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Global Shipping, Trade Policy and Relations Focus of USGC Meeting

Attendees plan global trade strategy for the coming year this week in Greenville, SC


Members of the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) are arriving in Greenville, SC, for the organization’s winter meeting this week, where they will concentrate on drivers of global demand including trade policy, the status of China trade relations and global shipping before heading into business and strategy sessions focused on ways to keep markets open and grain flowing around the world.

“While we will hear from top notch speakers who will orient us to the state of our industry and offer us touchpoints around the world that will help inform our work this week, it’s important that we take that guidance as we enter more than nine hours of Advisory Team meetings to offer recommendations for USGC’s direction to help meet its objectives of developing markets, enabling trade and improving lives,” says USGC Chairman Chad Willis, a farmer from Minnesota.

The first general session will include a recorded message from U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai. Other Monday speakers will include Jason Hafemeister, USDA’s acting deputy under secretary for trade and foreign affairs; Sharon Yuan, president of the Asia Group; Bill Rooney, vice president of strategic development for Kuehne & Nagel; and John Lummus, president and CEO of the Upstate SC Alliance.

These presenters will set the stage for later member discussions on Monday afternoon and Tuesday in topical committees known as Advisory Teams (A-Teams) and sector meetings.

USGC’s winter meeting is the annual chance for corn, sorghum and barley farmers and members of agribusiness, who make up the organization’s membership, to meet with their international staff, who work in dozens of locations globally on trade policy and market development issues.

The perspectives they offer during this meeting, combined with input from A-Team members help chart the course for USGC in the near term.

“The direction offered by both our international directors, our colleagues in our national headquarters and our industry partners during this important meeting will help USGC grow global markets around the world for U.S. corn, sorghum barley and co-products.”

On Wednesday during the annual Board of Delegates meeting, USGC members will hear from Dr. Gary Williams, professor of agricultural economics, retired, at Texas A&M University, about the economic impact of the Agricultural Trade Promotion program and other USDA market development programs, and Mark Slupek USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s deputy administrator of global programs, who will offer an overview of agricultural foreign market development funding.

Additionally, on Wednesday, A-Team leaders and sector directors will offer their recommendations and set USGC priorities for the coming year, and longtime USGC members and staff will be recognized for their years of service.

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