Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) reports
On Thursday, February 25, 2021, the Flemish Council for Permit Disputes (RvVB) faulted the Flemish nitrogen emission control program (PAS in Dutch), rejecting a demand for a new poultry barn permit in the vicinity of a Habitat 2000 natural area. This administrative court ruled that this temporary Flemish PAS fails to shield natural areas protected by the 1992 Habitat Directive from excessive nitrogen depositions, most of which come from animal production. Two environmental NGOs introduced the legal complaints that led to this potentially far-reaching verdict. The Flemish government vows to expedite the approval of a final PAS, as Flemish politicians fear that this precedent could undermine major investment projects in nitrogen-emitting sectors beyond agriculture, such as industry, transportation, and construction, similar to what happened in The Netherlands after a comparable verdict in May 2019.
The draft Chinese soybean standard contains changes on quality requirements and adds an additional grade for soybeans. This standard, once implemented, will replace the current National Standard for Soybeans, GB 1352-2009 of September 1, 2009. Unlike the current standard, in which only clauses 5.1, 7.1 and 8 are mandatory, the entirety of the proposed new standard is mandatory. The standard specifies the terms and definitions, classification, quality requirements, test methods, inspection rules, labeling, packaging, storage, and transportation requirements for soybeans. The standard is applicable to the purchase, storage, transportation, processing, and sale of commercial soybeans. China notified the new standard to the WTO on February 8, 2021 and requests comments by April 9, 2021. Comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. This report contains an unofficial translation of the draft standard.
On December 25, 2020, the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST) issued the voluntary group standard Plant-Based Meat Products (T/CIFST 001-2020), which provides definitions, technical requirements, and guidelines on the labeling, packaging, transportation, and storage of plant-based meat alternative products. The standard will be implemented on June 25, 2021. This report contains an unofficial translation of the standard.
The eligibility of food and non-food products containing cannabidiol (CBD) in Hong Kong is uncertain, because tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a strictly controlled substance in Hong Kong that can be found in CBD and CBD products. With the growing global popularity of CBD ingredients, the Hong Kong retail market has witnessed the emergence of CBD products. There are second-hand reports of some detained shipments of CBD products, and importers have been questioned by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department. However, there are no reported prosecutions for selling products containing CBD ingredients.
On February 1, the Government of India announced the imposition of a ten percent duty on imported cotton. The country’s textile sector is concerned that the new tariffs will hurt its position in global textile markets by making its value-added products less competitive. Post estimates cotton production at 28.9 million 480-lb. bales in marketing year (MY) 2020/21 on an area of 13.3 million hectares. The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) has purchased 25 percent of the entire current crop under the minimum support price (MSP) program and remains active. Indian fiber and yarn prices remain higher than MSP levels as export demand remains strong, but domestic consumption remains sluggish.
Morocco’s food processing sector plays an essential role in the Moroccan economy, accounting for 6 percent of Moroccan GDP and benefits from excellent infrastructure, world-class manufacturing facilities, and convenient access to neighboring African markets. The U.S.- Morocco Free Trade Agreement provides advantages for U.S. products as tariff rates for many U.S. food products exported to Morocco are phased out.
The Philippine economy plunged 9.5 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remains in one of the world’s longest quarantines. In MY21/22, wheat imports are forecast to decline by 200,000 MT to 6.6 million MT due to dampened hog feed demand caused by African Swine Fever. The disease continues to spread to new regions of the country, including now in the Visayan island of Leyte. Corn production is expected to fall 2.4 percent to 8.0 million MT, resulting from reduced hog and broiler feed consumption and low farm gate prices. Now two years since the passage of the Rice Tariffication Law, Philippine farmers are receiving government support to increase yields and compete with cheaper imports. Milled rice production is forecast up 1.6 percent in MY21/22 to a record 12.4 million MT, while imports are likely to stay unchanged from last year’s level of 2.2 million MT to boost consumption ahead of the 2022 election.
Korea has a strong food processing industry that manufactures a wide variety of food and beverage products. It relies heavily on imports for ingredients. As a result, the Korean food processing industry offers an outstanding opportunity for imported agricultural products for processing use, including basic commodities such as wheat and soybeans, intermediate ingredients such as vegetable oils and fruit juice concentrates, and food additives such as flavors and coloring agents. The food processing industry generated 76 trillion Korean Won ($65.2 billion) in sales in 2019, up four percent from 2018.