newsLabeling and Standars Update: July 2022India: Updates to Labeling and Display Regulations A USDA GAIN report of July 1, 2022, has analyzed the repercussions of new labeling requirements of non-retail containers in India for exporters of US-origin tree nut products.   The amendments proposed in the now operationalized draft pertain to the labeling of non-retail containers, with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) incorporating recommendations from the Codex Alimentarius.   More information USA: Grade Standards for In-shell and Shelled Pecans On June 1, 2022, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a proposed rule to revise the U.S. Standards for Grades of Pecans in the Shell and the U.S. Standards for Grades of Shelled Pecans, by replacing the current grades with U.S. Extra Fancy, U.S. Fancy, U.S. Choice, and U.S. Standard grades. Besides, AMS proposes to update terminology, definitions, and defect scoring guides.   The deadline for comments is August 1, 2022.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-july-2022Food Safety Update: July 2022Codex ML for Total Aflatoxins in RTE Peanuts The INC participated in the 15th Session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF15), from May 9-13 and May 24, 2022. Agenda Item 10 was of special interest, as it discussed the establishment of a maximum level (ML) for total aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts and an associated sampling plan.   Member States did not agree on the intended creation of an international ML for ready-to-eat peanuts. The discussions revolved around establishing an ML of 10 μg/kg or 15 μg/kg.   In conclusion, the CCCF agreed: to return the ML and associated sampling plan to Step 2/3 for further consideration; to re-establish the electronic working group chaired by India and co-chaired by Senegal, to prepare a new proposal for an ML for total aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts, and an associated sampling plan applying the same principles for the sampling plan for peanuts intended for further processing in the Standard for Contaminants in Food and Feed (CXS 193-1995); to present a paper for consideration by CCCF16. More information Canada: New MRLs for Flutriafol On July 18, 2022, Canada notified the World Trade Organization the proposed maximum residue limit (PMRL) for flutriafol in almonds and dried cones.   Commodity MRL (ppm) Almonds 0.6 Hops (dried cones) 20   More information China: MRLs According to a USDA GAIN report, on June 16, 2022, the People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) released two draft National Food Safety Standards for maximum residue limits covering a total of 98 pesticides in foods for public comment.   Nuts and dried fruits are among the commodities covered.   Public comment period ended on July 15, 2022.   More information EU: Temporary Increase of Official Controls and Emergency Measures On June 13, the European Commission published the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2022/913 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 on the temporary increase of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the Union of certain goods from certain third countries implementing Regulations (EU) 2017/625 and (EC) No 178/2002.   Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 lays down rules on the temporary increase of official controls at the entry into the Union on certain food and feed of non-animal origin from certain third countries listed in Annex I, and on the imposition of special conditions governing the entry into the Union of certain consignments of food and feed from certain third countries due to the risk of contamination by mycotoxins, including aflatoxins, pesticide residues, pentachlorophenol and dioxins, and microbiological contamination, listed in Annex II.   Products of concern: Hazelnuts and hazelnut oil from Georgia, a high frequency of non-compliance with the relevant requirements provided for in Union legislation with respect to contamination by aflatoxins was detected during official controls performed by Member States in accordance with Annex I to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793. The frequency of identity and physical checks to be performed on such consignments is incremented to 30%. The Combined Nomenclature (‘CN’) codes 2008191340 and 2008199340 can only be used for mixtures containing almonds or pistachios but not for mixtures containing peanuts. Since only mixtures containing peanuts are likely to pose a risk of contamination by aflatoxins, these CN codes should be deleted for the entries for Argentina in Annex I to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 and for Egypt, Ghana, Gambia, India and Sudan in the table in point 1, of Annex II. The Regulation entered into force on July 3, 2022.   More information EU: Results of F2F Targets on Pesticides On June 15, 2022, the Commission published updated progress towards Farm to Fork pesticide reduction targets for the period 2011-2020. The results show a continued reduction in the use and risk of chemical pesticides. The use and risk of chemical pesticides shows a decrease of 14% from the baseline period of 2015-2017, and a 1% decline compared to 2020. The use of more hazardous pesticides shows a decrease of 26% from the baseline period of 2015-2017, and a 9% decline compared to 2020. Although progress is steady and continuous, the results show that Member States need to do more to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides under the Farm to Fork strategy.   More information EU: New Draft MRLs for Clothianidin and Thiamethoxam Clothianidin and thiamethoxam are neonicotinoid (neonics) insecticides. The most recent risk assessment for bees from the exposure to these substances, conducted under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, found that the exposure from outdoor use leads to unacceptable risks for bees, or such risks could not be excluded based on the available data.   Regulations (EU) 2018/784 and 2018/785 restricted the approval of clothianidin and thiamethoxam, respectively, to use in permanent greenhouses only, and required that the resulting crops stayed within a permanent greenhouse during their entire life cycle. The applicants for the renewal of approval of clothianidin, and thiamethoxam have withdrawn their applications.   According to the new Sustainable Use Regulation (SUR) draft: Imported food containing measurable residues of prohibited substances should over time not be marketed in the EU. This would include food products containing a measurable amount of neonics residues.   New draft MRL for Clothianidin (mg/kg): Commodity Draft MRLs Tree nuts 0.01 Oilseeds and oil fruits (including peanuts) 0.01   New draft MRL for Thiamethoxam (mg/kg): Commodity Draft MRLs Tree nuts 0.01 Oilseeds and oil fruits (including peanuts) 0.01   These regulations shall enter into force on the twentieth day following that of its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union (not yet published). It shall apply from 36 months after entry into force.   More information EU: New Draft MRLs for Benalaxyl, Bromoxynil, Chlorsulfuron, Epoxiconazole and Fenamiphos The European Commission notified the World Trade Organization a new draft Commission Regulation amending Annexes II, III and V to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for benalaxyl, bromoxynil, chlorsulfuron, epoxiconazole and fenamiphos in or on certain products.    The MRLs for these substances are changed in certain commodities. Lower MRLs are set after updating the limits of determination and/or deleting old uses, which are not authorized any more in the European Union or for which a human health concern may not be excluded.   Proposed MRLs for benalaxyl, bromoxynil, chlorsulfuron, epoxiconazole and fenamiphos:   Commodity Draft MRLs Tree nuts 0.01 Fruits[1] 0.01 [1] New draft MRLs for benalaxyl in table grapes and wine grapes are 0.7 and 0.3, respectively.   EU Member States will vote on the proposal at the Standing Committee meeting on September 26-27, 2022.   More information EU: Updated Rules on Sustainable Pesticide Use The European Commission has opened a feedback period on a proposal for a new regulation on the sustainable use of plant protection products, amending Regulation (EU) 2021/2115.   The first objective is to: reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides, in particular those containing more hazardous active substances; increase the application and enforcement of integrated pest management; and increase the use of less hazardous and non-chemical alternatives to chemical pesticides for pest control. The second objective is to improve the availability of monitoring data, including on: the application, use of, and risk from pesticides; and health and environmental monitoring. The third objective is to improve the implementation, application and enforcement of legal provisions across all Member States to improve policy effectiveness and efficiency.   The fourth objective is to promote the adoption of new technologies, such as precision farming that makes use of space data and services (including geospatial localization techniques), with the aim of reducing the overall use and risk of pesticides.   Feedback period ends on September 19, 2022.   More information Japan: Allergen Labeling, Walnuts According to a USDA report of June 10, 2022, Japan’s Consumer Affairs Agency will add walnuts to the list of allergens that manufacturers and importers must include on the label of packaged products containing walnuts. This measure comes as a result of a new longitudinal study on food allergies in Japan.   In Japan, there are currently seven foods that must be labeled as allergens: eggs, milk, wheat, buckwheat, peanuts, shrimp, and crab.   More information Japan: 248th Food Safety Group According to a recent USDA report, at the 248th Food Safety Group meeting, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare proposed revisions to maximum residue levels (MRLs) for nine agricultural chemicals, including etofenprox, fenpyroximate, florasulam, fluensulfone and tetraconazole.   Etofenprox: Commodity Draft MRLs (ppm) Current MRLs (ppm) Peanuts, dry 0.01 0.05   Fenpyroximate: Commodity Draft MRLs (ppm) Current MRLs (ppm) Pecan 0.05 0.05 Almond 0.05 0.05 Walnut 0.05 0.05 Other nuts (refers to all nuts, except ginkgo nut, chestnut, pecan, almond and walnut) 0.05 0.05   Fluensulfone: Commodity Draft MRLs (ppm) Current MRLs (ppm) Cranberry 0.05 0.05 Pecan 0.03 - Almond 0.03 - Walnut 0.03 - Other nuts (refers to all nuts, except ginkgo nut, chestnut, pecan, almond and walnut) 0.03 -   More information USA: Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program The Farm Service Agency is announcing the availability of $200 million through the new Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program. This is for specialty crop operations that incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses to obtain or renew a food safety certification in calendar years 2022 or 2023.   To be eligible for assistance with expenses related to a 2022 food safety certification, the certification must have been issued on or after June 21, 2022. Specialty crops definition includes tree nuts.   The application period for 2022 ends on January 31, 2023.   More information USA: MRLs, Teflubenzuron The Environmental Protection Agency has established new tolerances for residues of the insecticide teflubenzuron in or on grapes and raisins.   Commodity MRL (ppm) Grapes 0.7 Grapes, raisin 0.9   The rule is effective June 6, 2022. The deadline for objections and requests for hearings is August 5, 2022   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-july-2022Marketing Orders Update: July 2022USA: Regulations for Almonds Grown in California The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service comment period on the proposed rule that would amend the Federal marketing order regulating the handling of almonds grown in California ended on July 7, 2022.   Based on recommendations from the Almond Board of California, the proposed rule would change multiple provisions in administrative requirements.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/marketing-orders-update-july-2022Latest Trade News and Agreements: July 2022Belarus: Embargo on Western Vegetables, Fruits and Nuts Imports On June 27, 2022, Belarus' Council of Ministers Resolution No.412 extended the embargo on food products from Western countries until the end of the year.   The import ban applies to a number of goods from Albania, the European Union, Iceland, Canada, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland.   The list of banned goods includes fruits and nuts.   More information Chile: Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures for Imports of Peanuts On July 18, 2022, Chile notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) new phytosanitary requirements governing the importation of in-shell and shelled peanuts (Arachis hypogea) of any origin.   It will enter into force on August 11, 2022.   More information EU: Communication on the Trade and Sustainable Development Review A new communication from de European Commission on Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) identifies policy priorities and key action points to further enhance the effectiveness of the current engagement-based approach to TSD.   The actions are across six priority areas: A comprehensive approach anchored in multilateral agreements and cooperation Country-specific implementation priorities Mainstream sustainability throughout the whole trade agreement Collective monitoring of sustainability commitments in trade agreements Reinforce the role of civil society Strengthen the enforcement of sustainability commitments More information EU: Increased Controls for Certain Organic Products The EU has confirmed increased controls for certain organic product-origin combinations as of July 1, 2022 until the end of the year for reassessment.   These additional control measures have to be applied exclusively to the following products and the operators producing, preparing, trading, storing or exporting organic food and feed with the following CN-codes.   Country CN Code Product China 1202 41 00 1202 42 00 Peanuts Turkey 0806 20 30 0806 20 90 Raisins Vietnam 0801 32 00 Cashew nuts kernels   More information EU-India Free Trade Agreement The first round of EU-India FTA negotiations took place in New Delhi between June 27 and July 1, 2022, with parallel negotiations taking place on investment protection and geographical indications (GIs).   The negotiations were based on the 18 textual proposals submitted by the EU side, which  included trade in goods, rules of origin, customs and trade facilitation, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, sustainable food systems and energy and raw materials.   The second round of negotiations will be held in Brussels from October 3-7, 2022.   More information EU-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement On June 30, 2022, the European Union and New Zealand concluded negotiations for a Trade Agreement that is set to open significant economic opportunities for companies and consumers on both sides.   Highlights of the negotiations include: Eliminating all tariffs on EU exports to New Zealand Ensuring non-discriminatory treatment to EU investors in New Zealand and vice versa Helping small businesses export more through a dedicated chapter on small and medium enterprises Significantly reducing compliance requirement and procedures to allow for quicker flow of goods More information South Korea: Retail Foods A recent USDA report presents an outlook of the Korean retail foods industry, analyzing advantages and challenges for market entry, among other topics. The Korean food processing industry relies heavily on imported commodities and ingredients. Imports of basic and intermediate agricultural products totaled $17 billion in 2021.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-july-2022Sustainability Update: July 2022UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) 2022 convened under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) from July 5-7 and 11-15, 2022, at UN Headquarters in New York City.   The 2022 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) adopted a Ministerial Declaration that strongly reaffirms commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs, “recognizing it as the blueprint for an inclusive, sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerating the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development, leaving no one behind”.   More information  UN DESA: SDG Report 2022 On July 7, 2022, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) released its annual Sustainable Development Goals Report.   Some of the report’s findings include: SDG 2: About one in ten people are suffering from hunger worldwide, with 161 million additional people having slid into chronic hunger in 2020 alone. SDG 6: Meeting drinking water, sanitation, and hygiene targets by 2030 requires a fourfold increase in the pace of progress. SDG 12: 13.3% of the world’s food is lost after harvesting and before reaching retail markets, and 17% of total food is wasted at consumer level. SDG 13: Energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions increased by 6% in 2021, reaching their highest level ever. SDG 15: Ten million hectares of forest are destroyed every year, with almost 90% of global deforestation due to agricultural expansion. More information  UN DESA: World Population Prospects Report 2022 On the occasion of World Population Day on July 11, 2022, DESA’s Population Division released the latest global population estimates and projections.   Key messages include: The world’s population continues to grow, but the pace of growth is slowing down. Policies aimed at reducing fertility would have little immediate impact on the pace of global growth. While life expectancy continues to increase globally, large disparities remain. A rising share of working-age population can help boost economic growth per capita. The population of older persons is increasing both in numbers and as a share of the total. More countries have begun to experience population decline. More information  UNECA: Africa SDGs Progress Dashboard The African Centre for Statistics of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has launched the Africa SDGs Progress Dashboard –an online tool, developed to assist evidence-based policymaking in Africa on the SDGs and Agenda 2063, ‘The Africa We Want’.   The dashboard provides regional, subregional, and country-level data on progress made on each of the Goals, targets, and indicators, along with estimates of how likely those are to be achieved by 2030, based on current rate of progress.   More information  UNEP: Sustainable Consumption and Production Report The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) issued a report on the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (SCP), updating Member States and stakeholders on progress on the implementation of the 10-Year Framework. The report takes stock of the past ten years of action and lessons learned, and provides recommendations to guide policy actions directed at implementation of the Framework’s extended mandate.   The report examines linkages between the SCP and sustainability agendas by highlighting: Sustainable consumption and production, implemented through circular economic models, as a driver of poverty alleviation and economic development. Sustainable consumption and production as a pathway to achieving the Paris Agreement on climate change. How sustainable consumption and production supports biodiversity protection and restoration. Sustainable consumption and production as key for a pollution-free planet and health. More information  GRI 13: Agriculture Aquaculture and Fishing Sectors 2022 On June 28, 2022, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) published its Sector Standard for organizations in the agriculture, aquaculture, and fishing sectors.   GRI 13 addresses: The topics likely to be material for any agriculture, aquaculture or fishing organization, based on the impacts of these sectors. New disclosures on food security, land and resource rights, living wage and income, natural ecosystem conversion, animal welfare, soil health, and pesticides use. The multiplying effect of the sectors when it comes to the Sustainable Development Goals –supporting companies to make the connections between their impacts and all 17 Global Goals. Policy implications for responsible business, based on international frameworks –as set by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO) and others. Sector activities and business relationships include crop production of fruits and nuts.   More information  SDSN Report 2022, From Crisis to Sustainable Development The Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) published the seventh edition of its annual Sustainable Development Report, which includes the 2022 SDG Index, the 2022 International Spillover Index, and Dashboards.   The report warns that “for the second year in a row, the world is no longer making progress on the SDGs.” It shows that the “multiple and simultaneous” crises spanning the areas of health, climate, biodiversity, and geopolitics have hit poor and vulnerable countries hardest, and presents a global plan to finance sustainable development.   The 2022 SDG Index ranks Finland, Denmark, and Sweden first, second, and third, and all top ten performers are European countries. None of them, however, are on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030, given major challenges on several Goals. The 2022 International Spillover Index also reveals that rich countries generate negative socioeconomic and environmental spillovers through unsustainable trade, consumption, and supply chains.   The region that made the most progress on the SDGs since their adoption is East and South Asia, with Bangladesh and Cambodia topping the ranks in terms of progress achieved. Venezuela has declined the most since the SDGs’ adoption in 2015.   The report also notes that, halfway to 2030, countries vary greatly in terms of SDG integration in budgets, policies, and programs. Among the Group of 20 (G20), the United States, Brazil, and the Russian Federation show the least support for the Goals. Nordic countries, on the other hand, as well as Argentina, Germany, Japan, and Mexico exhibit relatively high levels of support for the 2030 Agenda.   More information  ELO: Implications of the European Green Deal for Agri-Food Trade with Developing Countries The European Landowners’ Association (ELO) recently published the study “Implications of the European Green Deal for agri-food trade with developing countries”, by prof. Alan Matthews, Professor Emeritus of European Agricultural Policy, University of Dublin Trinity College, Ireland.   The paper examines how European measures to implement greater coherence between agriculture, trade and Green Deal policies might impact on developing countries. While looking also at other multilateral, bilateral or unilateral trade policy measures, this study focuses mainly on mirror clauses. The objective of the study was to suggest ways to avoid any negative impacts for these countries that might undermine or limit their ability to progress towards the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.   To ensure policy coherence for development, changes to import standards —whether introduced as a mirror clause or not— should meet four criteria: A sufficient transition period to allow alternatives to be developed, applying the principle of special and differential treatment where health and safety of EU consumers is not the issue. The commitment of significant EU resources to help farmers in vulnerable developing countries to adapt their production practices where justified. Those affected by change should be consulted and have a say in managing that change. EU decision-making must include mechanisms where the interests and needs of developing countries are explicitly considered. This should include a full impact assessment to which these countries should have the opportunity to contribute. More information EU: Public Consultation on Bees and Pesticides The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has launched a public consultation on a draft guidance document on the risk assessment of plant protection products and bees, covering honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees.   EFSA is responding to a request from the European Commission to review the guidance document, first published in 2013, considering new scientific knowledge that has emerged in the meantime.   Comments are particularly invited on the novel approaches included in the draft guidance, which regard the risk assessment and the statistical analysis of field studies.   Attractiveness of agricultural crops for bees include almonds, cranberries, currants, peanuts, hazelnuts and walnuts.   Consultation period ends on October 3, 2022.   More information  EU: New Rules on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive The Council and European Parliament have reached a provisional political agreement on the corporate sustainability reporting directive (CSRD).   This directive amends the 2014 non-financial reporting directive; introduces more detailed reporting requirements, and ensures that large companies are required to report on sustainability issues such as environmental rights, social rights, human rights and governance factors.   The CSRD also introduces a certification requirement for sustainability reporting, as well as improved accessibility of information, by requiring its publication in a dedicated section of company management reports.   The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) will be responsible for establishing European standards, following technical advice from a number of European agencies.   Guiding timeline:   January 1, 2024     January 1, 2025     January 1, 2026   1. For companies already subject to the non-financial reporting directive   2. For large companies that are not presently subject to the non-financial reporting directive   3. For listed SMEs, small and non-complex credit institutions and captive insurance undertakings   The provisional agreement is subject to approval by the Council and the European Parliament. The directive will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union.   More information  EU: Agreement on Emissions Reductions under Fit for 55 Package On June 29, 2022, the European Council adopted a common position on EU emissions trading system (EU ETS), effort-sharing between Member States in non-ETS sectors (ESR), emissions and removals from land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), the creation of a social climate fund (SCF) and new CO2 emission performance standards for cars and vans.   