There is Fear China Could Turn to Other Countries For Ag Products
By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor
The ongoing threat of Chinese tariffs on American agriculture has recently been the topic of conversation for agriculturalists. With China posing a possible 25 percent tariff on U.S. soybeans back in April, it seems this conversation is here to stay. The added tariff could drive Chinese buyers to choose other markets on many California commodities, including walnuts, tree fruit and beef.
Matt Lantz, vice president of global access for Bryant Christie Inc., deals with international trade, and these issues on a daily basis. Bryant Christie is an international affairs management firm that is based in Sacramento and Seattle, where they help U.S. commodity groups and agricultural companies with their international trade issues in order to export their products.
Lantz explained that this new threat is a major concern for California agriculture.
“China is an incredibly important market for California fruit and vegetable exploiters, and any tariff or increased inspection makes it more difficult to export,” he said.
Making matters worse, Lantz pointed out that buyers are going to turn to the countries without the tariff—which can be bad news for producers.
Agrian and Bryant Christie Inc. Partner Up for MRL Database
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Assistant Editor, California Ag Today
They’re called “Maximum Residue Levels”(MRLs) and nearly all crop protection products have them; however, keeping track of MRLs for export is difficult. To this end, two companies have joined together to provide an MRL Database, globalmrl.com, to help the Ag industry comply with MRL regulations. Bryant Christie Inc. of Seattle, helps open, maintain and expand international markets by eliminating trade barriers for Ag exports. Agrian, Inc., a Fresno-based service-oriented company, provides subscription-based online information on most crop protection and nutrient products.
Nishan Majarian, ceo and cofounder of Agrian, reported, “Several years ago we had a large ag retail customer who became concerned about MRLs and global export. We developed recomendation writing tools that ensure the safe application of crop protection materials, and MRL’s are an extension of that. We did not have an MRL database, so we called around and found out that Bryant Christie had the premier global MRL database.”
So Majarian reached out to James Christie, president and managing director of Bryant Christie, “And we began the process of partnering for a hybrid system that uses both his data and our data to ensure the safe application of a material, and give insight into the export requirements of that crop.”
James Christie added, “At Bryant Christie, we work on preventing trade violations, such as chemical and food additive violations, and on ameliorating consequences when they occur. So for us, this collaboration makes so much sense. If we can avoid violations, we can help the ag industry considerably.”
And those consequences can cost ag exporters significant amounts of money, “The consequences range from a single cargo load lost to a violation,” said Christie, “to bad public relations, to having an entire commodity prohibited from entering a foreign country.”
They developed an MRL database, a one-stop resource, Christie explained, “in 1992, with our first client for the hop industry. It is just the best way to keep and manage the information. As database technology advances, it’s made even more sense to have it in that format.”
Majarian said the successful partnership with Bryant Christie is a matter of being at the right place, at the right time. “We think domestic and global compliance are growing in irreversible trends,” Majarian elaborated, “and as more field-level users move to digital record-keeping, these tools and the database will only grow in importance over time. We are excited to be on the cutting edge of online technical solutions. Sometimes I call it the ‘bleeding edge’ because it is a little painful to be innovators.”