill across the finish line,” said Roberts and Stabenow. “We look forward to beginning the conference process, so we can provide certainty to our farmers, families, and rural communities.”

Two weeks ago, the House moved to reject the Senate farm bill and move to conference. The nine Senators will join the forty-seven House members to reconcile differences between the two bills.

The top four agriculture lawmakers, the “Big Four”, have already begun discussing conference issues and Chairman Roberts has said he hopes to schedule a full committee meeting at the end of August.

Members of the Conference Committee:

Wheeler Discusses EPA Priorities Before Senate Committee

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler testified before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works this week. Wheeler outlined three directives given by President Trump: “Clean up the air, clean up the water and provide regulatory relief to help the economy thrive and create more jobs for American workers.” Committee members pressured Wheeler to differentiate himself from Pruitt across a range of environmental policies and made it clear that they viewed him differently.

Andrew Wheeler was confirmed as deputy administrator of the EPA to serve under Administrator Pruitt in April of this year. Following Pruitt’s resignation after a litany of personal scandals and congressional ethics probes, Wheeler took the temporary position as acting Administrator of the EPA. Critics have raised concerns regarding his past lobbying clients however, Wheeler has expressed a “commitment to earning and maintaining the public’s trust through transparency and accountability in our actions and civility and fairness in our public participation processes."

Belchim Crop Protection USA Protects Yield and Quality in Rice

Wilmington, Delaware – August 1, 2018

Belchim Crop Protection USA announces today that it will be distributing Tenchu 20SG (active ingredient dinotefuran), a leading insecticide to protect rice crops against rice stink bugs.
Rice stink bug (RSB), the primary cause of pecky rice, was first reported as a pest of rice in the 1880’s. With quality becoming a bigger issue every year, rice stink bug control is critical to producing a profitable crop. Dr. M. O. (Mo) Way, Professor of Entomology at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, shared his thoughts on the major factors contributing to this problem pest.

“One of the reasons is the grain sorghum grown nearby. When the sorghum is harvested, the stink bugs move into the rice, which is heading about the same time,” said Way. “Another factor is the use of malathion as part of the Boll Weevil Eradication Program possibly killing off some of the beneficials, and a third factor is related to pyrethroids. There are a lot of pyrethroids being sprayed on multiple crops in our area, and we’re seeing problems with them. We used to have maybe four or five to seven days residual, but we’re not seeing that any longer.”

Dinotefuran, the active ingredient in Tenchu, is systemic and shows residual control of 7 to 11 days. The rate of application is 7.5 to 10.5 ounces per acre, which is equal to 0.09375 to 0.131 pounds of active ingredient per acre. With Tenchu, no more than two applications per season are needed and the pre-harvest interval is 7 days.
Learn more about Tenchu here.


The Rice Advocate, Vol. 13, Issue 40

In this issue:


USRPA Key Issues Summary

Details on USRPA™ positions can be viewed in the issues paper linked below.

In addition to Cuba trade liberalization, include current trade negotiations, opening rice trade with China, regulatory burdens such as the Clean Water rule, and Farm Bill implementation.


Commentary: Rough rice exports key to future for U.S. rice farmers?

Dwight Roberts, President and CEO, US Rice Producers Association | Delta Farm Press

The longtime debate on exporting milled versus rough rice continues and appears to be entering a new chapter. Going back to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico, then the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) and more recent agreements like the treaty with Colombia, all tell a story.

As we enter what appears to be a new era in international trade, the U.S. rice farmer must ask himself, “Would I still be in business if there were no rough rice exports?”

Farmers were told that rough rice exports would cripple our domestic market and erode our infrastructure. Ask anyone in the wheat industry what happened to all those flour mills that used to export bagged flour. They closed and the U.S. became the largest exporter of wheat in the world.

Read the Full Article on Delta Farm Press

The Rice Advocate, Vol. 13, Issue 33

In this issue:


Poe Announces Launch of Cuba Working Group

Dec 16 2015

Washington, D.C. “ Today, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-2) announced that he has joined a bipartisan group of 10 Members of Congress to launch the Cuba Working Group, a group that will focus on crafting new policies and ways to appropriately restore U.S.-Cuba diplomatic relations. The group announced its formation in a letter sent to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Its launch comes one year after President Obama announced that he would unilaterally try to normalize U.S. relations with Cuba.


Rice farmers unload trucks at new export grain terminal

By Doris Maricle

Southwest Louisiana rice farmers unloaded trucks of rough rice Friday at the new $60 million IFG export grain terminal at the Port of Lake Charles.