The Council agreed to an EU-level greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 40% compared to 2005, for the sectors not covered by the ETS, namely domestic maritime transport, agriculture, waste and small industries.    The Council also confirmed an overall objective of 310 Mt CO2 equivalent of net removals in the LULUCF sector in 2030.   More information USA: Pre-Harvest Agricultural Water Requirements On July 18, 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking to extend the compliance dates for the pre-harvest agricultural water provisions as outlined in the 2021 agricultural water proposed rule.   The proposed rule will require farms to conduct annual systems-based agricultural water assessments to determine and guide appropriate measures to minimize potential risks associated with pre-harvest agricultural water.   The supplemental rulemaking proposes the following compliance dates for pre-harvest agricultural water requirements for covered produce other than sprouts: 2 years and 9 months after the effective date of a final rule for very small businesses; 1 year and 9 months after the effective date of a final rule for small businesses; and 9 months after the effective date of a final rule for all other businesses.   More information USA: Supreme Court Restricts EPA's Authority to Mandate Carbon Emissions Reductions The ruling by the United States Supreme Court against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strips away the power of the agency to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.   By a vote of 6 to 3, the issue at hand was whether the EPA had the right to regulate CO2 emissions on a state-wide, versus an individual company level.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-july-2022INC Launches Latest Dissemination Campaign, EmpowermindOn July 25, INC launched its 2022/2023 Global Dissemination campaign, Empowermind. Aimed at the Gen Z target audience, the campaign will show a natural, holistic way to strengthen brain power & empower lives, by including nuts and dried fruits into a daily diet. The campaign's creativity is new, fresh, and right on trend for the Gen Z consumer with fast-moving motion graphics and bright colors.  The campaign launched with a post explaining to the INC’s Nutfruit social media community what the campaign is about with the aim to get them excited for what is to come in the following months. The INC has also developed four hero videos that that are being shared on social media and are already available on YouTube, with more than 7,000 views over the first three days.  Posts on the INC corporate social media channels have also been published to alert the nut and dried fruit industry, especially INC members, to the campaign and ask for their collaboration in sharing the posts that the INC produces to align the message globally.   Over the next month, the INC will be concentrating the promotion on the four main videos and will then be moving the content into three other areas of focus that came out of the research study discussing the benefits of nut and dried fruits, overcoming the barriers for why people don't eat them by debunking common myths and raising awareness of different ways of consuming nuts and dried fruits.  So if you would like to get involved and help share the message about nuts and dried fruits, stay tuned it to the INC's social media accounts and communications!https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-launches-latest-dissemination-campaign-empowermindGlobal Statistical Review, Dates Following the prior year’s upward trend and due to new plantings, total production in season 2022/2023 is anticipated to grow by 5% from 2021/22. Forecasted at 1.165 million metric tons, top producers’ highest increases are expected for Algeria, +13%; Morocco, +8%; Saudi Arabia and UAE, +7%; and Egypt, +4%.   Consumption is growing based on dates health benefits and availability in the market the whole year-round. The purchasing power of the final consumer is being affected by the increasing inflation rate, thus, a switch to cheaper varieties or lighter packs might be observed. On the other hand, for dates ingredients like powder, liquid sugar or paste, the consumption is rising at double digits, mainly for organic. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-dates-2Global Statistical Review, Pecans Mexico While most of the major producing areas recently received several inches of rain, Mexico continues to suffer through a severe drought. Based on recently released US Customs data, it would appear that the 2021 crop was larger than originally forecasted but still far below the near record crop of 2020; approximately 131,996 MT (the Mexican Government still has not published a final 2021 crop figure). Early estimates of 2022 production, while below 2019 and 2020 levels, appear to indicate a slightly larger crop than 2021; approximately 149,687 MT. USA  The Tri-State Growers Association concluded their annual meeting with the first estimate of the 2022 crop year. Based on input from their membership, they forecast a 2022 US crop of 139,254 MT, approximately 20% larger than the 2021 crop but only slightly larger than the 2020 crop. Growing conditions continue to be favorable, and barring any natural disasters, quality should be good. South Africa A good crop is expected this year after three years of significant weather disruptions. Production is anticipated to double in the next 7-8 years to reach 50,000 MT (in-shell basis) as planted area is still expanding.   The main challenge remains the fact that around 90% of the South African market is focused on China. However, cracking facilities are being developed to produce more kernel, especially for the European market, where demand is picking up. Australia  Between 2018 and 2020, production was affected by severe droughts and 2021 saw the best crop ever since. Crop 2022 is forecasted 13.5% down from last year, at 2,950 MT.   The Australian industry has managed to maintain the supply to meet the growing domestic demand, which keeps increasing. There have been 500 hectares of pecans planted since 2019, adding up to a total planted area of over 2,000 ha and the crop is expected to double by 2030. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-pecans-1Global Statistical Review, Walnuts China Weather conditions for the incoming crop have been excellent, with plenty of chilling hours and good water availability, so, provided that there are no weather disruptions up until harvest, a large production is expected. The crop for the 2022/2023 season is forecasted nearer the potential of 1.5 million metric tons (in-shell basis), at 1.4 M MT, which is a significant increase over the past three years, when production was affected by frosts and drought during the blooming season.   The planted area amounts to around 500,000 hectares and is still expanding as there has been a lot of investment and promotion of new varieties with lighter color and less tannin taste.  USA According to industry sources, due to better-than-expected shipments through May and June, the 2021/22 carryout is estimated slightly lower than previously anticipated. The 2022/23 crop is forecasted at 715,000 MT, up by 9% from 2021/22. Spring conditions were very good for crop development and most growing regions in California have a better crop than last year. Even though there have been some removals of orchards, they were of older low-production orchards and the few that are being replaced are being done with Chandler. Although there has been a slowdown in new plantings, there are still young orchards –that were planted in the past 4-5 years– coming into production. Chile As reported by Chilenut, the 2022 harvesting concluded last May, with a forecasted crop of 170,000 MT, up 4% from 2021. The output is very good in terms of quality, sizes and yield. Extra light and light colors accounted for 93% of the crop. Sizes are within a normal range, with 91% of the crop above size 30. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-walnuts-2Global Statistical Review, Raisins, Sultanas, Currants Turkey As reported during the latest INC Congress, held in Dubai last May, production in the 2021/2022 season was estimated at 290,000 metric tons, and carryover is forecasted to end up between 30,000 and 40,000 MT. According to the Aegean Exporters Association, total exports between September 1 and June 18, 2022, added up to 205,614 MT, up by 12% from the same period last year, and are expected to reach over 250,000 MT by the end of the season. Europe remains the top importer adding up to 105,930 MT YTD.   At the time of this report, the 2022/2023 crop was progressing very well. Rainfall and winter weather conditions were very favorable. Thus, a production of about the same volume as 2021/22 or slightly higher is forecasted. Quality is anticipated to be very good as well. Because of the very attractive price levels, exports are expected to reach 270,000 MT. China The production in China in 2021/22 added up to 220,000 metric tons, which is 16% above the previous season's production. Expectations for 2022/23 are to reach around 220,000 again. Green raisins account for between 60% and 80% of Chinese production and they are mostly destined for domestic consumption. The remaining production is mainly composed of Sultanas and Thompson.   Raisin domestic consumption is increasing in China through home baking and the incorporation of raisins into yogurts or traditional moon cakes. In contrast, there is a decrease in the export quantities due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and the shipment's extremely high freight rates. According to the Chinese Customs database, exports from January to May 2022 accounted for 7,821 MT vs. 9,334 MT for the same period in 2021. The total shipment in 2021 amounted to 20,232 MT.   On the other hand, China imports Sultanas every year, mainly from Turkey, USA and Uzbekistan. In 2021 total imports amounted to 25,326 MT. USA The 2022/23 production is forecasted at 197,000 MT, up by 13% from the 2021/22 production, estimated at 174,000 MT. At the time of writing this report, the crop was developing well. Drought and labor costs in California remain a concern.   According to the U.S. Census Bureau Trade Data, exports between January and April added up to 24,119 MT in 2022, below 25% from the same period in 2021. Iran The 2022/2023 production is forecasted at 220,000 MT, 22% up from the 180,000 MT estimation of 2021/22. Total exports year-to-date through April added up to 78,000 MT. Domestic consumption is estimated at 40,000 MT, but in the first quarter of 2022, it increased significantly, thus, the ending stock is expected to be lower than initially anticipated. Uzbekistan Forecasted at 70,000 MT for the 2022/23 season, the production in Uzbekistan remains stable. Out of this quantity, 20,000 MT are dark black raisins, which are consumed only domestically, mainly because of its high price and demand in the local market. The remaining production is Sultanas. The main export markets for this origin are Russia and China. Europe is the main market for organic Sultanas. By May 2022, the Uzbekistan production was already sold out and factories were already closed, waiting for the new crop to come in. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-raisins-sultanas-currantsGlobal Statistical Review, Pistachios USA Estimated at 1.166 billion pounds (528,000 metric tons, in-shell basis), the 2021/2022 crop ended rather larger than expected. There was increased growth from acreage and the yield per acre was slightly bigger than anticipated as well. The 2022/23 crop is shaping up to be a reasonably good although not a bumper crop. The drought continues to be a concern and last April, the weather was fairly irregular: there was a frost followed by quite warm temperatures that led to an erratic bloom. In contrast, acreage keeps increasing. Therefore, and factoring all of the above, the incoming crop is forecasted at just over a million pounds (470,000 MT).   Demand has been quite strong, in particular in the domestic market, where it has hit record highs; but also, around the world, despite the logistics challenges. The pistachio industry was able to ship to all markets and to cover the Chinese New Year’s demand and also support the strong European consumption. Crop 2021 shipments significantly grew over the previous year and the outlook is to reach 820 million pounds. European demand is stable to growing and Chinese demand grew compared to last year.   The continued growth in pistachio consumption is mainly based on the population increasing health awareness and plant-based protein diets, for which pistachios, being classified as a complete protein (they contain adequate amounts of all nine essential amino acids), are uniquely suited to. Furthermore, from the innovation standpoint, no-shell pistachios are creating new snacking occasions and introducing new consumers to pistachios. Iran  According to the June 2022 IPA marketing report, from a total supply of 140,000 MT at the beginning of the 2021/22 marketing year, 111,000 MT have been shipped (including domestic and export shipments plus adjustments and losses) which leaves an inventory of 29,000 MT at the end of June. The final carry-over for this season is anticipated to end up at 15,000 MT. The 2022 crop forecast stands at 115,000 MT, 15% below the previous year as it was severely hit by spring frost in the southern growing regions.   Crop 2020/21 total shipments hit a 10-year record of 230,000 MT (in-shell equivalent). Kernel exports have also significantly increased over the past two years, reaching 32,000 MT, and there is definitely room for growth in this category, particularly in the usage of kernels as snacks and ingredients. Green kernels and pistachio oil have growth potential as well. Turkey Owing to the 2020/21 bumper crop, the carry-over into 2021/22 was pretty high, 190,000 MT. With an off crop estimated at 68,000 MT, total supply amounted to 258,000 MT. Total shipments (domestic plus exports) for the season year-to-date through June 2022 were forecasted at 123,000 MT resulting in an ending inventory of 135,000 MT. Due to a strong US dollar and following the last year's increased supply, exports hit a record and are estimated to reach 33,000 MT in 2021/22 MY; while domestic consumption is anticipated to decrease, from the average of around 100-110,000 MT to 84,000 MT. Following the 2021/22 off the crop, the 2022/23 production is forecasted at 190,000 MT.   The southeast of Turkey represents around 96% of the overall pistachio production. The areas of Sanliurfa and Gaziantep are the biggest producers, accounting together for 75-80% of the total production, followed by Siirt and Adiyamant, adding up to 392,000 hectares, from which 70% are already bearing. Spain Pistachio production has been growing 500 MT per year until last season when crop reached about 2,700 MT. However, now the new plantings are starting to bear and the growth trend is expected to increase to 1,000 MT per year. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-pistachios-2Global Statistical Review, Brazil Nuts As previously anticipated, in season 2021/2022, production in Bolivia ended up being smaller than the average crop, in Peru, it was stable, with a slight increase in terms of exports, and Brazilian crop/export increased. For the 2022/2023 season, increased overall production for Brazil nuts is expected. The Bolivian crop is forecasted 26% up from the previous season, the Peruvian crop is expected to increase around 10% while the Brazilian crop is anticipated to be 20% below last year.   The 2021/22 marketing year (March to February) was on the lower side of exports. Bolivia’s shipments were lower than in previous years, while Peruvian and Brazilian exports increased. Year-to-date exports through January and February 2022 accounted mainly for the very small carryover of the 2021/22 crop, which went from a small to a very high price at the end of the season.   As discussed during the latest INC Congress, held last May in Dubai, from a supply standpoint, from the processing forward, the overall Brazil nut industry is up-to-date in terms of technology, mechanical cracking and certifications to meet the world market quality demands.   The Bolivian currency is particularly strong as it is fixed against the dollar, which relatively weakens Bolivia’s position towards exports. However, and similar to Peru, the country has been through a period of improvements in factories, leading to an overall better quality. In Peru, the production infrastructure has improved a lot over the last 10 years, allowing this origin to capture more of the international market, to which the currency devaluation has also helped. In contrast, a shift was clearly seen in the Brazilian origin, which went from selling 100% to the international market into selling most of the production to the domestic market, which started to use Brazil nuts as an ingredient in many different products. Currently, lots of Brazilian eat at least three Brazil nuts per day since their health benefits are well spread. International shipments from Brazil are always done when the exchange rates are favorable; which was what happened last year and that is why Brazil exported more than the previous years.   The raw material collection in the jungle remains the main challenge, which all the origins face. So, due to the collection system, in terms of the purchasing of raw materials, pricing can move drastically. Adding to that, currency exchange rates have a dramatic effect on when the product enters the market and sales are higher, being another reason for price volatility. Last season started with a very low price, around two dollars per kilogram, and ended up significantly higher, at around $6.50/kg. Because there was a shortage in production, raw material prices increased, hence collectors were paid more, and that increment translated into higher sale prices. In turn, since demand continued to rise, factories kept buying and paying higher prices in order to increase their volumes. However, owing to the significant carryover from the prior season, last year’s sales into the market were, on average, comparable to a relatively normal year; even with the big price fluctuation. On the demand side, this volatility also presents difficulties. In Europe, one of the biggest markets, when the price went from $2/kg to $6.5/kg, buyers were facing challenges in the supply chain, especially for securing product availability and it impacted retail pricing and therefore consumer demand. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-brazil-nuts-1Global Statistical Review, Cashews As reported during the latest INC Congress, the global 2022/23 production is anticipated to remain within the same range as last season.   As per the Directorate of Cashew and Cocoa Development (DCCD) in India, there are about 20,000 hectares of new plantations coming into production this year. However, this growing season flowering and fruiting were late by 20 to 25 days due to weather disruptions and therefore, the incoming crop is expected to be around 9% below 2021/2022.   Cambodia was under reported last year. The actual 2021/2022 crop has been estimated to be closer to 600,000 MT and it is forecasted at 550,000 MT for 2022/23. A decrease is expected in the Vietnamese crop, which for this season is anticipated to be around 350,000 MT. Both Cambodia and Vietnam's crops were also late and affected by excess of rainfall, explaining the decrease in size of 8% and 13%, respectively. Based on the number of new plantations with high-yielding trees that are coming into production, the continued growth of the Cambodian crop should be expected. There is potential for Cambodia to become a significant producer of raw material going forward and more investment in shelling and peeling is also expected.   Compared with last year, West Africa's total crop is forecasted 10% up from 2021/22. The crop in Côte d’Ivoire is growing further thanks to the plantings that happened in 2016, which are now coming into full yield, and it is expected to keep growing in the near future. Overall, the general outlook for West Africa is good in terms of production volumes, but the challenge for the region remains the total yield compared with Asia. In this regard, there are a lot of projects ongoing to train the farmers on improved agricultural practices in order to improve the yield of 500 kg per hectare versus 1,200 kg/ha. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-cashews-1June 2022 INC Updates & News BriefINC Returns to SIAL Paris in October 2022 In just under 4 months, the INC Pavilion will be present at one of the world's largest food and beverage exhibitions, SIAL Paris; so, mark your calendars for October 15-19, 2022 to come stop by and chat with the INC. The INC Pavilion will be featured in a new location in Hall 8, right next to the entrance. On Sunday, October 16, the INC will host a cocktail, to gather the nut and dried fruit industry in a relaxed atmosphere to network and do business, and the INC would like to say thank you to Almendras Llopis S.A.U. for your generous support and sponsorship of the INC Cocktail. Moreover, if you are interested in one of the last remaining booths, to boost your company's visibility, read more about SIAL Paris 2022. [More information] INC Announces Dissemination Grant Recipients The INC launched the 2022 Call for Promotion and Dissemination Projects with the objective to fund projects aimed at increasing the use and consumption of nuts and dried fruits, whenever such projects cannot fit within the INC's regular dissemination activity, for instance, due to language or geographic barriers. The INC Executive Committee approved the following two projects, as prioritized by the INC World Forum for Nutrition Research and Dissemination, as the beneficiaries of the grant: Project title: “Eat More Dried Fruit —Increase consumer confidence in health benefits of natural dried fruit, growing global consumption”. Applicant: Raisins South Africa NPC, South Africa, on behalf of The Dried Fruit Alliance. Project title: “Nuts as health influencers —Nuts about good health”. Applicant: Nucis Italia, Italy. If you would like to find out more about the INC Annual Call for Promotion and Dissemination Projects, please see Funding Opportunities. See the Photos from the Onsite INC Academia Course The INC Academia onsite course 2022, which took place in Naples, Italy was nothing short of a success as well as the Port visit in Dubai! The experience enabled students to see hands-on how the nut and dried fruit industry works. Click the following link to see images from the course! [INC Academia Onsite Images] INC Shares Highlights from Georgian Nuts 2022 Seminar Last May 19, in Tbilisi, the National Food Agency of Georgia hold the seminar ‘Georgian Nuts 2022: Quality and Value of the Exported Products’, with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The purpose of the event was to discuss advances in the development of the hazelnut industry in Georgia, in terms of quality and exports, with key stakeholders, including both public and private sectors. As part of the work of the Global Hazelnut Project, Mr. Pino Calcagni, Chairman of the INC Sustainability, Scientific and Government Affairs Committee, presented a global statistical review of the state of the hazelnut industry. [More Information] Hazelnut Crop Updates Disseminated by INC Preliminary forecasted at 760,000 MT (in-shell basis), Turkish production 2022/23 is anticipated to remain within this range, but below the bumper crop of 2021/22. Productivity is growing owing to improved farming practices with kernel sizes and quality also improving and kernel yields already at 51-52%. Following a very low off crop last year, Italian production is recovering and the 2022/23 crop is anticipated to reach 140,000 MT. Based on the planted acreage and taking into account unpredictable weather conditions and the inflation adding pressure for growers, the Oregon 2022/23 crop is expected to set a new record of 74,000 MT. [Read more] INC Shares Latest Info on Global Almond Crop The 2022/23 California almond crop is forecasted at 2.8 billion pounds (1.27 million metric tons) with a projected ending stock of 800 M lbs. The USDA NASS May 2022 initial subjective forecast, also situates the crop at 2.8 B lbs., based on a record bearing acreage of 1.37 M acres and a yield of 2,210 lbs./acre. According to the Almond Board of Australia, the projected crop for 2022 is 138,650 MT, down 4% from the previous estimate, mainly due to wet weather during harvesting. [Read more] INC Highlights Global Macadamia Crop As per SAMAC second crop estimate, mainly due to favorable rainfall throughout the season and across the producing regions, the updated forecast for 2022 is 61,288 metric tons of dry nut-in-shell, 6% higher than the first-quarter forecast of 57,723 MT and up 15% from 2021. As reported by the Australian Macadamia Society, the crop forecast has been reduced to 49,340 MT NIS (@3.5% moisture), 10% down from the previous figure of 54,930 MT, as a direct result of the torrential rain and flooding events in New South Wales and Queensland. [Read more] Chilean Walnut Report Disseminated by INC The Chilean walnut harvest has ended and there is a lot of important information and news to share. The estimated size of the current crop is over 170,000 tons, and this figure is very much in line with the initial estimation from Chilenut. Regarding quality, the main parameters have kept within normal standards and although it is still early, preliminary information shows the following results: In terms of color, 66% of the crop is extra light and 27% is light, amounting to a total of 93% in these two ranges. This is higher than last season which was 91% with a small difference in terms of the distribution between both colors... [Read more] INC Highlights News on Product Standards for Macadamias The World Macadamia Organization released the WMO Macadamia Product Standard, aimed at helping customers with the challenges that come with having different product standards. WMO Members ratified the product standard in Dubai, at the WMO Members’ Council Meeting, last May. The standard can be found on the WMO website. [Read more] INC Shares Health Study on Walnuts A study in the Journal of Food Science and Nutrition set out to explore how consistent walnut consumption affects dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia, the imbalance of lipids like LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol, is one of the most commonly related health conditions to cardiovascular disease (CVD). In the study, researchers examined walnut consumption as part of a low-calorie diet and lifestyle modification in a sample of 120 randomly chosen individuals. The sample was then split into a control group (60 people) and an intervention group (60 people). [Read more] International Trade News Monitored by INC This month's news on international trade is highlighted by trade agreements between Ecuador and Chile, Ukraine and the UK, as well as the FAIRS Export Certificates from China. Moreover, read news from the European Union on a free trade agreement with Andean countries, a new publication on agri-food trade, as well as a new initiative for organic food. Finally, learn about the latest agricultural economic fact sheet from South Africa and USA. [Read more] INC Shares Latest Sustainability News In this month’s sustainability update from the INC, you can read about an EU public consultation on sustainable food systems, and a report on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, plus updates from the United Nations on the SDGs too. You can also see news from more world organizations like the FAO and the OECD. Lastly, read about a USDA GAIN report on sustainability trends in the food market for South Korea. [Read more]  INC Reports on Food Safety and Pesticides Updates Read about new regulations from China on aflatoxins and imports, a recommendation from the European Food Safety Agency, as well as a technical report on the placing of pili nuts on the EU market. You can also see an EU Draft to prevent Anoplophora Chinensis, a proposal for changes to Import Checks in the United Kingdom, and raw walnut kernel specifications in Tanzania. Regarding the updates on pesticides, learn about an updated list of active substances approved by the EU, and MRLs for fluopicolide in the USA. [Food Safety] [Pesticides] https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/june-2022-inc-updates-news-briefCrop Quality and Logistic Update Report from Chilean WalnutsBy: Chilenut The Chilean walnut harvest has ended and there is a lot of important information and news to share. 