ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) hosted a sold-out inaugural Import & Export Seminar the week of Sept. 27. Nearly 100 industry representatives, who work in a range of roles within the livestock feed and pet food industry, gathered to learn about the latest issues, events and other matters concerning the import and export of feed, pet food and ingredients.

This event kicked-off with a presentation from Jane Doherty of the U.S. Trade Representatives’ office (USTR), on the role they play in promoting the trade of feed, feed ingredients, pet food and all agricultural products. Doherty, director of sanitary and phytosanitary affairs, addressed the audience regarding the World Trade Organization and the status of current trade agreements.

Joel G. Newman, AFIA president and chief executive officer, participated in the event and provided an overview of the value of trade for the feed and pet food industries. Newman highlighted that global population will grow 50% in the next 50 years. As a competitive producer of meat, milk, eggs, feed ingredients and additives, the U.S. is positioned to help meet the needs of a growing world population.

"U.S. technology leadership will help the feed and pet food industry continue to grow and maintain a competitive advantage in the future, but we must maintain the consumer confidence and support future technological advances and practical regulations in order to maintain the growth," Newman said.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) provided information on its various divisions, including the

Office of Capacity Building and Development, Office of Global Analysis, Office of Negotiations and Agreements, Office of Scientific and Technical Affairs, Office of Trade Programs and Office of Country and Regional Affairs. FAS representatives also addressed ways they can assist companies with information and services in regards to export market development.

One of the highlights included the presentation from Dr. John Clifford, deputy administrator for USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) Veterinary Services Program. Clifford serves on behalf of the U.S. government at the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). He discussed new OIE mandates including the development of guidelines on animal welfare, food production and safety as well as veterinary infrastructure.

He also provided comments on the OIE pet food chapter as well as issues such as animal diseases and BSE.

The APHIS’s National Center for Import & Export (NCIE) had speakers representing both the import and export of animal products. Dr. Joyce Bowling-Heyward, assistant director of NCIE, provided information to attendees on APHIS roles in export certification. She addressed ways to better understand the exporter’s role in the process and to how access the appropriate resources to accomplish export certification.

Dr. Lynette Williams-McDuffie, senior staff veterinary medical officer, provided information on the importation of animal products to the U.S. FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine presented information on its role in exporting feed, feed ingredients and pet food in terms of providing export certificates.

In addition, FDA’s Division of Import Operations and Procedures supplied information on how to import an FDA-regulated product.

The final topic covered at the seminar addressed the role states play in the export of products. Dr. Bob Waltz, state chemist and seed commissioner for the state of Indiana, discussed its specific role. Although

each state may have slightly different processes or regulations, Dr. Waltz provided insightful information to the attendees on the importance of working closely with state officials.

"I am impressed with the enthusiasm and positive attitude of our members who attended this seminar," said Newman. "Our members and others in the industry came to Arlington, Virginia, to participate in a program agenda that recognizes not only the importance of trade but the need to better understand the various international, federal and state processes involved in the import and export of feed, feed ingredients and pet food."