December 21, 2021

From the Field: In-Market Representative Report – December 2021

Food Export - Midwest and Food Export - Northeast have developed a network of uniquely experienced 19 overseas In-Market Representatives around the globe.  These local marketing experts with food industry experience provide on-the-ground help in assisting Food Export - Midwest and Food Export - Northeast to implement our various programs and services.  

In addition, through regular trade servicing, these local representatives are aware of issues, trends and opportunities for international buyers to connect with suppliers of U.S. agricultural and food products.  Every month we will share with you some of the top market information from the trade servicing reports we receive to help you improve your international exporting efforts.

CANADA

Southern British Columbia has been facing extreme flooding conditions as a result of unprecedented rain fall since November. The infrastructure in the region has been severely impacted. Many roads and rail lines were temporarily closed, which further affected the already struggling supply chains. Livestock feed is being airlifted to areas where roads are still impassable. More extreme rainfall and flooding is expected throughout the season.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has advised that they will allow temporary labelling requirements for packaged products imported from the U.S. for the British Columbia market due to the extreme flooding that has affected the province.

The following food products fall under the temporary labelling exemption:

  • Canned foods
  • Dry pasta
  • Infant food (not including formula)
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Fresh fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Milk
  • Bottled water

For further information and guidance refer here.

CHINA

On January 1, 2022 Decree 248 from China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) will go into effect for U.S. suppliers that want to export food products to China. The decree outlines new facility registration requirements for manufacturers, processors, and storage facilities exporting food products to China.

The GACC has provided very little information about the implementation of this requirement or what the ramifications will be for failure to register. To help facilitate this new decree the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested that U.S. exporters voluntarily submit information to the FDA Export Listing Module (ELM). You can learn more from this FDA update.

We will continue to provide updates on this new decree and its effect for U.S. exporters as the situation develops.

EUROPE

Inflation rates of close to 5% were reported in November 2021. The increase was driven by rising energy costs and shortages of raw materials and equipment in many processing sectors. While the European Central Bank was aiming for a consistent inflation in past years, current jumps are causing unease among trade, consumers, and industry. For U.S. producers, higher prices are generally advantageous especially in the extremely competitive and price-sensitive Central European markets. In the long run however, such volatile pricing levels can destabilize markets resulting in recessions, especially considering the challenging situation in the past two years.

JAPAN

Importers are reporting that delays for incoming shipments from the U.S. are continuing to worsen. This is true for not only the U.S. but for most other exporting countries.

COVID-19 Update

The number of new cases of COVID-19 continues to decline and has been less than 200 per day nationwide in Japan as of the end of November. At the same time the vaccination rate continues to climb with 77% of the population fully vaccinated as of November 30th.

Despite the lower number of cases, most people continue to wear masks when outside the home, and the government continues to encourage social distancing. Japan instituted a ban on entry of all non-citizens/residents from the end of November as a result of the new Omicron variant, for at least a one-month period. Japan had been in the process of easing travel restrictions but is now reverting back to earlier entry ban protocols because of the new variant.

UNITED KINGDOM

Historically the U.S. has been the driving force behind the commercial success of Halloween but year on year, the U.K. is seizing the opportunity to cash in also. This year the sales of pumpkins in the U.K. went up 26% in the four weeks leading up to Halloween.

Drinks Ireland reports that in the wake of rising duties applied on both sides of the pond (in relation to aluminum and steel U.S. imports and the EU’s retaliatory measures) exports of U.S. whiskey and bourbon to Ireland dramatically reduced. Furthermore, U.S. tariffs of 25% as placed on Irish Cream and other Irish liqueurs negatively impacted Irish exports.