2022 Walnut Crop The estimated size of the current crop is over 170,000 tons, and this figure is very much in line with the initial estimation from Chilenut. Regarding quality, the main parameters have kept within normal standards and although it is still early, preliminary information shows the following results: In terms of color, 66% of the crop is extra light and 27% is light, amounting to a total of 93% in these two ranges. This is higher than last season which was 91% with a small difference in terms of the distribution between both colors. For sizes, 18% are 30/32, 34% are 32/34, 28% are 34/36 and 11% are 36+; this amounts to a total of 91% of the crop that is size 30 or more, compared to 93% the last season. In terms of yield, the reported average is 50.1%; this represents a slight increase compared to the last three seasons in which the average was 49.5%. Rain Effect There was some fear that the rain experienced at the end of the harvest period, between 20 to 30 mm of rainfall measured in the main production areas, could affect the quality, but the information shows that only 15% of the walnuts were harvested post-rain. Within the walnuts harvested after the rain, the affected product was about 25%, which amounts to 3.75% of the full crop, or less than 7,000 tons.   Logistic Situation Although freight prices have gone up steeply, space availability up until the end of May has shown no issues, and shipments are being fulfilled with no restrictions, in contrast to last season when shipments were stalled with many weeks of delays. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/crop-quality-and-logistic-update-report-from-chilean-walnutsGlobal Statistical Review, Macadamia SOUTH AFRICA  As per SAMAC second crop estimate, mainly due to favorable rainfall throughout the season and across the producing regions, the updated forecast for 2022 is 61,288 metric tons of dry nut-in-shell, 6% higher than the first quarter forecast of 57,723 MT and up 15% from 2021. The planted area in South Africa is growing at a rate of 6,000 hectares per annum and production might reach between 80,000 and 100,000 MT by 2025 and 2030, respectively.   Apart from the traditional Chinese in-shell market, the industry has heavily invested in processing infrastructure aiming to develop the kernel market and kernel production is bounded to keep growing. AUSTRALIA As reported by the Australian Macadamia Society, the crop forecast has been reduced to 49,340 MT NIS (@3.5% moisture), 10% down from the previous figure of 54,930 MT, as a direct result of the torrential rain and flooding events in New South Wales and Queensland. However, Bundaberg, the largest producing region, was not impacted by these weather disruptions, and by early May, harvest was well underway in this area. The crop estimate will be further updated in September. CHINA The crop has already reached the 30,000 MT mark in 2021 and for 2022 the prediction is 50,000 MT @10% NIS moisture content (29,900/46,600 MT @3.5 m.c.). The crop growth rate for the next five years ranges between 5,000 MT and 10,000 MT/year. Thus, by 2030, the crop might reach 100,000 MT. This forecast is based on the Yunnan and Guangxi growing areas, which add up to 300,000 hectares and account for 70% and 30% of the crop respectively. KENYA Crop 2022 is forecasted at 41,500 MT, 4% up from 2021. Kenyan production has been steadily growing across the last few years and it is expected to continue at a rate of about 5% per year the next couple of years. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-macadamiaGlobal Statistical Review, Hazelnut TURKEY  As discussed during the latest INC Congress Hazelnut Round Table, over the last few years, supply has increased and Turkey has consistently performed at 700-800,000 MT. Preliminary forecasted at 760,000 MT (in-shell basis), production in season 2022/23 is anticipated to remain within this range, but below the bumper crop of 2021/22.   Although there has not been a significant rise in acreage, productivity is growing owing to improved farming practices. Kernel sizes and quality are also improving and kernel yields are now at 51-52%.   According to the Black Sea Exporters Association, shipments 2021/22 year to date through April 30 added up to 269,200 MT and industry expectations for this season are to reach 330,000 MT. ITALY Following a very low off crop last year, Italian production is recovering. With a potential of 160,000 MT, the 2022/23 crop is preliminarily forecasted slightly below, at 140,000 MT, due to a severe drought affecting the Piedmont production region since last October. Water availability was good in the central and southern producing areas.   Hazelnut production keeps increasing in Italy, up to 20,000 hectares of new orchards were planted over the last five years. The new orchards are located in good areas with adequate water availability, efficient fertirrigation systems, and hence high yields. Organic production has also been growing very steadily and it currently represents 17.5% of the total crop. USA The total planted area in Oregon is approaching 100,000 acres (40,500 hectares). While the old heritage varieties area continues to decrease, the stock planted from 2007 through 2016 with new varieties, around one-third of the planted area, is significantly contributing to building the crop number. The last third is the non-bearing trees planted between 2016 and now. Based on this acreage and taking into account unpredictable weather conditions and the inflation adding pressure for growers, the season 2022/23 is preliminarily forecasted to set a new record of 74,000 MT.   https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-hazelnutGlobal Statistical Review, Almonds USA (California) As discussed during the Almond Round Table, at the latest INC Congress, the 2021/2022 California crop is estimated at 2.9 billion pounds (1.3 million metric tons), with a carry-out of 900 M lbs. The next year's crop is forecasted at 2.8 B lbs. (1.27 M MT) and with projected shipments in the 2.9 B lbs. range, it would result in 800 M lbs. ending stock. The USDA NASS May 2022 initial subjective forecast, also situates the crop at 2.8 B lbs., based on a record bearing acreage of 1.37 M acres and a yield of 2,210 lbs./acre. Winter was dry and water levels continued to be below normal, pollination conditions were favorable, and some regions experienced frost damage that might have affected the nut set but the excellent weather in April helped the crop development.   This year, due to shipping challenges, new commitments and sales have taken two to three months longer than expected. Although pricing continues to be at historically attractive levels to incent demand, there was a very significant increase in supply over a short term, thus, it might take some time for the demand to offset that supply. According to the Almond Board of California May Position Report (published on June 10, 2022), total shipments year-to-date through May 2022 added up to 2.2 B lbs., down by 10.71% from the same period last season. However, monthly shipments in May amounted to 257.5 M lbs., which represented an increase of 17.38% from last year and the highest shipment month of the crop year. This would be suggesting that shipments are starting to improve. AUSTRALIA According to the Almond Board of Australia, the projected crop for 2022 is 138,650 MT, down 4% from the previous estimate of 145,000 MT. Although general kernel quality is expected to be good to fair, the unstable weather (rainfall during harvest and rolling thunderstorms through most of the growing regions) has had an impact on the in-shell quality and on the drying of the late pollinators, Monterrey in particular. Usually, harvest is finished around Easter each year, while this year was still going on by June for the first time in record, mainly due to the weather disruptions, but also because of the global logistics issues, which affected the harvesting equipment availability. The wet weather could result in a further reduction of the saleable product in the months ahead. The lower in-shell volume will likely impact shipments, particularly to China and India, which are the main in-shell markets.   Based on the planted area, a jump of 20,000 MT per year could be expected through the next five years, hitting the 200,000 MT milestone by 2025. However, there are other variables to be considered, such as the drought, which has been affecting the producing region for the last 20 years. SPAIN While the Spanish 2022/23 potential crop was projected at 144,000 MT, the output is forecasted down at 75,000 MT, and also lower compared to the 2021/22 crop, due to a big frost in March and abundant rainfall during pollination.   Planted area continues to grow, over the last year it increased around 20%. Currently, there are over 600,000 hectares planted, from which, 500,000 are already bearing, meaning that in the next few years, 100,000 additional hectares will get into production and supply will continue to grow. Based on the growing acreage, a crop of around 200,000 MT is projected for the year 2030. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-almonds-2INC Shares Highlights from Georgian Nuts 2022 SeminarLast May 19, in Tbilisi, the National Food Agency of Georgia hold the seminar ‘Georgian Nuts 2022: Quality and Value of the Exported Products’, with the support of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The purpose of the event was to discuss advances in the development of the hazelnut industry in Georgia, in terms of quality and exports, with key stakeholders, including both public and private sectors. As part of the work of the Global Hazelnut Project, Mr. Pino Calcagni, Chairman of the INC Sustainability, Scientific and Government Affairs Committee, presented a global statistical review of the state of the hazelnut industry.   The seminar featured presentations by the USAID Agriculture Program, the Georgian Hazelnut Growers Association, the Almond and Walnut Growers Association, Agrigeorgia Ltd., Baraka Ltd., and the Georgian Hazelnuts Exporters and Processors Association. This was an excellent networking opportunity for all those involved in the hazelnut sector to learn from each other about advances in pest and disease management, harvest and drying management, and quality parameters, as well as pressing challenges like the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug, aflatoxins, and logistics.     More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/georgian-nuts-2022-quality-and-value-of-the-exported-productsWMO Macadamia Product Standard RatifiedThe World Macadamia Organization released the WMO Macadamia Product Standard, aimed at helping customers with the challenges that come with having different product standards. WMO Members ratified the product standard in Dubai, at the WMO Members’ Council Meeting, last May. The standard can be found on the WMO website here.   WMO was established in late 2020 to develop a greater understanding and appreciation of macadamias while stimulating growth, creating demand, and providing the long-term foundations for a strong, sustainable market. Current WMO members represent many of the largest macadamia-producing countries: South Africa, Australia, Kenya, Guatemala, Hawaii/USA, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/wmo-macadamia-product-standard-ratifiedPesticides Update: June 2022EU: Updated List of Active Substances Approved under (EC) NO 1107/2009 The Commission has published the Implementing Regulation (EU)2022/801 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 to update the list of active substances approved or deemed to have been approved under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council. For 68 of the active substances listed in Part A of the Annex to Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011, applications for renewal were either not submitted or were submitted but withdrawn, with the consequence that the approval periods for these active substances have expired. Part B of the Annex to Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 lists active substances approved under Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. For 7 of those active substances, applications for renewal were either not submitted three years before the expiry of their respective approvals or were submitted but withdrawn, with the consequence that the approval periods for these active substances have expired. All those substances that are no longer approved or deemed to have been approved following the expiry of an approval period listed for the substances concerned in either Part A or B of the Annex to Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011should be deleted from the Parts A and B, respectively, of the Annex to Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 for the sake of clarity and transparency. This Regulation shall enter into force on June 12, 2022.   More information USA: MRLs for Fluopicolide The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a new regulation establishing tolerances for residues of fluopicolide in or on multiple commodities, including peanut and peanut, hay.   Commodity MRLs Peanut 0.03 ppm Peanut, hay 0.7 ppm   Effective since May 23, 2022. Objections and requests for hearings must be received on or before July 22, 2022.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-june-2022Food Safety Update: June 2022China: Import Regulations and Standards This report published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) presents regulations and standards applicable to food and agricultural imports in China, including changes to existing standards.   According to the report, in 2021 China released numerous regulations and standards, including the revised Administrative Measures on Import and Export Food Safety, revised regulations on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Producers of Imported Food, regulations overseeing variety registration of major crops and the safety assessment of agriculture GMOs, and the full text of the National Food Safety Standard of Maximum Residue Limits for Pesticides in Food (GB 2763-2021).   Peanuts and tree nuts are included among these regulations, such as in the National Food Safety Standard – Code of Practice for the Prevention and Reduction of Aflatoxin Contamination in Food.   More information EU: Recommendation on Monitoring the Presence of Alternaria Toxins in Food The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) recently published a scientific report on the assessment of the genotoxicity of acrylamide. Several new studies reported positive results on the clastogenic and mutagenic properties of acrylamide (AA) and its active metabolite glycidamide (GA). DNA adducts of GA were induced by AA exposure in experimental animals and have also been observed in humans. In addition to the genotoxicity of AA, there is evidence for both secondary DNA oxidation via the generation of reactive oxygen species and for non-genotoxic effects which may contribute to carcinogenesis by AA.   These studies extend the information assessed by the CONTAM Panel in its 2015 Opinion and support its conclusions. That Opinion applied the margin of exposure (MOE) approach, as recommended in the EFSA Guidance for substances that are both genotoxic and carcinogenic, for risk characterization of the neoplastic effects of AA. Based on the new data evaluated, the MOE approach is still considered appropriate, and an update of the 2015 Opinion is not required.   For this reason, the European Commission has recommended that a monitoring of Alternaria toxins, alternariol, alternariol monomethyl ether and tenuazonic acid in foods, particularly in nuts and dried figs, among other products, should be carried out by food business operators.   Food Tenuazonic acid (TeA) (μg/kg) Tree nuts 100 Dried figs 1000   More information EU: EFSA Technical Report on the Placing of Pili Nuts on the EU Market The European Commission received a notification under Article 14 of Regulation (EU) 2015/2283 to place on the market nuts of Canarium ovatum Engl. as a traditional food from a third country (TF). In line with Article 15(2) of that Regulation, the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) was asked by the European Commission whether there are duly reasoned safety objections to the placing on the market of the TF within the European Union.   The TF is proposed to be marketed in the European Union as such, dried and with shells that must be removed before consumption. EFSA considers that the available data on composition and history of use of the TF do not raise safety concerns. Considering the available data, EFSA does not raise safety objections to the placing on the market of the nuts of Canarium ovatum Engl. within the EU.   More information EU: Draft Regulation to Prevent Anoplophora Chinensis On May 18, 2022, the EU notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) on its new draft regulation on establishing measures to prevent the introduction into, establishment and spread within the Union territory of Anoplophora chinensis (Forster) and repealing Decision 2012/138/EU.   Products covered: Plants for planting, that have a stem or root collar diameter of 1 cm or more at their thickest point, of Acer spp., Aesculus hippocastanum, Alnus spp., Betula spp., Carpinus spp., Citrus spp., Cornus spp., Corylus spp., Cotoneaster spp., Crataegus spp., Fagus spp., Lagerstroemia spp., Malus spp., Melia spp., Ostrya spp., Photinia spp., Platanus spp., Populus spp., Prunus laurocerasus, Pyrus spp., Rosa spp., Salix spp., Ulmus spp. and Vaccinium corymbosum.   More information UK: Proposed Changes to Import Checks Food agencies in the United Kingdom are analyzing changing the rate of checks on certain products being imported into the region. The Food Standards Scotland (FSS) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) for England and Wales are undertaking comment periods to cover high risk food and feed of non-animal origin.   Commodities removed from controls:   Commodity Country Hazard Risk Management recommendation Dried grapes (Food) 0806 20 Turkey Ochratoxin A Annex I - Delist Pistachios (Food and Feed) 0802 51 00, 0802 52 00 ex 2008 19 13, ex 2008 19 93 USA Aflatoxins Annex I - Delist   Commodities subject to reduced checks:   Commodity Country Hazard Risk Management recommendation Groundnuts (Food and Feed) 1202 41 00, 1202 42 00, 2008 11 10, 2008 11 91; 2008 11 96; 2008 11 98, 2305 00 00, ex 1208 90 00 20 Brazil Aflatoxins Move from Annex II to Annex I at 10% identity and physical checks Groundnuts (Food and Feed) 1202 41 00, 1202 42 00, 2008 11 10, 2008 11 91; 2008 11 96; 2008 11 98, 2305 00 00, ex 1208 90 00 20 China Aflatoxins Move from Annex II to Annex I -decrease from 20% to 10% identity and physical checks Hazelnuts (Food and Feed) 0802 21 00, 0802 22 00, ex 0813 50 39 70, ex 0813 50 91 70, ex 0813 50 99 70, ex 2007 10 10 70, ex 2007 10 99 40, ex 2007 99 39 05;06, ex 2007 99 50 33, ex 2007 99 97 23, ex 2008 19 12 15, ex 2008 97 14 15, ex 2008 97 16 15, ex 2008 97 18 15, ex 2008 97 32 15, ex 2008 97 34 15, ex 2008 97 36 15, ex 2008 97 38 15, ex 2008 97 51 15, ex 2008 97 59 15, ex 2008 97 72 15, ex 2008 97 74 15, ex 2008 97 76 15, ex 2008 97 78 15, ex 2008 97 92 15, ex 2008 97 93 15, ex 2008 97 94 15, ex 2008 97 96 15, ex 2008 97 97 15, ex 2008 97 98 15, ex 2008 19 12 30, ex 2008 19 19 30, ex 2008 19 92 30, ex 2008 19 95 20, ex 2008 19 99 30, ex 1106 30 90 40, ex 1515 90 99 20 Turkey Aflatoxins Move from Annex II to Annex I at 5% identity and physical checks   Commodities subject to increased enhanced controls:   Commodity Country Hazard Risk Management recommendation Groundnuts (Food and Feed) 1202 41 00, 1202 42 00, 2008 11 10, 2008 11 91, 2008 11 96, 2008 11 98, 2305 00 00, ex 1208 90 00 20 India Aflatoxins Annex II - Increase from 10% to 50% identity and physical checks Groundnuts (Food and Feed) 1202 41 00, 1202 42 00 2008 11 10, 2008 11 91 2008 11 96, 2008 11 98 ex 1208 90 00 20, 2305 00 00 USA Aflatoxins Annex I -Increase from 10% to 20% identity and physical checks   New products requiring enhanced controls:   Commodity Country Hazard Risk Management recommendation Groundnuts (Food and Feed) 1202 41 00, 1202 42 00, 2008 11 10, 2008 11 91; 2008 11 96; 2008 11 98, 2305 00 00, ex 1208 90 00 20 Brazil Pesticide residues Add to Annex I at 20% identity and physical checks   Deadline for FSA comment period is July 7 while the FSS call for input ends on June 29. It is open to food and feed businesses, local and port health authorities, and other stakeholders with an interest in food safety.   More information Tanzania: Raw Walnut Kernels Specifications  This Standard specifies requirements, methods of sampling and testing for raw walnut kernels obtained from walnut tree (Juglans regia L.) intended for human consumption or to be used in the food industry. It lays down specifications aiming at ensuring the safety and quality of raw walnut kernels produced or traded in and outside Tanzania for human consumption.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-june-2022Latest Trade News and Agreements: June 2022Chile-Ecuador: Integration Agreement Enters into Force This agreement, which has a total of 24 chapters, was signed as a result of the interest of both countries in modernizing and deepening the existing bilateral relationship. It includes additional standards in trade facilitation, regulatory aspects, services, e-commerce, among others, and incorporated new subjects with an inclusive approach such as gender, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, environment, labor issues and regional and global value chains and productive linkages. Both countries also made progress in trade liberalization.   The chapters include the creation of bilateral commissions that will be responsible for the implementation and follow-up of what is included in this new Trade Agreement, which will fully replace the Chile-Ecuador Economic Complementarity Agreement ACE 65.   More information China: FAIRS Export Certificates This report prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture lists the major registration requirements and export certificates required for food and agricultural exports to the People’s Republic of China.   List of Export Certificates required by China regarding nuts and dried fruits products: Product Certification Attestation Required Purpose Requesting Ministry All Agricultural and Food products Quarantine Inspection Permit (QIP) Information regarding the content, volume, and physical characteristics of the shipment General Import Certificate GACC Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Forest Products, and Tree Nuts Phytosanitary Certificate APHIS PPQ Form 577 Varies by product. Certifies product is free of quarantine pests Plant Health GACC Certificate of Origin Varies by product. A State Chamber of Commerce or other official body certifies origin from China-approved locations Product Origin GACC   More information EU-Andean FTA: Public Consultation on GIS from Ecuador Ecuadorian authorities have presented to the EU a list of Geographical Indications, protected as Geographical Indications in Ecuador, for protection under the EU-Andean (Colombia, Peru, and Ecuador) Trade Agreement. Products of concern include:   Name Short Description Maní de Transkutukú Peanut   The Commission invites any Member State or third country or any natural or legal person having a legitimate interest, resident or established in a Member State or in a third country, to submit oppositions to such protection by lodging a duly substantiated statement.   Deadline for statements of opposition is July 7, 2022.   More information EU: Monitoring Agri-Food Trade In April 2022, the European Union released a publication on EU- Agri-food trade developments in January 2022. According to the report, January 2022 was categorized by a continuing trend of lower exports and higher imports initiated in the autumn of 2021. This resulted in a significant decrease of the EU trade balance ( -50% compared to September 2021 trade balance), which is slightly above the normal seasonal variation.   EU agri-food trade (exports plus imports) reached a value of €28.3 billion; +25% compared to last year in January, but also +16% compared to the 3-year average. EU exports reached €15.8 billion, +16% compared to last year. EU imports stood up at €12.5 billion, +38% compared to January 2021. These trade flows are rather high when compared to pre-COVID levels: +11% for exports and +22% for exports compared to the 3-year average.   Agri-food trade balance (million euros): Product/period Exports Jan 2022 Imports Jan 2022 Trade balance Jan 2022 Preparations of fruits, nut and vegetables 696 505 191   More information EU: New Initiative for Organic Food The EU has launched a new initiative for imported organic food: Correction of certain elements of the list of recognized control bodies for import of organic products.   EU imports organic products only from a list of authorized control authorities/control bodies and third countries. The purpose of this legal amendment is to carry out certain corrections on this list.   The draft is not yet available. The adoption by the Commission is planned for the third quarter 2022.   