The move grants the trade association 'co-operator' status for the first time, providing the AFIA the ability to independently manage the US government funds starting on January 1, 2021.
AFIA’s director of international policy and trade, Gina Tumbarello, explained how such status and funding will likely benefit the organization.
“Being a co-operator with the USDA means that the AFIA can receive funds directly from the agency to assist with marketing US agricultural products abroad.
“Prior to this, the AFIA worked via a third-party organization to receive the funding. Being awarded this funding demonstrates the USDA’s recognition of AFIA as a leading trade representative of the US feed, feed ingredient and pet food industry and a trusted partner in managing and implementing government-funded programs,” she told us.
AFIA’s role, using these funds, is to promote US feed, feed ingredient and pet food products as a whole; touting not just the variety the US has to offer, but also their viability, safety, quality and sustainability.
Barriers to trade
It said that such products can help countries boost the efficiency and quality of their animal production practices and pet food diets in a sustainable way. Unfortunately, regulatory and policy constraints continue to block these products from competing fairly in many foreign markets, noted Tumbarello.
Non-scientific regulatory and policy barriers that are aimed at controlling the marketplace or shielding influence over global trade are the biggest issues the US feed industry faces on a global scale, said the AIFA trade specialist.
“For example, China requires that animal food manufacturing facilities register in order to be able to export feed additives, premix and compound feed. Until the recently agreed-upon China Phase One agreement, there lacked a mechanism for US manufacturers to do this. While facilities can now register, there are still challenges with the process and inaccuracies that block US manufacturers from exporting their products.”
Additionally, many trading partners do not fully recognize or adopt the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) chapter, which, among other things, identifies international organizations that WTO member countries should base their SPS methodologies on, such as the Codex Alimentarius and the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), she continued.
“These two organizations have developed international standards, guidelines and recommendations that seek to facilitate harmonization between member states.
"The reinforcement of science-based regulations is key to preventing non-tariff barriers that lack scientific merit. An example includes the numerous markets where the US still cannot export ruminant-origin ingredients or only has access for very limited types of ruminant-origin ingredients, even though the US is classified as ‘negligible risk’, according to the OIE.”
The AFIA, she said, will partner with the USDA to address these trade barriers. Easing their way is the fact that the USDA's FAS has offices strategically placed all over the world.
“FAS’s 'boots on the ground' expertise will complement AFIA’s efforts to engage with appropriate foreign end users, whether they are nutritionists, animal production operations or industry representatives, and global gaps in knowledge of the value US animal food products can have on the efficiency and enhancements of animal diets.”