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International Trade Committee Conference Call Minutes – March 21, 2011

Conference Call
3:00 PM EDT
March 21, 2011
Committee Members Present
Wade Ellis, Bunge Milling Co. Chair
Jack Cwach, ADM Milling Co Vice Chair
Rod Geiger, Bartlett Milling Company”Jeff Dillon, Didion Milling, Inc.
Bruce King, Cereal Food Processors, Inc.
James A. Madich, Horizon Milling Inc.
Steve Wickes, Agricor , Inc.
Committee Members Not Present
Harry Nadolny, ConAgra Foods, Inc.
Bill Liska, Grain Millers, Inc.
Bert Farrish, LifeLine Foods
Others Present
Brian Anderson, Bunge Milling Co.
Ron Silver, Didion Milling Co.
Alex Sune, Horizon Milling Co.
Don Sullins, ADM Milling Co.
John Cory, Prairie Milling
NAMA Staff
Paul B. Green, NAMA International Trade Consultant
Mary Waters, NAMA President
Skip Myers, Morris, Manning and Martin, NAMA Legal Counsel
                                                                               
    1. NAMA Antitrust Guidelines
      Chairman Ellis convened the Conference call at 3:00 PM Eastern time.  Legal Counsel reviewed the NAMA antitrust guidelines and reminded members of their responsibilities.  The Committee also welcomed John Cory of Prairie Milling, who has had experience in international humanitarian programs.
    2. ITC Charter
      The Committee approved amendments to the Committee Charter as follows:
      Conducts activities and recommends policy relating to U.S. government international trade policy as it affects world markets for U.S. wheat, corn oat and sorghum-based products, and the U.S. food aid program
      This description will be reported to the Executive Committee and used in future NAMA communications.
    3. Review of Food Quality/Safety Concern Issues
      Mr. Green reported that the Tufts University authors of the FAQR have been asked to extend their contract and submit a new summary report of about 50 pages.  USAID will reportedly use this version to defend current food aid products from the criticisms of groups like Dr.’s Without Borders that the current formulations of CSB and other foods aren’t sufficient for needy children.  While it’s not clear that AID has resources to continue the FAQR through product and field testing, they have indicated that’s their intention and that they expect to engage NAMA members very actively in that discussion.  Committee members commented that there are still several hurdles and cost effectiveness questions about making the products suggested and in small packs as the FAQR recommends.
      Discussion of the FACG Working Group on Food Safety was postponed until after the ITC trip to Burundi that will include Brian Anderson and Paul Green.
    4. Recent Announcements on Food Aid Procurement
      Emergency Products RFP– No ITC opinion or action
      Discontinuation of shipper’s option

      ACTION ITEM- Paul to clarify and report (done)
      McGovern-Dole Micronutrient Fortified Product RFP- Not Discussed
      Shift to RFP procurements from normal monthly tenders- Following discussion in the ITC it was agreed to wait and see how implementation occurs and what issues arise.
      FGIS Facility Sampling and Testing- The ITC remains concerned about using private labs for contract assurance without confirmation of the lab’s participation in AACC or AOAC Round Robin result comparisons.

      ACTION ITEM- Paul to discuss further with FSA
      The Seam procurement of food aid products- The ITC requested further information on the Seam’s intentions before discussing privatizing food aid procurements further in the Committee.

    5. Food Aid Appropriations for 2011 and 12
      Paul briefed the ITC on the GOP proposal to cut the 2011 budget for Title II to $1 billion that would virtually end procurements and shipments for the remainder of the fiscal year and gut food aid.  NAMA can’t expect food aid to remain unscathed by the budget cuts; the programs are still supported by many in Congress and can hopefully remain somewhat free from large cuts.  Paul also informed the Committee that some agriculture groups that had been traditionally supportive of food aid are now reticent to actively support food aid for fear of setting up a zero-sum budget battle with some of their other favorite budget items, such as direct farm payments or ethanol, etc.
    6. Feed the Future
      The ITC discussed the budget problems for the Administration’s food security initiative and the likelihood of cuts to the President and Secretary of State’s favorite international food program.  No Action.
    7. Kirk Miller’s Evaluation of NAMA FMD Program
      The ITC agreed with Mr. Miller’s recommendation that NAMA’s FMD program should include results management and should include a measurable result category in accordance with FAS requirements.  They also advised that NAMA should support US Government biotechnology efforts in food aid, but not lead those efforts.

ACTION ITEM- Paul to engage FAS and update the NAMA FMD marketing plan to include measureable results acceptable to FAS program staff.

  1. US Ag Trade Agenda
    The Committee was updated on the Doha Round of WTO, US FTA negotiations and the Administration’s plans to consolidate international trade responsibilities in one agency of government.  With much opposition from the US agriculture sector to the trade consolidation proposal, NAMA was encouraged to continue monitoring it.
  2. ITC travel and upcoming meetings
    The Committee discussed Brian and Paul’s upcoming trip to Burundi, Kenya and Rome.  They agreed to schedule an ITC meeting during the IFADC in KC June 27-29 and to encourage congressional food aid trips overseas, particularly in concert with NAMA travels.
  3. New Business
    The Committee was advised of KCCO’s recent changes to their online engagement for procurement called WBSCM that is going live in April.  Most members were familiar with the status.
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