More information Ukraine-UK Sign Agreement on Abolition of Import Duties and Tariff Quotas  Ukraine and the United Kingdom have signed an agreement on the abolition of import duties and tariff quotas. The deal will be in effect for 12 months, but may be extended by an agreement between the parties for a new term. According to the Government portal of Ukraine, in 2021, the trade turnover between Ukraine and the United Kingdom increased by almost 57% and amounted to $ 2.2 billion. Moreover, exports intensified (+ 62%), reaching more than $ 1 billion.   More information South Africa-USA: Agricultural Economic Fact Sheet The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has updated their South African Agricultural Economic Fact Sheet to include calendar year 2021. According to the report, bilateral agricultural trade reached record levels of US$860 million last year. Major agricultural products traded between the two countries include tree nuts.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-june-2022Sustainability Update: June 2022EU: Public Consultation on Sustainable Food Systems On April 28, 2022, the European Commission launched a public consultation period on its upcoming proposal on Sustainable Food Systems. It aims to gather opinions and evidence from all relevant stakeholders on key issues related to food system sustainability.   Key elements that the European Commission is considering to include: General minimum standards to be met for foods produced or placed on the EU market and related food operations; Horizontal elements for sustainability analysis in relation to regulated products in the food chain, complementing the existing ‘risk analysis’ principle; Legitimate and proportionate requirements on sustainability for food imports in compliance with EU international commitments, Provision of information on the sustainable performance of food (sustainability labeling), while ensuring consistency with other relevant EU labels (e.g., organic) and taking into account other relevant ongoing EU initiatives; Minimum mandatory criteria for sustainable food procurement in schools and public institutions. The consultation period ends on July 21, 2022.   More information EU: Eurostat Publishes Report on Progress Towards the SDGs The statistical office of the European Union (Eurostat) published on May 23, 2022, the latest report on “Sustainable development in the European Union, monitoring progress towards the SDGs in an EU context”.   The data gathered in the report shows the progress made by the EU over the last five years. This statistical overview is in line with the EU Commission priority areas, such as the Green Deal, the Digital Strategy and the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan.   The report states that the Commission’s NextGenerationEU recovery plan in response to the pandemic, as well as the reforms and investments under the Member States’ Recovery and Resilience Plans, will make a major contribution to achieving the SDGs in the EU region.   Key findings include: Like in previous years, the EU continued to make the most progress towards SDG 16. Significant progress was also made towards the goals of reducing poverty and social exclusion (SDG 1), the economy and the labor market (SDG 8), clean and affordable energy (SDG 7), as well as innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9). Progress towards the goals in the areas of health and well-being (SDG 3), life below water (SDG 14), gender equality (SDG 5), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), quality education (SDG 4), climate action (SDG 13) and zero hunger (SDG 2) was moderate. The overall assessment of EU progress for partnerships (SDG 17) and clean water and sanitation (SDG 6) was neutral, which means that they were characterized by an almost equal number of sustainable and unsustainable developments. Finally, a slight movement away from the respective Sustainable Development objectives over the past five years has been found for life on land (SDG 15), indicating that ecosystems and biodiversity remained under pressure from human activities. While both the EU's forest area and the terrestrial protected areas have slightly increased, pressure on biodiversity continued to intensify. More information FAO: The State of the World’s Forests Released in May 2022, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) biennial flagship report on the state of the world’s forests (SOFO) explores three intertwined forest pathways to achieve green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, while tackling climate change and biodiversity loss, among other multidimensional planetary crises.   The three pathways outlined in the report are: Halting deforestation and maintaining forests, which could help avoid emitting up to 5.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) per year between 2020 and 2050, including about 14% “of what is needed up to 2030” to keep global warming below 1.5°C, and safeguard more than half of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity; Restoring degraded lands and expanding agroforestry, which could boost agricultural productivity and cost-effectively remove from the atmosphere 0.9-1.5 GtCO2e per year between 2020 and 2050; and Sustainably using forests and building green value chains, which would help meet the growing demand for materials and support sustainable economies. To move swiftly along the three pathways, SOFO 2022 identifies starting points, which may include: Channeling funding for recovery towards long-term policies directed at creating sustainable, green jobs and further mobilizing private investment; Empowering and incentivizing local actors, including women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples, to take a leading role in the forest pathways; Engaging in awareness raising and policy dialogue on sustainable forests towards simultaneous achievement of economic and environmental goals; and Maximizing synergies and minimizing trade-offs between the three forest pathways and between agricultural, forestry, environmental, and other policies. The report provides data on Brazil nut production and trade. Production is not economically feasible outside their natural habitat, the Amazon rain forest, meaning that all of the Brazil nuts traded worldwide are collected in this pristine forest, becoming a cornerstone of Amazon conservation.     The report was released on the opening day of the XV World Forestry Congress in Seoul, Republic of Korea, which took place from 2-6 May 2022. And also, ahead of the 17th session of the UN Forum on Forests, convened from 9-13 May at UN Headquarters in New York, US, which discussed the implementation of the UN strategic plan for forests 2017-2030 (UNSPF) and considered forest-related multilateral developments.   More information OECD: SDG Targets on the Short Road to 2030 The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published on April 28, 2022, a report on the progress of its 38 member countries towards the SDG targets and the likelihood of meeting them by 2030. According to the report, OECD countries have met or are close to meeting 25% of the targets for which performance can be measured.   It also highlights the current “blind spots” in SDG statistics for OECD countries. The report titled, ‘The Short and Winding Road to 2030: Measuring Distance to the SDG Targets,’ finds that progress towards 21 targets is “way off track.”   Ten targets have been met, and another 18 are close to being fulfilled. Many of these relate to basic needs, covering areas such as: access to sanitation, fresh water and energy; reducing maternal and infant mortality; access to early childhood education; providing modern education facilities; and affording legal identity to all citizens.   More information South Korea: Sustainability Trends in the Food Market The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published on April 22, 2022, a GAIN report highlighting Sustainability Efforts and Trends in the Korean Food Market. According to the USDA, an increasing number of Korean customers are making values-based consumption decisions and are willing to pay more for eco-friendly products. Consequently, Korean food companies are increasingly prioritizing environment, social, and governance factors.   More information UN: Building Back Better from COVID-19 while Advancing the SDGs Released on May 4, 2022, this report highlights strategies that countries could consider with a view to building back better from the COVID-19 pandemic while advancing the full achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report offers analysis and policy recommendations to inform discussions at this year’s high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council. It has benefited from substantive contributions made by United Nations system entities and others, and is complemented by the report E/HLS/2022/_ on “Long term future trends and scenarios - impacts in the economic, social and environmental areas on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals”.   The report outlines the UN’s efforts in implementing a three-pronged COVID-19 response strategy through: strengthened health response under the Updated COVID-19 Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan; a humanitarian response led by the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs; and a transformative and sustainable recovery grounded in the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda led by the UN Sustainable Development Group.  More information UN: Secretary-General’s Report Presents Pathway to Reach SDGs On May 4, 2022, UN Secretary-General António Guterres issued a report that takes stock of recent technological and policy trends and their impacts on the achievement of the SDGs. It outlines a Sustainable Development Pathway (SDP) that would allow to realize the SDGs and global climate goals with the help of new technologies and policies that build on synergies and trade-offs among the SDGs.   Among the actions that need to be taken to deliver the SDGs and global climate goals “in the coming years and by 2050,” the report recommends: using the Summit of the Future in September 2023 to explore scenarios such as the Sustainable Development Pathways to help guide efforts, policies, financial resources, and science and technology to help achieve the SDGs; accelerating actions on SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy) by implementing the SDG 7 Global Roadmap and delivering on the Energy Compacts; strengthening international cooperation on scenario analysis and science and technology solutions for the SDGs; and encouraging the UN system to provide capacity-building support for the development of national sustainable development scenarios. More information UNCCD: Global Land Outlook The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has released the second edition of its flagship report, ‘Global Land Outlook: Land Restoration for Recovery and Resilience’ (GLO2). The publication outlines various future land scenarios, and highlights the potential contributions of land restoration investments to climate change mitigation, biodiversity conservation, poverty reduction, and human health, among other SDGs. GLO2 shares evidence-based strategies and “flexible pathways for countries and communities to design and implement their unique land restoration agenda”.   According to the report, four of the nine planetary boundaries, which define a “safe operating space for humanity,” have already been exceeded. Breaches related to climate change, biodiversity loss, land use change, and geochemical cycles are also “directly linked to human-induced desertification, land degradation, and drought.”   More informationhttps://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-june-2022May 2022 INC Updates & News BriefOver 1,100 Attend the INC Congress in Dubai The 39th World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress was held from May 11 to 13, 2022 at the luxurious Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai. More than 1,100 industry professionals from 64 countries came together to discuss and debate the most pressing topics for the sector such as market development, sustainability, nutrition research, and the opportunities and threats that the nut and dried fruit industry currently faces.  The Congress featured insightful roundtables providing statistics and knowledge on the industry, expert keynote and guest speakers, exceptional social events that promoted networking amongst the participants, and an exhibition area where companies could showcase their products and services. Moreover, the INC celebrated excellence in the sector by giving several awards over the three days of the event. [Read more] [Highlights Video] [Official Images] 2021/2022 Annual Report from the INC The INC is pleased to share the 2021/2022 Annual Report. This year's report provides a high-level look at the past year with sections on Who We Are, What We Do, Industry Funding, Marketing and Communication, and Technical Projects. Each chapter of the report provides a glimpse into the INC's activities and how over the past year, the INC worked to strive toward its mission of stimulating and facilitating sustainable growth in the nut and dried fruit industry. [Read More] INC Releases 2021/2022 Statistical Yearbook  The INC is pleased to announce the release of the 2021-2022 edition of its Statistical Yearbook, which provides an overview of the last decade's trends in nut and dried fruit production and consumption, as well as individual chapters for each nut and dried fruit. Each ad hoc section delves into the main producing, exporting, importing, and consuming countries, analyzing current and 5-year average shares, along with 10-year historical series. [Read more] INC Academia Onsite Course in Naples, Italy a Success The onsite course within the Advanced Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits has come to a close. Students who participated in the three-day program were able to learn from prestigious professors such as Miquel LLadó and Kandarp Mehta from IESE Business School and visit orchards from Maurizio Cervone and the Teano Region, as well as processing plants from Besana and Italian Confetti. Watch the recap video by clicking the play on the left-side image! The online Programs of the INC Academia are still open and provide a great opportunity to expand your business's knowledge of the nut and dried fruit industry. See what program best fits your need! [More Information] Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: A Global Threat for Hazelnut Production? On May 25th, 2022, Edagricole hosted a webinar in collaboration with the INC Global Hazelnut Project covering the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and how it is affecting hazelnut production. INC 2nd Vice Chairman, Pino Calcagni participated in the opening of the webinar. The session featured a wide range of experts from Italy, Turkey, Georgia, and the USA who touched on the current status of BMSB in their respective regions, and different plans and tools to minimize the negative effect of BMSB. [Program] INC Releases Full 2021 Border Rejections Report The INC has released the full 2021 Border Rejections report. Last year, the European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) issued a total of 392 notifications. In the United States, notifications for edible nuts in 2021 increased by 10% compared to the previous years (45 notifications). In Japan, notifications for edible nuts and dried fruit increased by 12% compared to 2020 (from 89 to 100 not.), after two years of subsequent decreases in the number of total notifications. Australia issued 48 notifications for nuts and dried fruits in 2021, an increase of 20% compared to the previous year. [Read more] INC Shares Health Study on Cranberries A recently published article in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition aims to analyze how consumption of freeze-dried cranberries affects cognitive function. Cognitive decline occurs as people age, however, there are certain controllable factors that may help protect against the decline. While diet is considered to be a controllable factor against cognitive decline, there is scarce research on how cranberries affect cognitive function in older adults. Researchers completed a 12-week parallel randomized placebo-controlled trial with 60 adults aged between 50-80 years. The study assessed cognitive assessment indicators such as...[Read More] New Study on Peanut Allergies Disseminated by the INC New research has been published in the journal Allergy which looks at how the body undergoes immunological changes that may support the remission of peanut allergies in children. Previously there was little known about how the body successfully acquires remission of the peanut allergy, and this article uses probiotic peanut oral immunotherapy to analyze this more in-depth. The study included 62 children from Australia aged between 1 and 10 years who were peanut allergic. The children were split into two groups, one that received a combination treatment of probiotic and oral immunotherapy, and another which acted as a...[Read More] INC Announces European Commission School Scheme Consultation The Commission has launched a review of the EU school scheme as part of the Farm to Fork Strategy with the goal of creating a favorable food environment that makes it easier to choose a healthy and sustainable diet. The review will contribute to Europe’s Beating Cancer plan to improve health promotion through access to healthy diets and to the Action plan for the development of organic production. The scheme has been applicable since 2017 and has supported the distribution of fruit, vegetables, milk, and milk products to schoolchildren and educational activities to encourage the adoption of healthy habits. The consultation is in the form of a questionnaire and will run until July 28, 2022. One of the questions regards possible products to be included in the scheme, including nuts and nut-based drinks (e.g., almond drink).  [More Information] https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/may-2022-inc-updates-news-briefINC Releases Import Border RejectionsINC monitors import border rejections in Europe, USA, Australia and Japan, analyzing the trends and monitoring the causes and origins. All the information is published annually in the INC Import Border Rejections Report. You can find a recap below or view the full report.   2021 Import Border Rejections EU-RASFF. Notifications for edible nuts in 2021 increased by 14%, compared to the previous year. In terms of dried fruits, 2021 total notifications displayed a decrease of 5% compared to 2020. The main reason for notifying was aflatoxins. The most notified edible nuts were peanuts, followed by pistachios and hazelnuts. As for dried fruits, figs, raisins and dates were the most notified. Source: European Union’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) Portal     USA. The number of notifications for edible nuts and dried fruits in the US was higher (10% and 20% respectively) than in 2020. Peanuts and pistachios were the most notified edible nut, with 11 notifications each. Dates were the most notified dried fruit, accounting for almost 60% of the total notifications. The main reason for notifying edible nuts was salmonella (56% of total); for dried fruits it was filthy (76%). Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration Import Refusal Reports for OASIS Japan. Notifications for edible nuts and dried fruits increased by 12% with respect to 2020, from 89 to 100 notifications, after two years of subsequent decreases in the number of total notifications. Peanut was the most notified nut (49 not.) and the presence of aflatoxins was the main reason for almost all of the notifications (97 not). Figs were the most notified dried fruit. Source: Imported Foods Inspection Services. Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan Australia. The number of notifications increased by 20% in comparison with the previous year. The most notified edible nuts were peanut products (22 not.) and peanuts (11 not.) while the most notified dried fruits were raisins (7 not.) and dates (2 not.). The main reason for notifying edible nuts and dried fruits was aflatoxins and pesticides. Source: Failing food reports. Australian Government, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment  https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-releases-import-border-rejectionsJoin the Webinar Brown Marmorated Stink Bug: A Global Threat for Hazelnut Production?On May 25th, 2022 from 14:00 - 17:00 (CEST), Edagricole will host a webinar in collaboration with the INC Global Hazelnut Project covering the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug and how it is affecting hazelnut production worldwide. INC 2nd Vice Chairman, Pino Calcagni will participate in the opening of the webinar. The session will feature a wide range of experts from Italy, Turkey, Georgia, and the USA who will touch on the current status of BMSB in their respective regions, and different plans and tools to minimize the negative effect of this pest. It will be followed up with a Q&A session. The event will be in English with simultaneous translation into Italian, Georgian, Serbian, Spanish and Turkish. [Program] [Register for Free Now] https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/join-the-webinar-brown-marmorated-stink-bug-a-global-threat-for-hazelnut-productionOpportunities to Grow Demand and Consumption in the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry Amid an Elevated SupplyMay 16, 2022, Dubai, UAE. The 39th World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress was held from May 11 to 13, 2022 at the luxurious Madinat Jumeirah Resort in Dubai. More than 1,100 industry professionals from 64 countries came together to discuss and debate the most pressing topics for the sector such as market development, sustainability, nutrition research, and the opportunities and threats that the nut and dried fruit industry currently faces. His Excellency Mohammed Saeed Al Nuaimi, the Assistant Undersecretary in the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment from the United Arab Emirates welcomed the delegates to the congress and highlighted how Dubai continues efforts to attract investments and build a sustainable industry. Global Statistical Update on Nuts and Dried Fruits World tree nut production in the 2022/2023 season is anticipated to reach 5.4 million metric tons (kernel basis, except pistachios in-shell), up 6% from the previous season, as discussed by industry leaders at the Congress round tables. Although it is still early in the season to predict the crops' final outcomes, the most substantial increases are projected for walnuts (up by 18%), Brazil nuts (18%), cashews (8%), hazelnuts (7%), pistachios and macadamias (5% each), and pecans (3%). The almond crop, forecasted at over 1.6 M MT, is expected to be very similar to the 2021/22 crop. According to early estimations, world peanut production in 2022/23 is foreseen to amount to 47.8 million MT (in-shell basis). Global dried fruit production has been forecasted at 3.2 million MT, up 4% from 2021/22, as world volumes are expected to increase for dried cranberries (up 16%), prunes (6%), dates and dried figs (5% each) and raisins, Sultanas and currants (3%). Throughout the round tables, a common theme was that the industry, in general, is facing an oversupply that in turn has led to lower prices. It was agreed upon by industry leaders that the sector has to come together to promote consumption of nuts and dried fruits in efforts to rebalance the supply and demand. Shipping delays and increased freight costs also have strained the industry, however, there remain many opportunities to grow. A significant opportunity for the industry to grow consumption is focused in the high growth opportunities in markets such as India and China, and through a focus on innovation and e-commerce. An Expert-Led Three-Day Program Mr. Sunny Verghese, the Co-Founder and Group CEO of Olam International gave a stimulating Keynote speech touching on ways we can successfully and sustainably improve the food and agricultural system. Mr. Verghese also highlighted the growing challenges that the agricultural sector faces such as inflation. Meanwhile, Mr. Saket Modi, the Co-Founder and CEO of Safe Security provided insights into the importance of cybersecurity for firms and how they can better mitigate any potential cyber threats through cyber risk quantification in real-time.   A new round table, Matching Supply Chain to Production and Consumption Trends: Looking Into the Future, was introduced this year, led by INC Chairman, Michael Waring. The session took a deep look into one of the industry’s biggest challenges, how to rebalance supply and demand, and how the sector can take advantage of new trends to grow consumption in the coming years. Some of the biggest opportunities for growth mentioned by the panelists were the Indian market and the rapidly growing Generation Z.   The Sustainability Seminar was headlined by Ms. Marta Moren Abat, the International Relations Coordinator for the Directorate General for Maritime and Fisheries at the European Commission. In her presentation, she discussed various measures that can be taken to improve water conservation such as water transfers, reuse, repricing, alternative plant selection, desalination, and efficient irrigation. Moreover, her speech touched on several other possible solutions that the nut and dried fruit industry could play a role in protecting water resources.   Turning to the Nutrition Seminar, Dr. V. Mohan, Chairman of Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialties Centre & President of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation in India spoke on the effect of nut consumption in Indians with Type 2 diabetes, while Assoc. Prof. Cesarettin Alasalvar, Director of Food Institute at TÜBİTAK Marmara Research Center in Turkey presented on the nutrients and health benefits of dried fruits. The INC Executive Director, Goretti Guasch also gave a presentation on how to empower minds and stimulate consumption, highlighting the need for the industry to come together to tackle oversupply. Ms. Guasch touched on the INC’s latest trend research, which was a main driver in the decision to roll out a multiyear country specific campaign to six key global markets. The campaign will be directed at Gen Z, a rapidly growing generation who is poised to drive markets for the next decade. It was also announced that the 2023 INC Congress is scheduled to take place in London, UK, from May 22-24, 2023. Recognition in the Industry The INC Awards, handed out annually as part of the INC Congress, are aimed at recognizing outstanding leaders and visionaries who contribute to the excellence of the nut and dried fruit industry. In Dubai, the Corporate Golden Nut Award was presented to ofi, and the Excellence in Research to Prof. Jordi Salas-Salvadó. Furthermore, Dr. Karen Lapsley was recognized for her Outstanding Service to Research in Almonds with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Chef Akmar Anuar was awarded Excellency in Gastronomy, and the Innovation Award was presented to ofi and their Cashew Nut Oil Dipping Sauces & Dressings. Download the press release. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/opportunities-to-grow-demand-and-consumption-in-the-nut-and-dried-fruit-industry-amid-an-elevated-supplyINC Shares 2021/2022 Annual ReportThis year's report provides a high-level look at the past year with sections on Who We Are, What We Do, Industry Funding, Marketing and Communication, and Technical Projects. Each chapter of the report provides a glimpse into the INC's activities and how over the past year, the INC worked to strive toward its mission of stimulating and facilitating sustainable growth in the nut and dried fruit industry. The section Who We Are provides an overview of the INC's structure, mission and objectives, and its dedication to sustainability. What We Do highlights the INC's principal activities such as the Annual Congress, INC Pavilions, the INC Academia, and publications, including the Nutfruit Magazine. The third section of the report, Industry Funding, discusses how the INC financially supports and promotes the industry through INC-funded research and the annual dissemination campaign aimed at promoting the global consumption of nuts and dried fruits. The Marketing and Communication part gives insights into how the INC connects with consumers through recipes, social media, consumer research, and the INC's digital marketing strategy. The final chapter of the report, Technical Projects, features insights on the activities of the INC related to nutrition, international regulations/standards, global industry statistics, and more.   Access the entire 2021/2022 Annual Report now. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-shares-2021-2022-annual-reportDubai Set to Welcome the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry for the 39th INC CongressMay 4, 2022. Over 1,100 industry professionals from more than 60 countries will gather under one roof for the 39th World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress from May 11-13, 2022, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, organized by the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC). The INC Congress is the only international event purely dedicated to the nut and dried fruit industry, and the stimulating three-day program will provide attendees with the latest look into the industry from the sector’s top leaders. A series of roundtables on the products under the INC umbrella, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, dates, dried apricots, dried cranberries, dried figs, prunes, raisins, sultanas, and currants will give updates on the latest statistics on production, consumption, and trade. Moreover, 40 companies will have a booth and exhibit their latest products and services. The congress will also feature two highly respected Keynote Speakers, and seminars on sustainability and nutrition research. Mr. Sunny Verghese, the Co-Founder and Group CEO of Olam International, and Mr. Saket Modi, Co-Founder and CEO of Safe Security will give presentations as the Congress’ Keynote Speakers. The Sustainability Seminar will be headlined by Ms. Marta Moren Abat, the International Relations Coordinator for the Directorate-General for Maritime and Fisheries at the European Commission. Her presentation will cover water resources opportunities and challenges and the relation to agriculture and food security. The Nutrition Research Seminar will feature two guest speakers, Dr. V. Mohan, Chairman of Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialties Centre & President of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation in India, and Assoc. Prof. Cesarettin Alasalvar, Director of Food Institute at TÜBİTAK Marmara Research Center in Turkey. Dr. Mohan will speak on the effect of nut consumption in Indians with Type 2 diabetes, while Assoc. Prof. Alasalvar will discuss the nutrients and health benefits of dried fruits. INC Awards The INC Awards recognize outstanding contributions to the nut and dried fruit business. The Corporate Golden Nut Award will be presented to ofi, and the Excellence in Research will be presented to Prof. Jordi Salas-Salvadó. Furthermore, Dr. Karen Lapsley will be recognized for her Outstanding Service to research in almonds with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Download the Press Release here.https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/dubai-set-to-welcome-the-nut-and-dried-fruit-industry-for-the-39th-inc-congressINC Releases 2021/2022 Statistical YearbookThe INC is pleased to announce the release of the 2021-2022 edition of its Statistical Yearbook, which provides an overview of the last decade's trends in nut and dried fruit production and consumption, as well as individual chapters for each nut and dried fruit. Each ad hoc section delves into the main producing, exporting, importing, and consuming countries, analyzing current and 5-year average shares, along with 10-year historical series.   The study indicates that global tree nut production (kernel basis, excluding pistachios in shell) has risen steadily over the last decade, reaching over 5.1 million metric tons in 2021/2022, down 6% from the previous season's record but 50% higher than 10 years before. Almonds and walnuts contributed for 32% and 19% of global production, respectively, followed by cashews (17%), pistachios (15%), and hazelnuts (11%). Pecans, macadamias, pine nuts, and Brazil nuts accounted for the remaining 6%. Similarly, tree nut exports (shelled except for in-shell pistachios) have shown an upward trend, with an average annual growth rate of 99,700 MT, reaching around 3 M MT by 2020. Global consumption, estimated at 5.2 M MT, increased at an average rate of 210,800 MT per year.   In the last two seasons, total peanut production surpassed the 50 M MT threshold. In 2021/22, it was estimated at over 50 M MT (in-shell basis), 2% below the previous season, yet 35% up from 2012/13. On average (2017/18-2021/22), China and India added up to 37% and 13% of the global crop, respectively. Nigeria ranked third with 9%, followed by the US with 6%, Senegal, and Argentina with 3% each. Total shelled peanut exports exceeded 2.6 M MT in 2020, with an average annual growth rate of 140,800 MT over the previous decade. Global consumption expanded at a pace of 1.2 M MT per year, to around 51 M MT.   Over the last decade, world dried fruit production has shown a positive trend, amounting to about 3.1 M MT in 2021/22. Dried grapes (raisins, Sultanas, and currants) represented 43% of the total share. Table dates accounted for the following 36%, prunes (6%), dried apricots (5%), dried cranberries (5%), and figs (5%) added to the remaining 21%. Dried fruit exports reached around 2.8 M MT in 2020, expanding at an average rate of around 73,100 MT each year. Total consumption amounted to 3 M MT and rose at an average of 63,900 MT per year throughout the previous ten years. Download the INC Statistical Yearbook 2021/2022. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-releases-2021-2022-statistical-yearbookApril 2022 INC Updates & News BriefA Sustainable INC Congress in Dubai As the INC heads to Dubai from May 11-13 for the return of the World Nut & Dried Fruit Congress, sustainability is at the forefront. The INC plans to host a sustainable event, described by UNEP as "organized and implemented in a way that minimizes potential negative impacts and leaves a beneficial legacy for the host community and all involved." In efforts to reach this goal, initiatives are being pursued to improve the menu's sustainability through locally-sourced, seasonal, and organic products, as well as minimizing food waste. Moreover, the INC is encouraging participants to embrace the 3 R's (reduce, reuse, and recycle) and push a paperless initiative. To support local communities, the INC encourages attendees to purchase goods and souvenirs that are locally produced to support local businesses and commercial activities. And of course, the INC aims to raise awareness of industry challenges and their impact on societies, economies, and our planet. Join us in helping make the Dubai Congress a sustainable event! We look forward to seeing you there! [Congress Information] INC Chairman Michael Waring Presents at the Australian Nut Conference INC Chairman, Mr. Michael Waring represented the INC at the 2022 Australian Nut Industry Council Conference which took place March 23-25 in Melbourne, Australia. Mr. Waring presented a global overview of the supply and demand trends for the tree nut industry over the past ten years. Furthermore, he shared a summary of the INC sustainability agenda and ongoing projects. The presentation was attended by delegates from across the entire Australian supply chain. [Read more] Check out the Industry's Top Education Programs  Take a look at the Basic Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits and the Advanced Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits to see what all is covered in each program and how they can help grow your company's knowledge! The Advanced Program also has the option to get hands-on with the On-site portion of the program. Once students complete the program, they will receive a diploma. See which program best suits your needs and if you're still not convinced, enjoy a free Industry Master Class! [More information]   INC Monitors Global Shipping Situation  As Shanghai, home to the world’s largest port continues to be under strict lockdowns amid COVID-19 cases, the future of the global supply chain is once again uncertain. In an interview with Fox Business, Mario Cordero, Director of the Port of Long Beach has expressed concern that the lockdowns could soon start affecting the Californian ports. Cordero stated that if China continues with a zero-COVID policy, supply chain disruptions could stretch...[Read more] Nutfruit Country Product Spotlight  Hazelnuts from Turkey makes the seventh edition of the Country/Product Spotlight in the Nutfruit magazine. This report gives an in-depth look at the hazelnut industry in Turkey. The first section covers topics like production, consumption, and trade, touching on some of the most important numbers and data. Health and new products are touched on in separate sections. Moreover, Dr. Celal Tuncer contributes a feature article on the status of the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug in Turkey. [Read more]                INC Follows up on the 2022 Australian Macadamia Crop Forecast As reported by the Australian Macadamia Society, the 2022 Australian macadamia crop is expected to be impacted by the recent severe weather and flooding in NSW and South East Queensland. Early predictions are that up to 10% of the crop may be lost in the regions affected by the weather conditions, although AMS CEO Jolyon Burnett says it is still too early to quantify. [Read more]  INC Shares New Health Study on Brazil and Cashew Nuts In a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers aimed to reveal some of the potential health benefits of Brazil and cashew nuts. There have been many studies that examine how consuming tree nuts can be beneficial for health, however, research remains the most limited on Brazil and cashew nuts. This study was conducted as a randomized controlled parallel 8-week dietary energy-restricted intervention trial. The participants included 40 women who were at cardiometabolic risk and they were divided into...[Read more]  Cranberries: INC Highlights New Health Study The journal Food & Function has published a recent study that looks at the health benefits of cranberry consumption. While there have been previous studies highlighting the cardiovascular health benefits of cranberry juice consumption, there is a lack of research on the consumption of whole cranberries. The researchers investigated the health benefits of daily consumption of freeze-dried whole cranberries in healthy men. The study was a 1-month double-blind, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial with 45 healthy...[Read More]  INC Highlights New Study Supporting Omega-3 ALA Consumption A new meta-analysis published in the journal Advances in Nutrition has looked deeper into the effect of linolenic acid (ALA) on cardiovascular disease and cognition. While there is evidence of the health benefits of plant-based diets and omega-3 fatty acids, more needs to be understood about the role of linolenic acid (ALA), which is a plant-derived n-3 fatty acid. Walnuts are a major food source for ALA. Meta-analyses of observational studies have shown that an uptick in dietary ALA is associated with a 10% decrease in the risk of total...[Read More] INC Shares Latest Sustainability News In this month’s sustainability update from the INC, you can read about the UN Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean forum to highlight key elements for achieving the SDGs, an EU policy brief on the environmental impact of agricultural production, a call from the EU for feedback on corporate sustainability due diligence, a new initiative from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and several more reports from the United Nations such as the 2022 World Water Development Report. [Read more] International Trade News Monitored by INC This month's news on international trade is highlighted by the new interim trade agreement signed by Australia and India, the EU's latest agri-food trade report, and the Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Package. Also covered is a new trade agreement between the UK and Canada as well as agriculture cooperation promoted in a dialogue between Vietnam and New Zealand. [Read more] INC Reports on Latest Food Safety, Pesticide Updates, Labeling, and Marketing Orders Read about new regulations from Chile regarding phytosanitary import requirements for peanuts, a call from the European Food Safety Authority for data on contaminants, and a letter from some Latin American countries requesting EU answers on import tolerances, as well as a country report from South Korea. Pesticide news features the EFSA's annual report on pesticide residue levels in food and the national summary reports analysis, as well as new MRLs for certain products including peanuts. Regarding labeling, the EFSA was asked to deliver scientific advice on several nutrient profiling for nutritional labeling. Lastly, the assessment rates for USA pecans and pistachios are highlighted. [Food Safety] [Pesticides Updates] [Labeling Updates] [Marketing Orders] https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/april-2022-inc-updates-news-briefMarketing Orders Update: April 2022USA: Decreased Assessment Rate for Pecans Grown in 15 States This rule decreases the assessment rate established for the 2021-22 fiscal year and subsequent fiscal years. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated. It regulates the handling of pecans grown in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas.   Effective from May 16, 2022.   More information USA: Increased Assessment Rate for Pistachios This rule implements a recommendation from the Administrative Committee for pistachios to increase the assessment rate established for the 2021-22 and subsequent production years. It regulates the handling of pistachios grown in California, Arizona, and New Mexico.   Effective from May 16, 2022.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/marketing-orders-update-april-2022Labeling Update: April 2022EU: Scientific Advice on Nutrient Profiling The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) was asked to deliver scientific advice related to nutrient profiling for the development of harmonized mandatory front‐of‐pack nutrition labeling and the setting of nutrient profiles for restricting nutrition and health claims on foods.   Dried fruits and nuts are among the food groups analyzed. In food group/category‐based nutrient profiling models, the panel concludes that total fat could replace energy in most food groups owing to its high energy density, while the energy density of food groups with low or no fat content may be well accounted for by the inclusion of (added/free) sugars. Some nutrients may be included in nutrient profiling models for reasons other than their public health importance, e.g., as a proxy for other nutrients of public health importance, or to allow for better discrimination of foods within the same food category.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-april-2022Pesticides Update: April 2022EFSA Publishes Annual Report on Pesticide Residue Levels in Food On March 30, 2022, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its 2020 EU report on pesticide residue levels in food, which is conducted annually and is carried out across EU Member States, Iceland, and Norway. The report summarizes the results of the EU-coordinated multiannual control program (EU MACP) and national control programs (MANCP). The latest report covers over 88,000 food samples collected in the EU in 2020.    The rate of MRL exceedances (5.1%) increased compared with 2019 (3.9%) and 2018 (4.5%). It remained high for specific crops such as processed Brazil nuts, which are not covered in the EU multi-annual control program (MACP).   More information EFSA Publishes National Reports on Pesticide Residue Analysis The European Food Safety Authority recently published national summary reports on pesticide residue analysis performed in 2020. In accordance with Article 31 of Regulation (EC) No. 396/2005, European Union (EU) Member States provide to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) the results of their official controls on pesticide residues in food. In this framework, the EU Member States, Iceland and Norway provided further information in the form of explanatory text outlining main findings of their control activities during the reference year. This Technical report is the compilation of those contributions of the reporting countries.   More information EU: New MRLs for Certain Products The Commission has published Regulation 2022/476 of 24 March 2022 amending Annexes II, III and IV to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for flutolanil and proquinazid in or on certain products.   Flutolanil Mg/kg Peanuts/groundnuts 0.02   Proquinazid Mg/kg Cranberries 1.5   No new maximum residue levels for Benzovindiflupyr on dried fruits or nuts.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-april-2022Food Safety Update: April 2022Chile: Phytosanitary Import Requirements for Peanuts The notified measure establishes phytosanitary import requirements for peanuts in-shell and shelled from all origins, and repeals Resolution No. 4.143 of 2018.   Some of the measures established are: Shipments must be covered by an official phytosanitary certificate issued by the country of origin, along with the additional declaration indicated in point 1.1 of the document attached to this notification; Moreover, some alternative additional declarations are described in point 1.2 of the notified draft.  Phytosanitary treatments are established with their respective fumigation schedules; The seal must arrive in Chile intact, otherwise, it will be cause for rejection, a situation that may be analyzed by SAG, at the request of the exporting NPPO. Shipments must be free of plant remains; Shipments must be free of soil; this is understood to mean clods greater than or equal to 3 mm in diameter, a requirement that must be verified by the exporting NPPO prior to issuing the phytosanitary certificate; The wood used for packaging, pallets and packing materials must comply with the quarantine regulations for importation; Each shipment shall be inspected by SAG, at the point of entry, in order to ensure that the physical and documentary import requirements have been met. Deadline for comments is May 2, 2022.   More information EU: Call for Data on Contaminants The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is asking for national food authorities, research institutions, academia, food business operators and other stakeholders to submit data on the occurrence of contaminants with a focus on the substances and related substances listed on their website. The priority substance list includes Ochratoxin A in feed. However, the non-exhaustive list of chemical contaminants includes many other contaminants such as cadmium, lead and aflatoxins (B1 in feed, B1, B2, G1 and G2 and total in food), among others.   Deadline to submit data is October 1, 2022.   More information EU: Answers Requested on Import Tolerances The delegations of Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Paraguay submitted a letter through the World Trade Organization requesting answers from the European Union on import tolerances and emergency authorizations. The delegation of the United States has recently joined this request.   The letter concerns EU MRLs for Alpha-cypermethrin, buprofezin, chlorothalonil, chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos-methyl, diflubenzuron, ethoxysulfuron, glufosinate, imazalil, ioxynil, ipodrione, mancozeb, molinate, picoxystrobin and tepraloxydim.   More information South Korea: Country Report On April 1, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a country report that outlines the specific requirements for food and agricultural product imports into the Republic of South Korea.   Peanuts, pine nuts and walnuts are among the food items known to be food allergens and must be indicated on the label, even if they are added at minimal levels as part of a mix.   Regarding heavy metals in agricultural products:   Target Foods Lead (mg/kg) Cadmium (mg/kg) Peanuts and tree nuts Not more than 0.1 Not more than 0.3   In-shell walnuts from California are the only product subject to a pre-clearance program. When in-shell walnuts from California are imported, Korea’s Animal and Plant Quarantine Agency (APQA) may conduct a document or visual inspection but does not perform laboratory testing.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-april-2022Latest Trade News and Agreements: April 2022Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI ECTA) Australia and India have signed a new interim trade agreement, the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AI ECTA). According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 85% of Australian goods exports will have tariffs eliminated. Along with this agreement, Australia and India have agreed to promote agricultural trade and will work toward concluding an enhanced agricultural Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).   The agreement will see a removal of import tariffs on Australian macadamias into India over the next seven years, making India a very attractive market for Australian macadamia exporters.   More information EU: Agri-food Trade Report Jan-Dec 2021 The latest EU agri-food trade monitoring report covered the period January to December 2021. It showed that the total value of EU agri-food trade reached €328.1 billion in 2021, representing a year-on-year increase of a 7%, and bringing a trade surplus of €67.9 billion, up 8% compared to 2020.   According to the report, EU's main source of agri-food imports in 2021 was Brazil, with values growing by 19% to reach € 13.5 billion. On the other hand, imports from the UK saw a major decline, falling by €3.8 billion or 25% year-on-year, and imports from the US also fell by €366 million or 4%. The decrease in imports from the US was primarily driven by reduced imports of tropical fruit, nuts and spices (↘€ 352 m, -14%).    More information EU: Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Package The Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Package is the first regional package under the EU's broader Global Gateway investment strategy. It aims to mobilize up to €150 billion in investments between 2021 and 2027 for Africa to support a strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation and is expected to support the renewed partnership agreed at the EU-AU Summit on February 17-18 in Brussels.   European representatives traveled to Niger, Ivory Coast and Ghana to strengthen the EU's partnership with these key regional partners under the Global Gateway strategy. Ms. Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships, launched the new cycle of cooperation under the Neighborhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI-Global Europe), with the signature of the several cooperation projects in the areas of sustainable cocoa, agricultural water management, climate, governance, security, vocational training and education.   More information UK-Canada Begin Negotiations for New Trade Agreement This new agreement will build on the UK-Canada Trade Continuity Agreement signed in 2020.   Benefits could include: Boosting the UK’s world-renowned services sector by making it easier for services providers to trade in Canada, benefiting areas such as research and development, legal services, and finance. Reducing barriers for goods exporters such as the processes and administration that disproportionately affect SMEs. Stimulating more Canadian investment in the UK. Helping women access the full benefits of trade. Enhancing cooperation on tackling climate change by promoting green trade and supporting commitments including those in the Paris Agreement.  More information Vietnam-New Zealand Promote Cooperation in Agriculture On April, 6, 2022, Vietnam and New Zealand affirmed at a second high-level agricultural dialogue their commitment to deepening both countries’ agriculture and trade relationships. The two sides signed the Action Program to implement the Strategic Partnership for the period of 2021-2024. Cooperation in the field of agriculture helps the two countries develop their main agricultural interests, including boosting bilateral trade, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, and enhancing food safety.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-april-2022Sustainability Update: April 2022ECLAC Forum Highlights Key Elements for Achieving the SDGs The UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), organized the forum for the region’s 33 countries. The three-day event served as a lead-up to the 2022 HLPF, to assess the region’s progress towards the 2030 Agenda. According to ECLAC, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is the developing region most affected by COVID-19 from a health, economic and social point of view. Eight LAC countries will present a VNR at this year’s HLPF.   The annual report on progress towards the 2030 Agenda in the LAC region analyzes these growing asymmetries and presents specific proposals on related to: financing for development; improving national and regional policy implementation; building institutions’ resilience; and overcoming conflicts through agreements and compacts.   The outcome of the fifth forum is a set of conclusions and recommendations adopted by participating delegations. The document recognizes the April 2021 entry into force of the Escazú Agreement –the Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean. The first meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Agreement (COP1) will take place on April 20-22, 2022 in Santiago, Chile.   More information EU: Impacts on Agricultural Production The new policy brief prepared by the Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) analyzes existing evidence on the impact of environmental degradation on European food availability. It focuses on climate change, biodiversity loss and soil degradation.   While these impacts on crop yields are mostly studied for major staple crops such as wheat, rice or maize, recent results suggest similar results for vegetables, fruits, nuts and fiber products, which are essential for healthy nutrition. In particular negative impacts are expected for vegetables, leafy crops, soft fruits, tree fruits and nuts.   More information EU: Feedback on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence The European Commission has opened its proposal for a directive on corporate sustainability due diligence for feedback. The Commission will summarize all feedback received and submit it to the European Parliament and Council with the aim of feeding into the legislative debate.   Feedback period ends May 23, 2022.   More information New Guidance Being Developed for Decarbonization of Logistics The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Smart Freight Centre has announced a new initiative with 25+ global companies to advance the quantification of logistics emissions, and support the logistics industry on their journey to net-zero emissions.   The objective is to enable companies to better understand and track their carbon emissions on a granular operational level, enhance industry collaboration and support businesses in the implementation of their decarbonization strategies and achievement of net-zero targets.   The guidance is expected to be published by the end of 2022, with an intended formal launch during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, in January 2023.   More information UN: Draft Program Released for 2022 HLPF The UN Secretariat released on April 6, 2022, the draft program for the July 2022 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The 2022 HLPF will focus on in-depth reviews of five SDGs (SDG 4,5,14,15 and 17). 45 countries are expected to present voluntary national reviews (VNRs). The HLPF will also be the site of side events, VNR “labs,” special events, and exhibitions. Applications for side events and exhibitions are being accepted until May 31, 2022.   More information UN: Expert Group to Build Accountability for Net Zero Pledges The UN Secretary-General has appointed a high-level group of experts to increase credibility and accountability for net-zero pledges by businesses, financial institutions, and local and regional governments. The independent group is expected to issue recommendations within 9 to 12 months of its first meeting, which will take place in early 2022.   The Group’s recommendations will address: current standards and definitions for setting net-zero targets, and any needed additional elements to maximize integrity for net-zero targets; credibility criteria used to assess the objectives, measurement and reporting of net-zero pledges; processes for verifying progress towards net-zero commitments and decarbonization plans, including processes for assessing aggregate impact; and a road map to translate standards and criteria into international and national regulations.   More information UN: 2022 World Water Development Report Focuses on Groundwater The UN has released the 2022 edition of the UN World Water Development Report, which focuses on groundwater. The report stresses the need for environmental regulations to prevent pollution of groundwater. It will provide a baseline for the December 2022 UN Summit on Groundwater in Paris, France, which is also part of preparations for the March 2023 UN Water Conference. This conference will serve also as the mid-term review of the international decade of action on water for sustainable development.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-april-2022Supply Chain’s Future Remains Uncertain with Chinese LockdownsAs Shanghai, home to the world’s largest port continues to be under strict lockdowns amid COVID-19 cases, the future of the global supply chain is once again uncertain. In an interview with Fox Business, Mario Cordero, Director of the Port of Long Beach has expressed concern that the lockdowns could soon start affecting the Californian ports. Cordero stated that if China continues with a zero-COVID policy, supply chain disruptions could stretch into the coming years. “If the zero-COVID policy continues in a rigid way that we’ve seen here in China, it could have those ramifications,” he noted.   However, lockdowns are not the only thing affecting the US West Coast ports. An article from CNBC reported that Chinese carriers are shipping more empty containers than full ones out of Californian ports. The top two carriers that have been carrying the largest number of empty containers out of California are OOCL and COSCO. This has significantly affected American farmers and other exporters who depend con exporting a share of the production. One reason for the disparity is the difference in the price of containers leaving China heading to the US, around $15,000, and those leaving the West Coast towards China, a little over $1,000. Carriers are opting to send containers on the more lucrative routes from China to the US and returning as quickly as possible, often time empty to the Chinese ports to load up again. The United States government is currently in the process of expanding audits of shipping practices and reviewing legislation to provide relief to the American exporter.   Turning to spot freight rates across the major routes, Drewry’s World Container Index showed that in general prices dropped around 1.2% last week, although they remain 62% higher than one year ago. Rates from China to the US and vice versa remained essentially unchanged compared to the last week, while Shanghai to Genoa dropped 1% and Shanghai to Rotterdam fell 2%. The largest decrease in spot freight rate was Rotterdam to Shanghai which was 4% lower than the previous week. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/supply-chain-s-future-remains-uncertain-with-chinese-lockdownsShanghai Port Lockdown Causes Global Supply Chain ChaosAccording to an article from The LoadStar, as a result of increasing COVID-19 cases in Shanghai, home to the world’s largest port, the Chinese government has announced an indefinite lockdown. This lockdown is yet another challenge that has come to test the international supply chain, as currently, the majority of Shanghai residents are restricted from leaving their homes, even for food. Incoming freight to Shanghai has been prompted to be diverted to other Chinese ports like Ningbo, Qingdao, and Tianjin, but these ports have been reluctant to allow Shanghai ships to enter their ports.   On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, the Port of Los Angeles has announced that it has completed upgrades to its Everport container terminal according to Splash 247. Now there will be 236 berths along the main channel, up from 226. The project cost $65 million to complete and aims to improve the container-handling efficiency and capacity of the Everport terminal.  This upgrade to the Port of Los Angeles should be welcomed as according to an article from Forbes, U.S. imports and exports have jumped 20% up, outpacing 2021. The top port through the first couple of months in the US is Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which beat the traditional number one, the Port of Los Angeles.   Regarding spot freight prices, the Drewry World Container Index showed a nearly 4% drop in prices from the last week of March. This was carried by Shanghai to Los Angeles falling 8% and Shanghai to New York falling 6%. Despite the good news, overall rates still remain 67% higher compared to one year ago. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shanghai-port-lockdown-causes-global-supply-chain-chaosLast Chance to Enroll for the INC Academia On-Site CourseThe On-Site course within the Advanced Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits forms part of the top educational program in the sector. This year the On-Site course is taking place in Naples, Italy from May 7 to May 9, and time is running out to enroll, so take a couple of minutes and see how this course can help you network and fast track your professional development.   [Enroll Now]   The course consists of 3 days full of hands-on experience consisting of 10+ hours of preparatory tasks and readings, and two case studies. The case studies which students will complete are on Strategy & Leadership, and on Negotiation. The Strategy & Leadership case studies will be led Prof. Miquel Lladó, and the Negotiation case studies will be led by Prof. Kandarp Mehta, both from the IESE Business School, a highly ranked and awarded institution based in Barcelona, Spain.   Apart from the case studies, students will be able to see orchards and processing plants firsthand. The students will visit the Maurizio Cervone walnut orchards as well as Teano hazelnut orchards (see pictures) on the first day of the On-Site course. Maurizio Cervone's orchard is in the municipality of Cicciano, an area characterized by volcanic soils that originated from the volcanic eruptions of Vesuvius. The orchard extends over an area of about 15 hectares. Currently, 9 hectares of Chandler and 1 hectare of Tulare are in production while another 5 hectares of Chandler, planted in 2020 are still in the growth phase. This model farm focuses heavily on technological innovation in terms of irrigation, plant nutrition, cultivation, harvesting, and post-harvesting. About 60 km north of Naples, we find the Teano valley in the Campania region, an area characterized by the presence of very fertile soils originating from the Roccamonfina volcano. It is an area particularly suited for the cultivation of hazelnut from which excellent productions are obtained in terms of quality and quantity. The main cultivars of this area are the mortarella and the San Giovanni (long hazelnuts), the local variety Tonda di Teano and the Tonda di Giffoni (a round variety of hazelnut). The cultivation of hazelnut in this area began quite recently (1990-2000) which has allowed them to have medium-sized plants equipped with good technology. This day will conclude with a welcome cocktail and dinner, a great environment to network and get to meet your peers within the industry. The last day of the course will invite students to visit a processing plant at Besana Group, where they will see a high-quality processing center and gain insights into the technical side of the sector. Besana is regarded as the leader in Europe for marketing of nuts, dried fruit, seeds, chocolate, and snacks, innovation, and production. Their products are made from thoroughly selected raw material procured directly from approved suppliers worldwide and processed and packed under the highest international quality standards. Besana was founded in 1921 by brothers Emilio and Vincenzo Besana to process the abundant hazelnut, walnut and chestnut crops growing on the rich volcanic soil at the foot of Mount Vesuvius in the Southern Italian province of Campania. The company grew over the following decades expanding its product range, enlarging its geographic reach across continents, and widening its customer base. Besana processes 25,000 MT of nuts, dried fruits and seeds per year and produces 120 million single packs every year. After the course ends, students are invited to register for the INC Congress in Dubai with a 50% discount. The INC Academia Advanced Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits allows you to become an expert on nuts and dried fruits and in just three months, fast-track your professional development while networking with like-minded peers, no matter your experience or if you’re short on time. You can complete the program at your own pace, but all courses must be completed by December 31, 2022. The program’s structure also features a guided self-assessment and feedback, so you will know you’re getting the most out of the program. For more information, you can visit the INC Academia website. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/last-chance-to-enroll-for-the-inc-academia-on-site-courseMarch 2022 INC Updates & News BriefRegister Now and Save Your Spot for the INC Congress 2022 in Dubai Over 1000 participants from more than 60 countries are expected to be at the industry’s not-to-be-missed event to take advantage of networking and building business relationships. Plus, if you haven't already, why not sign up for our annual INC Golf Tournament, taking place on Monday, May 9! For more information on the tournament and details of the full Congress program, you can visit the Congress' website! [Read more] [Register Now]   INC Summarizes 2021 Import Border Rejections INC monitors import border rejections in Europe, USA, Australia and Japan, analyzing the trends and monitoring the causes and origins. EU-RASFF Notifications for edible nuts in 2021 increased by 14%, compared to the previous year. In terms of dried fruits, 2021 total notifications displayed a decrease of 5% compared to 2020. The main reason for notifying was aflatoxins. [Read more]  Enroll Today in the Industry's Top Education Programs: INC Academia Check out the Basic Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits and the Advanced Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits to see what all is covered in each program and how they can help grow your company's knowledge! The Advanced Program also has the option to get hands-on with the On-site portion of the program. Take a look at which program best suits your needs and if you're still not convinced, enjoy a free Industry Master Class! [More information]                                                                                                 INC Visits First Edition of SIAL America in Las Vegas The INC has just returned from the first SIAL America in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event allowed the INC to meet up with various members who were exhibiting, and also scope out the possibilities of future INC Pavilions in Las Vegas. The brand new event could provide another INC Pavilion opportunity for INC Members, this time in the United States! The SIAL Network has over 50 years of experience in delivering food industry events. [More information]   INC Continues to Monitor the Ongoing Global Shipping Situation According to an article from the US-based Supply Chain Management Review, a new port tracker report anticipates high import levels to remain consistent throughout 2022. The article goes on to state that due to a combination of strong consumer demand and continued supply chain challenges causing congestion, US ports could expect possible record levels of retail container imports. The report was issued by the National Retail Federations (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates. NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy...[Read more] Updated Supply Situation on Walnuts Shared by INC  With final receipts of 1.1 million metric tons (in-shell basis), the 2021/22 Chinese crop remains unchanged. As reported by the California Walnut Board and Commission, the 2021/22 Californian crop reached 653,320 MT, exceeding the USDA estimate by 7%. According to Chilenut, in line with the estimates made at the beginning of the season, the 2021 crop is estimated at 153,000 MT, in-shell basis. [Read more]                                                                            INC Delivers the Production Progress Report on Prunes As reported by the California Prune Board, global supply restrictions, an average-sized crop supported by managed inventory, and continued strong domestic and export sales have kept handlers busy filling customer orders of premium California Prunes. Supply-chain challenges, particularly delays and cancellations of scheduled ocean freight, remain problematic worldwide. As informed by the Chile Prunes Association, overall growing conditions during 2021 were favorable and bloom was reported successful without drought losses. Harvest started in mid-February and production is anticipated to be good.  [Read more]   INC Follows up on the 2021/2022 Almond Supply Estimates According to industry sources, total Californian crop is expected to amount to 2.9 billion pounds/1.316 million metric tons (net crop of 2.842 B lbs./1.289 M MT). Due to the logistical problems the industry is facing with shipping lines, shipments are anticipated to reach a total of around 2.6-2.7 B lbs. (1.179-1.224 M MT), leaving a carry out of around 750-850 M lbs. (340,200-386,000 MT). The Almond Board of Australia announced a crop estimate of 145,000 MT for 2022/23, which is up on the 124,439 MT produced last season. [Read more]    Crop Progress Report on Hazelnuts Delivered by INC Regarding the 2022 Turkish crop, all indications are optimal, as fall rains, satisfactory cold period and snow coverage in late January supported the vegetation process. Turkish exports showed a strong performance, with 2021 (January-December) shipments hitting a record volume. Expectations indicate that the same trend will continue throughout the season and 340,00 MT (kernels) levels could be surpassed. The 2022/23 Italian crop looks promising. Although December was very mild, adequate chill arrived in January. [Read more]    INC Shares Updated Supply Situation on Dates Despite the global health and economic crisis, the gross volume of the world production of dates has increased compared to previous years mainly owing to the new plantations carried out in recent years. Overall, holiday season exports were carried out satisfactorily despite the drop in prices on the international market. On the other hand, the annual advancement of Ramadan has put pressure on exports, particularly for the Deglet Noor variety, which is late compared to most other varieties. [Read more]    INC Shares Latest Sustainability News In this month’s sustainability update from the INC, you can read about the new report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World for 2021, a range of news from the European Union, the FAO’s new report on the future of food safety, and the Food Sustainability Index. The news also includes updates on sustainability from Ireland, Spain, the United States, the OECD, and the UN Economic Commission for Africa. [Read more]    International Trade News Monitored by INC This month's news on international trade is highlighted by various agreements such as the China and New Zealand FTA Upgrade, going into effect in April, Costa Rica and Israel cooperation agreement, and the Open Balkan Initiative agreements. Furthermore, the news includes a report from Algeria on food and agricultural import regulations and standards export certificate, and the 2022 FTA tariff schedule between the United States and Morocco. [Read more]    INC Reports on Latest Food Safety, Pesticide Updates, and Health Food Claims Read about new regulations from European Commission concerning hazelnut plants from Serbia, maximum levels for hydrocyanic acid in almonds, maximum levels for ochratoxin A (OTA) in dried fruit and pistachios, as well as an information note on processing factors in the EU. Moreover, learn about the most recent pesticide updates from the EU and the US, along with China's reassessment of certain health foods for immunity, memory, and fatigue. [Food Safety] [Pesticide Updates] [Health Food Claims] https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/march-2022-inc-updates-news-briefPesticides Update: March 2022EU: Low-Risk Active Substance Metarhizium Brunneum Strain Ma 43 Renewed The Commission has published an implementing regulation (EU) 2022/383 renewing the approval of the low-risk active substance Metarhizium brunneum strain Ma 43 (formerly Metarhizium anisopliae var. anisopliae strain BIPESCO 5/F52) in accordance with (EC) No 1107/2009 concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to (EU) No 540/2011.   May 1, 2022 is the date of approval while the expiration of approval is April 30, 2037.   The uses of Metarhizium brunneum Ma 43 according to the representative uses include as an insecticide and acaricide on wine and table grape, strawberry, currants and berries.   It will enter into force on March, 27, 2022. US: Chlorpyrifos; Final Order Denying Objections, Requests for Hearings, and Requests for a Stay of the August 2021 Tolerance Final Rule In response to the Environmental’s Protection Agency (EPA’s) August 2021 final rule revoking all tolerances for the insecticide chlorpyrifos under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), several objections, hearing requests, and requests for stay were filed by numerous parties representing a wide variety of growers and pesticide users. In this Order, EPA denies all objections to, requests for hearing on those objections, as well as requests for stay of the final rule.   Effective from February 28, 2022.   More information US: Fluridone; Pesticide Tolerances for Emergency Exemptions This regulation establishes time-limited tolerances for residues of the herbicide fluridone including its degradates and metabolites in or on peanut and peanut, hay. This action is in response to the Environmental’s Protection Agency (EPA's) granting of an emergency exemption under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) authorizing use of the pesticide on peanut. This regulation establishes a maximum permissible level for residues of fluridone in or on these commodities. The time-limited tolerances expire on December 31, 2024.   Commodity Parts per million Expiration date Peanut 0.1 ppm 12/31/2024 Peanut, hay 0.1 ppm 12/31/2024   More information US: Ipflufenoquin; Pesticide Tolerances This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of ipflufenoquin in or on almond, almond, hulls, and fruit, pome, group 11–10.   Commodity Parts per million Almond 0.01 ppm Almond, hulls 3 ppm Fruit, pome, group 11-10 0.15 ppm   This regulation is effective March 1, 2022.   More information US: Novaluron, Pesticide Tolerance This regulation establishes tolerances for residues of novaluron in or on almond, hulls and the Tree nut group 14–12.   Commodity Parts per million Almond, hulls 15 ppm Tree nuts, group 14—12 0.08 ppm   This regulation is effective March 10, 2022.   More information   https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-march-2022Food Safety Update: March 2022Ecuador: Repeal of the First Revision of Technical Regulation RTE INEN No. 221, Dried Fruit and Nuts The Republic of Ecuador has repealed in its entirety the Ecuadorian Technical Regulation RTE INEN 221 (1R) “Dried fruit and nuts", contained in Resolution No. 2020-0369 of December 2, 2020, published in the Official Gazette No. 359 of December 29, 2020. It orders the Ecuadorian Standardization Service (INEN) to withdraw the Ecuadorian Technical Regulation RTE INEN 221 (1R) "Dried fruit and nuts" from the website of that institution. It also resolves to provide the Ecuadorian Accreditation Service with a report and carry out the procedures with accredited or designated conformity assessment bodies.   It entered into force February 15, 2022.   More information EU: Hazelnut Plants from Serbia no Longer Considered as High-Risk The Commission has published an implementing regulation (EU) 2022/230 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019 as regards plants for planting of Corylus avellana L. and Corylus colurna L., originating in Serbia.   Common hazel (Corylus avellana L.) and Turkish hazel (Corylus colurna L.) plants originating in Serbia for planting should no longer be considered high risk plants.   The Annex to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/2019 should therefore be amended accordingly.   It entered into force on February 24, 2022.   More information EU: New Regulation on Maximum Levels of Hydrocyanic Acid The EU notified the WTO the draft Regulation establishing maximum levels for hydrocyanic acid in linseed, almonds, cassava root and cassava flour.   Products of concern:   Foodstuffs Maximum level (mg/kg) Unprocessed whole, ground, milled, cracked, chopped almonds placed on the market for the final consumer 35 Unprocessed whole, ground, milled, cracked, chopped apricot kernels placed on the market for the final consumer 20   It shall apply from January 1, 2023.   More information EU: Information Note on Processing Factors During the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (SCOPAFF), section Phytopharmaceuticals – Pesticides Residues of February 22-23, 2022, Member States endorsed the ‘Information note on Article 20 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 as regards processing factors and composite food and feed’. One of the findings of the Commission on its evaluation was that general provisions for processed products are already in place, but those provisions would benefit from clarification. It is, therefore, necessary to give guidance to all involved parties, in particular the competent authorities in the Member States responsible for enforcement, but also food and feed business operators (FBO), on how to deal with processed products.   The aim of the document is not to establish EU harmonized processing factors or to work towards setting of specific maximum residue levels (MRLs) for processed food and feed. The intention is to provide guidance to Member States (including Official Control Laboratories) on how to implement Article 20 provisions of Regulation (EC) 396/2005 in a harmonized way, ultimately leading to a situation by which processing factors established by one Member State could be mutually accepted by other Member States.   This document includes calculation examples for deriving MRLs by using processing factors (pf):   Derived MRL for processed product (mg/kg) = Pf x MRL of the relevant unprocessed products covered by the Annex I (mg/kg)   More information EU: New Regulation on Ochratoxin A The EU notified the WTO the draft Regulation that establishes maximum levels for ochratoxin A (OTA) in dried fruit other than dried vine fruit, and pistachio nuts, and lowers the maximum level for ochratoxin A in dried vine fruit.   Products of concern:   Foodstuffs Maximun level (mg/kg) Dried fruit - dried vine fruit (currants, raisins and sultanas) and dried figs 8.0 Other dried fruit 2.0 Pistachios to be subjected to sorting, or other physical treatment, before placing on the market for final consumer or use as ingredient in food 10.0 Pistachios placed on the market for final consumer or use as ingredient in foodstuffs 5.0   Foodstuffs listed in the Annex, lawfully placed on the market before 1 January 2023, may remain on the market until their date of minimum durability or use-by date.   It shall apply from 1 January 2023.   More information Finland: Most Important Contaminants in Food,  Health Risks and Information Gaps The Finnish Food Authority (Ruokavirasto) has produced a report analyzing risks of serious health effects from contaminants in food. The report states that arsenic and several mycotoxins are among the contaminants that presents greater risks.   The report aimed to identify the significant chemical contaminants covered in legislation as well as monitoring mechanisms. The substances are ranked according to their exposure classes and the risk of health damage associated with the exposure of large Finnish consumers.   Contaminants with chronic effects were classified into: compounds which are carcinogenic or toxic to reproduction and which do not have a threshold value; endocrine disrupting substances; compounds that are toxic to important organs or processes; and compounds with less serious or reversible effects. More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-march-2022Health Food Claims: March 2022China: Reassessment of Certain Health Foods for Immunity, Memory, and Fatigue On January 12, 2022, the State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) informed that it was undertaking a public consultation on the list of health functions that are allowed to be claimed by health food.   According to NutraIngredients-Asia, health foods that claim to strengthen the immunity, aid memory improvement, alleviate physical fatigue, and others, may need to undergo scientific reassessment, such as redoing animal experiments or human trials. There are 24 permitted health food claims that have been rephrased.   Period for comments ended February 12, 2022.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-security-news-march-2022Latest Trade News and Agreements: March 2022Algeria: Food and Agricultural Import Regulations and Standards Export Certificate Report The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a GAIN report on January 24, 2021, providing information on export certificates required by the Government of Algeria. Effective on December 31, 2021, this new regulation requires Algerian importers to have an electronic trade register for each single sub-group of products they import.   Product (s) Certificate’s Title Purpose Requested Ministry Tree Nuts Phytosanitary Certificate   Certificate of Conformity and Quality   Certificate of Origin   Certificate of Free Sale (Free Marketing/Movement)       Food Safety   Food Quality Ministry of Agriculture Phytosanitary Directorate (DPVCT) More information China-New Zealand: FTA Upgrade Enters into Force in April The upgrade is set to provide better conditions for services exporters, improved market access for goods, a reduction in other barriers affecting exports and new areas of cooperation, among other things. Improvements include new chapters in cooperation on competition policy, e-commerce, government procurement, environment and trade.   A new chapter will be added to the agreement to promote environmental protection and that environmental standards are not used for trade protectionist purposes. It builds upon and complements the existing environment cooperation agreement that was negotiated alongside the original free trade agreement. The chapter also provides for New Zealand and China to engage on a range of environment issues.   It will enter into force April 7, 2022.   More information Costa Rica-Israel: First Agricultural Cooperation Agreement Signed The memorandum of understanding, signed by the agricultural ministers of the two countries, would intend to lead to a significant increase in trade relations between both parties. The agreement would constitute an important base for Israel's agriculture and agrotechnology in Central America, and will also benefit Costa Rica in its agricultural technologies.   Under the agreement, the two countries will also exchange policy and regulation information on sustainable and efficient use of water resources for agriculture, and promote agricultural research collaborations, especially advanced solutions for growing and producing food in changing climatic conditions.   More information Open Balkan Initiative Helps Alleviate Agricultural Trade At the end of 2021, leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia signed six new agreements as part of the Open Balkan initiative, which aims to ease trade and boost economic development across the region. They include the Agreement on Conditions for Free Access to the Labor Market, the Agreement on Connecting Electronic Identification Schemes for Citizens, and the Agreement on Cooperation in Veterinary, Phytosanitary, and Food and Feed Safety in the Western Balkans.   According to FreshPlaza, since the start of 2022 this new trade initiative is helping ease agricultural logistics, as trucks with agricultural products from those three countries have been passing the border control points without waiting.    More information US: Peanut Promotion, Research, and Information Order A new rule established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) changes the threshold for defining primary peanut producing states as states that maintain a 3-year average production of at least 20,000 tons of peanuts, instead of 10,000 tons as currently prescribed in the Peanut Promotion, Research, and Information Order (Order). The Order is administered by the National Peanut Board (Board) with oversight by the USDA. As a result of increasing the threshold, the Board’s membership will decrease from 13 to 12 members and their respective alternates.   Effective since January 20, 2022.   More information US-Morocco: 2022 FTA Tariff Schedule A GAIN report by the USDA highlights the announcements made by the Government of Morocco at the start of January regarding the required tariff changes under the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA) for Calendar Year 2022. The circular includes tariffs, tariff-rate quotas (TRQs), tariff-rate quota administration, agricultural safeguard measures, products covered by the preference clause, and allocation procedures.   Almonds fall under Annex IV – B for agricultural products initially subject to quotas but whose decommissioning has ended.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-march-2022Sustainability Update: March 2022A.P. Moller - Maersk Releases Weather Data to Aid Climate Science A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) announced on January 27, 2022, that it will release more than nine million weather observations into the public domain for free use by the scientific community across the globe. The data collected by Maersk vessels since 2012 is set to increase publicly available ocean weather data by 28%.   The data will be shared through the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), a platform run jointly by UNESCO and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). GOOS collects ocean weather observations for climate science and provides input to weather forecasts. More information New Report on the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 A collaboration between five UN Agencies (FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, WHO) analyzes the current state and challenges of the state of food security and nutrition. The report recognizes that achieving food security has become more challenging. The UN agencies’ report outlines the major drivers of the recent rise in hunger and food insecurity (Conflict, Climate variability and extremes, Economic slowdowns and downturns).   The report recommends six ways to transform food systems: Integrating humanitarian, development and peacebuilding policies in conflict-affected areas. Scaling up climate resilience across food systems. Strengthening the resilience of the most vulnerable to economic adversity. Intervening along the food supply chains to lower the cost of nutritious foods. Tackling poverty and structural inequalities, ensuring interventions are pro-poor and inclusive. Strengthening food environments and changing consumer behavior to promote dietary patterns with positive impacts on human health and the environment. More information EU-Colombia: Joint Declaration on Environment, Climate Action and Sustainable Development On February 14, 2022, representatives from Colombia and the European Union signed the Joint Declaration on Environment, Climate Action and Sustainable Development. The declaration focuses on key shared visions and priorities such as climate action, biodiversity and ecosystems conservation, disaster risk reduction, the fight against deforestation, circular economy, sustainable blue economy, and plastic pollution.   Back in September 2021, the EU and Colombia established a milestone with the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding on an Agenda of enhanced political and sectoral dialogue and cooperation for the next decade.   More information EU: Council Conclusions on EU Climate Diplomacy The EU Council approved at its meeting held on February 21, 2022 conclusions on accelerating the implementation of Glasgow outcomes.   Outcomes include: Crucial importance of the conservation and restoration of biodiversity and all ecosystems, including forests and oceans, and highlights the critical role of nature-based solutions, also in light of the upcoming UN Convention on Biological Diversity COP15. The EU also looks forward to progressing the deliberations on the New Collective Quantified Goal post 2025 underpinned by the need to make finance flows consistent with a pathway towards climate neutral and resilient development. Recognizes the importance of strengthening international cooperative action on technology development and transfer, such as within the framework of the EU-US Trade and Technology Council and the EU-US Energy Council. The Council welcomes the Just Energy Transition Partnership with South Africa and looks forward to the operationalization of this partnership in 2022. More information EU: COP15 Global Biodiversity Negotiations EU leaders are participating from March 14-29, 2022, in global biodiversity meetings to advance on the development of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which is a new global accord to halt and reverse the loss of the planet's plants, animals and ecosystems. This gathering is the last official session for governments to negotiate on the once-in-a-decade global agreement, to be adopted at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 later in the year. The Framework will guide global action for nature and people, which is vital for tackling climate change and building a fairer, safer, healthier world for everyone, everywhere.   The EU will negotiate for the following elements of the Framework as a minimum: Ambitious, measurable and time-bound goals, milestones, and targets that will aim for all of the world's ecosystems to be restored, resilient, and adequately protected by 2050; Targets to address the direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss and ensure sustainable use of natural resources, including 30x30 target to protect at least 30% of world's land and oceans by 2030; Ensuring respect of the rights of indigenous peoples, and full and effective participation by indigenous peoples and stakeholders. More information EU: Applying EU Health and Environmental Standards The Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy demand adherence to higher sustainability standards as well as dietary change, as part of the necessary transition to a more sustainable and healthy food system.   Sustainability requirements for food cover climate, environment, and social and animal welfare impacts. They relate to production practices, the way it is produced, rather than product characteristics.   The European Commission is preparing a report that will assess the rationale and legal feasibility of applying EU health and environmental standards to imported agricultural and agri-food products. Applying, for example: animal welfare standards processes and production methods It may also identify concrete initiatives to ensure better consistency in their application, in conformity with World Trade Organization rules.   Commission adoption planned for second quarter 2022.   More information EU: The European Growth Model On March 2, 2022, the European Commission released a communication advancing the guidelines of the European Growth Model, focused on a green, digital and resilient economy. It served to inform discussions towards the informal European Council meeting of heads of state or government that took place 10-11 March 2022.   Key focus areas include: Investments and reforms at the basis of the European Growth Model Towards a green, digital, and resilient economy Mobilizing coordinated action at all levels Ensuring a fair and inclusive economic transformation More information EU: Proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence On February 23, the European Commission published its Proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence.   Under the proposed directive, the Commission proposes due diligence rules and obligations that would apply to the three groups of companies (large EU companies – Group 1; smaller EU companies in high impact sectors – Group 2; and non-EU companies active in the EU who meet the Group 1 and 2 thresholds for their the EU), and in relation to certain sectors for Group 2 companies (high impact sectors are textiles, agriculture, extraction of minerals). The rules will be enforced by administrative supervision by Member States with the possibility of civil liability in the case of non-compliance with the rules.   The proposal will go to the European Parliament and the Council for approval. Once adopted, Member States will have two years to transpose the Directive into national law and communicate the relevant texts to the Commission.   The obligation on due diligence will apply to the company's own operations, their subsidiaries and their value chains (direct and indirect established business relationships).   In order to comply with the corporate due diligence duty, companies will need to: integrate due diligence into policies; identify actual or potential adverse human rights and environmental impacts; prevent or mitigate potential impacts; bring to an end or minimize actual impacts; establish and maintain a complaints procedure; monitor the effectiveness of the due diligence policy and measures; and publicly communicate on due diligence. More information FAO: New Report on the Future of Food Safety The report analyzes the emerging food safety challenges as well as changing food systems. It looks at how global drivers like economic growth, changing consumer behavior and consumption patterns, a growing population and the climate crisis will impact the future of food safety.   It focuses on eight areas: climate change, new food sources and production systems, the rise of farms and vegetable gardens in cities, changing consumer behavior, the circular economy, microbiome science, technological and scientific innovation, and food fraud. The aim of the report is to help policy makers anticipate future concerns rather than have to react to them.   More information Food Sustainability Index The Food Sustainability Index (FSI) has been developed by Economist Impact with the support of the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition Foundation (BCFN). The 2021 FSI contains a number of updates to better capture the most significant issues of 2020 and 2021. Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of preventing zoonotic diseases, embracing the One Health Approach, and strengthening food supply chain resilience.   The enduring threat of climate change calls for assessments of the sustainability of food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs), the affordability of sustainable diets, and climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. It aims to shift away from country rankings and instead focus on broader groupings and the lessons these generate for best practices in food sustainability.   It assesses the sustainability of 78 countries' food systems in terms of food loss and waste, sustainable agriculture and nutritional challenges. According to the 2021 FSI, Sweden, Japan, Canada, Finland and Austria had the most sustainable food systems in the world.   More information Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” assesses the impacts of climate change, looking at ecosystems, biodiversity, and human communities at global and regional levels. It also reviews vulnerabilities and the capacities and limits of the natural world and human societies to adapt to climate change.   The report states that the world now faces unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the nex two decades, assuming global warming of 1.5 °C.   More information Ireland: Public Consultation on National Food Waste Prevention Roadmap The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications is undertaking a public consultation on Ireland’s draft National Food Waste Prevention Roadmap. The Roadmap will set out a series of actions with the objective to ultimately reduce 50% of food waste in Ireland by 2030.   According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is estimated that Ireland generated about 1.1 million tons of food waste in 2019. The development of a National Food Waste Prevention Roadmap is included as a commitment in Ireland’s Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy and the Government’s 2021 Climate Action Plan.   Deadline for submissions is March 24, 2022.   More information OECD: New Report on Plastic Pollution A new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states that the world is producing twice as much plastic waste as two decades ago, with the bulk of it ending up in landfill, incinerated or leaking into the environment, and only 9% successfully recycled.   Key findings of the report include: Plastic consumption has quadrupled over the past 30 years, driven by growth in emerging markets. Global plastics production doubled from 2000 to 2019 to reach 460 million tons. Plastics account for 3.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Global plastic waste generation more than doubled from 2000 to 2019 to 353 million tonnes. Nearly two-thirds of plastic waste comes from plastics with lifetimes of under five years, with 40% coming from packaging, 12% from consumer goods and 11% from clothing and textiles. Only 9% of plastic waste is recycled (15% is collected for recycling but 40% of that is disposed of as residues). Another 19% is incinerated, 50% ends up in landfill and 22% evades waste management systems and goes into uncontrolled dumpsites, is burned in open pits or ends up in terrestrial or aquatic environments, especially in poorer countries. More information Spain: New Strategic Project for the Recovery and Economic Transformation (PERTE) of the Agri-food Sector The new Spanish Strategic Project for the Recovery and Economic Transformation (PERTE) of the agri-food sector was approved by the Council of Ministers on February 08, 2022. It is conceived as a set of measures to strengthen the development of the agri-food chain and provide it with the necessary tools to meet the environmental, digital, social and economic challenges of the next decade.   To achieve these objectives, it will have a public investment of around one billion euros until 2023, although it is expected to generate an impact on the economy of around three billion euros.   The strategic agri-food project focuses on three priority lines of action:   Specific support package for the agri-food industry, with the aim of improving its production processes, linked to its competitiveness, sustainability and traceability of food production. Endowment: 400 million euros. Specific measures to support the digital adaptation process and extend it to all the agents that form part of its value chain (farmers and livestock breeders and their cooperatives, small and medium-sized production, processing, and marketing companies). Endowment: 454.35 million. Specific measures to support innovation and research to achieve a competitive agri-food sector at all levels. Endowment: 148.56 million euros. Within the sustainability section, the automation of processes, the introduction of robotics or the sounding of processes and data acquisition, as well as the optimization of maintenance along the value chain of a product, are of particular interest.   More information UNECA: Regional Forum Highlights Africa’s Importance for Achieving 2030 Agenda The UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) held its 2022 regional forum on sustainable development from March 3-5. The meeting resulted in adoption of the Kigali Declaration on ‘good practices and solutions to enhance implementation of the sustainable development goals in Africa’, which will be presented at the July 2022 meeting of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).   Governments attending the Forum adopted the Kigali Declaration, which: Urges African countries to link mutually reinforcing policies for sustainable development and COVID-19 recovery; Calls on African countries to build strong and resilience national statistical systems by leveraging new tools, innovative solutions, and technology, including through enhanced partnerships with other stakeholders; and  Highlights the need for countries to utilize the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) to support the development of regional value chains, for example regarding the minerals used in the production of batteries and electric vehicles.    More information US: FDA Launches Agricultural Water Assessment Builder The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a new user-friendly online Agricultural Water Assessment Builder to help farms understand the proposed requirements for an agricultural water assessment in the Agricultural Water Proposed Rule.   If completed, the proposed rule would require farms to conduct systems-based agricultural water assessments to determine and guide appropriate measures to minimize potential risks associated with pre-harvest agricultural water. The assessment would include an evaluation of the water system, agricultural water use practices, crop characteristics, environmental conditions, potential impacts on source water by activities conducted on adjacent and nearby land, and other relevant factors, such as the results of optional testing.    More information US: New Environmental Justice Screening Tools On February 18, 2022, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool (CEJST) and the latest version of the EJScreen, respectively.   Both tools are intended to help achieve the goals of the Justice40 initiative, conceived to addressing Environmental Justice. Environmental Justice is defined by EPA as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.”   CEJST: According to CEQ, “the purpose of the tool is to help Federal agencies identify disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution. The current version of the tool provides socioeconomic, environmental, and climate information to inform decisions that may affect these communities.” EJScreen is an environmental justice mapping and screening tool. EPA uses EJScreen in enforcement, compliance, outreach and engagement, and policy making. Additional agencies use it in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) permitting context to identify the location and concentrations of minority and/or low-income populations. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-march-2022Global Statistical Review, Dates Despite the global health and economic crisis, the gross volume of the world production of dates has increased compared to previous years mainly owing to the new plantations carried out in recent years. However, quality is currently below expectations, mostly because of the lack of availability of labor for good farming practices due to the pandemic. Overall, holiday season exports were carried out satisfactorily despite the drop in prices on the international market. On the other hand, the annual advancement of Ramadan has put pressure on exports, particularly for the Deglet Noor variety, which is late compared to most other varieties. Finally, high prices and irregularities in maritime transport have had a negative impact on exports. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-dates-1Global Statistical Review, Hazelnuts   Turkey Foreign currency-based hazelnuts prices showed a volatile nature due to the sharp devaluation in Turkish Lira, followed, with a certain lag, by an increase in Turkish lira-based pricing. It is estimated that the TMO (Turkish Grain Board) completed the procurement of at least 80,000 metric tons of in-shell hazelnuts expected to be offered by Q1 2022. Exports showed a strong performance, with 2021 (January-December) shipments hitting a record volume. Expectations indicate that the same trend will continue throughout the season and 340,00 MT (kernels) levels could be surpassed. As for the 2022 crop, although still early to estimate, all indications are optimal, as fall rains, satisfactory cold period and snow coverage in late January supported the vegetation process.  Italy  The 2022/23 crop looks promising. Although December was very mild, adequate chill arrived in January. By then, flowering was progressing very well for the early and medium to late varieties in all areas. An important presence of male flowers was observed across the varieties.  USA With more than 90,000 acres (36,500 hectares) currently planted, the 2021 crop was another record for Oregon in terms of volume. Quality was excellent in regards to internal defects. However, in-shell sizing was drastically reduced as compared to 2020 primarily due to a dry summer and a large crop. Because of the late-harvest rains, the last 10% of the crop came in with an elevated amount of mold, rancidity, and discoloration.   In-shell shipping to Asia posted strong numbers with 14,100 MT exported to China, year to date November 2021. For the same period, 3,700 MT of kernels were shipped, primarily to Canada. Both domestic and export kernel shipments were strong during December and January, and are expected to continue to be so well into 2022.   At the time of this writing, weather was excellent for successful pollination, coupled with good orchard conditions, setting the foundation for a strong 2022 crop. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-hazelnuts-1Global Statistical Review, Almonds USA According to industry sources, total crop is expected to amount to 2.9 billion pounds/1.316 million metric tons (net crop of 2.842 B lbs./1.289 M MT). Due to the logistical problems the industry is facing with shipping lines, shipments are anticipated to reach a total of around 2.6-2.7 B lbs. (1.179-1.224 M MT), leaving a carry out of around 750-850 M lbs. (340,200-386,000 MT).   The January 2022 Almond Board of California Position Report shows receipts of 2.828 B lbs. (approx. 1.283 M MT) year-to-date, trailing the 2020/21 volume by 6.5% through the first six months. Total shipments August through January are down 16% when compared to last year’s record-setting pace. Current Computed Inventory is up 10% due to a carry-in of 608 M lbs. (approx. 276,000 MT) and shipments of 1.239 B lbs. (about 562,000 MT). Domestic shipments August through January have outperformed exports and are up 0.3% vs. CY 2020/21 at 392 M lbs. (approx. 176,900 MT). Global logistics challenges continue to put pressure on exports which are down 22% from a year ago. Shipments to Japan are up 14% through the first 6 months at nearly 42 M lbs. (18,900 MT) even while exports to the Asia-Pacific region lag CY 2020/21 totals. Australia The Almond Board of Australia announced a crop estimate of 145,000 MT for 2022/23, which is up on the 124,439 MT produced last season. The increase is due to existing plantings maturing and will be the second step in a significant five-year growth phase that will see the Australia crop exceed 185,000 MT by 2025. Almost 18 million trees have been planted across almost 59,000 hectares in the southern Murray Darling Basin and the Swan region of Western Australia.   The upcoming marketing season looks set to be one most the most challenging for the industry. ABA CEO Tim Jackson said that ongoing sea freight congestion was creating a lot of uncertainty and delayed shipments for the almond industry globally. “New season Australian almonds will be in high demand and a lot is being done behind the scenes to maintain a record pace for our export program. Despite all the challenges over the past 12 months, a record amount of product was delivered to more than 50 countries”, he said.   Mr. Jackson also pointed out that there had been a clear change in mindset with major buyers switching from a “just in time” ordering mentality, to one of ordering with a “just in case” philosophy to safeguard inventory levels. Buyers appear to be receptive to spreading their supply risk by procuring from more sources than they previously might, and this could open up exciting new sales opportunities in 2022.  Spain  According to the Nut Spanish Growers Association (AEOFRUSE) latest report, based on the Spanish Ministry of Industry and Trade data, December 2021 shipments were up by 37% from 2020 and added up to 11,700 MT, from which 8,538 MT were shelled almonds and the remaining 3,161 MT were processed forms (roasted and flour). Exports from August through December amounted to 71,872 MT, up by 19% from the same period in 2020. Western Europe remains the main market, representing 80% and 83% of the monthly and YTD shipments, respectively (including conventional and organic almonds, and re-exports). https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-almonds-1Global Statistical Review, Prunes USA As reported by the California Prune Board, a series of storms in December brought much-needed rain and snow to California, helping to recharge reservoirs and soil. More is needed to ensure ample supply for the spring and summer growing months. At the time of this writing, chill hours, necessary to help establish a healthy bloom in March, appeared to be on track. Global supply restrictions, an average-sized crop supported by managed inventory, and continued strong domestic and export sales have kept handlers busy filling customer orders of premium California Prunes. Supply-chain challenges, particularly delays and cancellations of scheduled ocean freight, remain problematic worldwide. Chile As informed by the Chile Prunes Association, overall growing conditions during 2021 were favorable and bloom was reported successful without drought losses. Harvest started in mid-February and production is anticipated to be good. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-prunes-1Global Statistical Review, Walnuts China  With final receipts of 1.1 million metric tons (in-shell basis), the 2021/22 crop remains unchanged. The price for premium varieties has been firm since the start of the season. With record overseas shipments this season, the industry has faced severe challenges due to labor shortage, exceedingly high freight rates and currency issues, which have absorbed nearly all possible margins of the shippers.   As usual, the demand was brisk prior to the Chinese Spring Festival. Steady to firm market is anticipated by the industry for the rest of the season in view of lower-than-normal inventory, but this will, to a great extent, depend on the worldwide COVID-19 situation. USA As reported by the California Walnut Board and Commission, the 2021/22 crop reached 653,320 MT, exceeding the USDA estimate by 7%.   Ongoing supply chain disruptions continue to plague global shippers compounded by west coast port slowdowns and global labor disruptions from the ongoing pandemic. Late rains were experienced towards the end of the harvest season, which may have an impact on the late crop arrivals. Demand should remain strong as walnuts, known for their health benefits, continue to be desired. Chile According to Chilenut, in line with the estimates made at the beginning of the season, the 2021 crop is estimated at 153,000 MT, in-shell basis. Exports year to date through December 31 amounted to 144,981 MT (in-shell equivalent). Based on Chilenut long-term projection and information received from growers, a new record production estimated at over 170,000 MT is anticipated for this year. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-walnuts-1Global Statistical Review, Macadamias South Africa  According to SAMAC Handlers/Processors’ survey, the current projection for the 2022 crop, forecasted at 57,723 metric tons dry nut-in-shell, is on the optimistic side, compared to 2021, which ended on 53,320 MT. This forecast will be updated towards the end of March 2022.   The 2021 South African macadamia crop was still affected by hot and dry conditions that prevailed for several years. Although most orchards are irrigated, water usage was restricted in certain areas, which together with very high temperatures, contributed significantly to physiological stress experienced by many orchards. Australia As reported by the Australian Macadamia Society, 2021 crop reached 51,500 MT in-shell at 3.5% moisture (55,200 MT in-shell at 10% moisture). This represents a 10% increase on the 2020 crop. While severe weather in NSW growing regions earlier in the year had caused crop loss in some parts of the state, Queensland growers experienced a comparatively good season, with favorable weather and good harvest conditions. In addition, the final crop figure was positively impacted by new plantings (predominantly in Bundaberg and the Clarence Valley) coming into production earlier than anticipated.   While there has been some variation in weather conditions across growing regions, overall early indications for the 2022 crop are positive. The 2022 crop is predicted to reach 54, 930 MT in-shell at 3.5% moisture (58,900 MT in-shell at 10% moisture), a 6.7% increase on 2021. Kenya According to NutPak, the 2021 crop, after final adjustment, hit 7,950 MT (kernel basis) and with a projected growth of 5%, it is expected to arrive to 8,300 MT in 2022. The apparent market stability portends a robust crop year supported by favorable weather. The season is expected to start by mid-March with first shipments ready by mid-April 2022. It is anticipated that Chinese appetite for kernels will strengthen demand. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-macadamias-1High Levels of Imports into the US are Expected While the Supply Chain Faces More Uncertainty According to an article from the US-based Supply Chain Management Review, a new port tracker report anticipates high import levels to remain consistent throughout 2022. The article goes on to state that due to a combination of strong consumer demand and continued supply chain challenges causing congestion, US ports could expect possible record levels of retail container imports. The report was issued by the National Retail Federations (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates. NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold commented, “consumers are still spending and the supply chain is still working to keep up. Retailers are also planning for potential additional disruptions this summer from the West Coast port labor contract negotiations.” Seatrade Maritime News has reported that China’s Ministry of Transport and National Development and Reform Commission has issued a joint notice to reduce port charges starting April 1 and onwards. The aim of this reduction is to reduce shipper and ship owner logistic expenses and promote the optimization of port business development. The notice states that the port infrastructure security fee will no longer be set by the government and will be included in port operation charges. Furthermore, the pilotage fee for international vessels at 18 ports will be reduced, among those ports are Shenzhen, Shanghai, Dalian, and Qingdao. Just as the world’s supply chain makes efforts to normalize to a certain degree, another challenge is now afoot, the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In an analysis article from Foreign Policy, the author mentions the United Kingdom has already barred all Russian ships from entering its ports and many see that the European Union will follow suit shortly. Additionally, three of the world’s biggest container shipping companies have now refused to operate in Russian ports. Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company has already announced that it will suspend all container traffic to and from Russia, while Denmark’s Maesrsk and France’s CMA CGM have also made similar announcements. All in all, it may be too soon to fully understand the conflict's effect on the world’s supply chain, but what is clear, is that there will be more disruptions for the time to come. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/high-levels-of-imports-into-the-us-are-expected-while-the-supply-chain-faces-more-uncertaintyFebruary 2022 INC Updates & News BriefRegister Now and Save Your Spot for the INC Congress 2022 in Dubai The INC Congress is just around the corner! From May 11-13, 2022, Dubai will play host to the industry's greatest event! After a successful Gulfood 2022, the INC is more certain than ever that Dubai is ready to welcome the entire nut and dried fruit industry. The INC also remains committed to the safety of its participants and therefore will be implementing proper health protocols to ensure that this Congress is an unforgettable experience! Hurry up and register to save your spot at the sector’s best event! Over 1000 participants from more than 60 countries are expected to be at the industry’s not-to-be-missed event to take advantage of networking and building business relationships. As of now, nearly 800 participants have already saved their spots! For more information on the program of the event, you can visit the Congress' website! [Register Now]  INC Academia Opens to Students The industry's premier training programs are officially here! Check out how the Basic Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits and the Advanced Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits can help your employees take their industry knowledge to the next level! Moreover, those enrolled in the Advanced Program have the option to get hands-on with the On-site portion of the program. Take a look at which program best suits your needs and if you're still not convinced, enjoy a free Industry Master Class! [More information]  INC Announces 2022 Call for Promotion and Dissemination Projects We are pleased to announce that the INC has launched the 2022 Call for Promotion and Dissemination Projects.   The goal of this grant is to fund promotion and dissemination projects aimed at building consumer demand for nuts or dried fruits, whenever such projects are beyond the scope of the INC, i.e. projects that the INC cannot fit within its regular activity, for instance, due to language or geographic challenges.   Up to €100,000 is available for the 2022 Grant. INC will only accept one project per institution and will fund a maximum of €50,000 per project/institution.   All projects must be submitted using the Application Form and in accordance with the Guidelines –both documents are available online.   Applications are due by March 25, 2022, 12:00 (noon) CET.  INC Wraps Up Another Successful Gulfood Pavilion The INC has just finished yet another successful Pavilion at Gulfood in Dubai. Beginning on February 13 and ending February 17, the INC Pavilion was turned into the heart and center of the nut and dried fruit industry. In total 18 companies exhibited with the INC and were able to showcase their products, network, and expand their market reach. Additionally, on Monday, February 14, the INC Cocktail returned, providing a wonderful environment for networking and catching up with old industry colleagues. For some, it was the first time in two years that they were able to meet in person. Check out the video below to see some highlights from the pavilion and stay tuned next week for more insights on Gulfood with testimonials!  [Read more] [Watch Gulfood Highlights] INC Monitors the Global Shipping Situation The shipping situation continues to put a strain on the global supply chain as congestion in many ports around the world is still elevated. Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka announced that the month of January was yet another record month for the port. According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Port of LA processed 865,595 twenty-foot equivalent units during the first month of 2022, which was 3.6% higher than the same period in 2021. The record was attributed to an early...[Read more]  INC Communicates the Latest Production and Trade Update on Pistachios Despite being an “off-year”, the 2021/2022 California crop finished high at 529,000 metric tons (1.16 billion pounds), with the main driver being the addition of new bearing acres. Good chill and bloom also contributed to the positive gain in crop development. In terms of quality, nut size is smaller than average, with low closed shell and insect damage. As reported by the Iran Pistachio Association, lower than expected volume of the 2021 Iranian crop, in addition to significant currency fluctuations and relatively strong export figures during the first fourth marketing months, have resulted in a rather stagnant equilibrium in the market and export prices. [Read more]  Updated Supply Situation on Peanuts Shared by INC According to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, China's peanut oil consumption remained weak during 2021, while raw material imports keep growing year on year, resulting in an oversupply and the consequent falling prices. Thus, farmers' planting intentions might be dampened for the next season. Both exports and imports are being impacted by the sea freight rates. The US is having the best crop ever in terms of quality and production, estimated at 2% up vs. last year. [Read more]        INC Delivers the Production Progress Report on Raisins According to the Aegean Exporters’ Association, 2021/22 Turkish dried grape production is estimated at 290,000 metric tons, 7% up from the previous season.  The Chinese 2021/22 crop is estimated at about 220,000 MT, composed of 80% green raisins and 20% Sultanas. Spring Festival sales were about 25% down compared to last year, as affected by the pandemic, less tourism and a slower economy overall. International shipments are also down by 25% from 2021. [Read more]  Health Article on Fertility and Nut Consumption Shared by INC Recent research has demonstrated that nuts can play an important role in preventing the decline in sperm quality. The regular consumption of nuts has largely demonstrated beneficial effects on human health through different mechanisms, such as reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, modulating endothelial function or reducing the risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, or cancer. Because of these demonstrated positive effects of nuts on health and chronic disease prevention, a novel line of research regarding fertility has recently emerged. [Read more]  INC Distributes Research on Prune Consumption and Bones Nutrients has recently published a study which set out to analyze the effect of prune consumption on bones in adult men. The study was conducted with thirty-five men aged from 55 to 80 years old. The participants were split up into three groups, one consuming 100 grams of prunes daily, another consuming 50 grams of prunes daily, and lastly, the control group which consumed zero prunes. In total, the study lasted three months. At the end of the trial, the researchers found that those who consumed 100 grams of prunes per day saw a significant...[Read more]  Research on Sleep and Peanut Stem and Leaf Extract Disseminated by INC The journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research has recently published an article that examines how two components of peanut stem and leaf extract might be beneficial for sleep. Peanut stem and leaf (PSL) is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been used as a dietary supplement to improve sleep quality, however, the reason that it is believed to improve sleep is largely unknown. Researchers set out to study PSL and determine what components may be beneficial for sleep quality. Through their analysis, it was discovered...[Read more]  INC Shares Latest Sustainability News In this month’s sustainability update from the INC, you can read about the latest Global Forum for Food and Agriculture where 68 countries pledged to safeguard agricultural soils and contribute to climate protection. In other news, EU members endorsed four legal acts that will simplify the process of approval and authorization of biological plant protection products containing micro-organisms. Lastly, the USDA has announced they will be accepting applications for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. The new Partnerships will provide up to $1 billion for pilot projects that create market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices. [Read more]  International Trade News Monitored by INC The INC continues to track international trade news and this past month the highlight includes the following updates. A recent report by the USDA, Economic Research Service estimated that retaliatory tariffs have caused a reduction of more than $27 billion in US agricultural exports, with the largest decline from exports to China. The update also includes two recent free trade agreements, one which has begun talks, and the other signed. UK and India have launched negotiations recently on an ambitious Free Trade Agreement. On February 3, 2022, Ukraine and Turkey signed a new Free Trade Agreement where Ukraine expects to increase trade with Turkey from $7.5 billion to $10 billion in 5 years. [Read more]  INC Reports on Latest Food Safety and Pesticide Updates Learn about the latest European Commission regulation modifying the temporary increase of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the European Union of certain goods from certain third countries. Moreover, also from the EU, as per a request from the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority has provided opinions on the safety of the use of glucosylated steviol glycosides as a food additive in different food categories. You can also read about an update on glyphosate in the EU as well as regulations modifying maximum residue levels. Lastly, read about the US Food and Drug Administration’s new guidance document on chlorpyrifos. [Food Safety] [Pesticide Updates] https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/february-2022-inc-updates-news-briefGlobal Statistical Review, Pistachios   USA  Despite being an “off-year”, the 2021/2022 crop finished high at 529,000 metric tons (1.16 billion pounds), with the main driver being the addition of new bearing acres. Good chill and bloom also contributed to the positive gain in crop development. In terms of quality, nut size is smaller than average, with low closed shell and insect damage.   Global demand is anticipated to remain strong. Crop to date US shipments as of December amounted to 137,800 MT (304 M lbs.), a 4.5% increase compared to last year’s December crop to date totals of 131,800 MT (290 M lbs.). Within the US, pistachios continue to be the highest selling snack nut and primary growth driver within the US snack nut category, with the trend of E-commerce and convenience snacking outpacing market growth. Within the export market, while major European markets are growing due to increased focus on health and more in-home consumption, several factors are continuing to affect sales in certain export markets. Those factors include: additional tariffs between China and US with increased quality requirements, shipment and logistic issues creating delays and supply chain challenges primarily to Asia, and the continued restrictions of COVID-19.  Iran  As reported by the Iran Pistachio Association, lower than expected volume of the 2021 crop, in addition to significant currency fluctuations and relatively strong export figures during the first fourth marketing months, have resulted in a rather stagnant equilibrium in the market and export prices. The global demand for Iranian pistachios has been put under pressure by the reduced availability of high-quality products and high kernel prices. On the supply side, an average outlook for next year’s crop in certain major geographic regions has resulted in sluggish sells, with large farmers offering a limited volume of their stock.   Demand for Iranian natural kernel is strong and shipments show an increasing trend. Natural kernels amounted to 10% of total export shipments (YTD at the end of the fourth marketing month) as compared to 7% for the same period the previous year. The high demand for kernels has resulted in a de facto price floor for Iranian in-shell pistachios.   As the traditional destination for green peeled pistachio kernels (GPPK), EU’s share has dropped as compared to the previous marketing year. This could be due to an increase in demand for GPPK in new destination markets, such as the Middle East and China, in addition to a devaluation of the EUR against the USD as compared to last year. Turkey After a historical high harvest last season, 2021/22 output was a relatively low off crop. Overall, farmers decided to harvest as early as possible in order to give trees as much time as possible to be ready for the next crop. As for the 2022/23 crop, new trees will start bearing next season, thus provided there will not be any draught/frost disruptions, another good crop is on its way.   Right after harvest, the Turkish Lira started depreciating and till mid-December 2021 it reached historical lowest levels. During this period, strong demand from abroad was strong due to the currency boost, but also very sharp corrections were seen. Global market has been expanding for Turkish pistachio and demand is looking very promising. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-pistachios-1Global Statistical Review Raisins, Sultanas and Currants Turkey According to the Aegean Exporters’ Association, 2021/22 Turkish dried grape production is estimated at 290,000 metric tons, 7% up from the previous season. Exports year to date (September 1, 2021-February 12, 2022) amounted to 121,643 MT, which represents an increment of 7% as compared to the same period in the 2020/21 marketing year. Shipments to Europe, the main market for Turkish dried grapes, added up to 65,868 MT, 12% up from 2020/21. Asia, the second top importing region, amounted to 12,781 MT, also 12% up from the prior season. China The Chinese 2021/22 crop is estimated at about 220,000 MT, composed of 80% green raisins and 20% Sultanas. Since the crop is bigger this season, prices are around 30-40% below last year.   Spring Festival sales were about 25% down compared to last year, as affected by the pandemic, less tourism and a slower economy overall. International shipments are also down by 25% from 2021.  USA California’s raisin-growing region, like most areas in California, received little rain last year. While rainfall was less than normal the last two years, raisin growers had water to irrigate their crops. The growing area also experienced a record for the most 100-degree Fahrenheit (38-degree Centigrade or higher) days in one year in 2021. Due to the lack of rain during winter/spring combined with the high heat during the growing season, raisins are generally smaller in size but, aside from this, the quality is good. Disruptions in getting export orders out remain as the industry continues to struggle in securing containers and bookings from steamship lines. Iran As reported by the Iran Dried Fruit Exporters Association, through the beginning of January 2022, Iran had exported 50,000 MT of dried grapes and domestic consumption was anticipated to reach 40,000 MT (mostly of Sundried and Sultana raisins). Therefore, with a total supply of 200,000 MT for the season, 110,000 MT remained available for shipping until the end of the marketing year. The remaining stock was composed of 55,000 MT of Sultana, 45,000 MT of Golden and 10,000 MT of Sundried raisins.   South Africa As per Raisins South Africa, the crop has developed well, with minor frost damages at the start of spring, and was initially forecasted at 78,000 MT of the marketable product (86,000 MT farmer’s stock). The Orange River valley, where 88% of South Africa’s raisins are grown, experienced high flows since January 2022 with above-average rainfall upstream in both the Vaal and Orange catchment regions. The high flow level damages were limited to 2-3% of the total hectares. However, showers towards the end of January and early February had a significant impact. Thus, the initial crop forecast was adjusted downwards to 65,000 MT of the marketable product (72,000 MT farmers’ stock). Raisins SA will continue to monitor the remainder of the harvesting season until final product delivery to processors concludes towards the end of April.   For the period January-December 2021, raisin exports performed well with minimal carry-over stock. Logistics have been somewhat difficult, but this is a global phenomenon experienced across all major product exports.  Argentina The province of San Juan, the largest producer of raisins in Argentina, has recorded intense heat waves along with a major drought during the southern hemisphere summer, causing a decrease in the estimated production and resulting in a marketable balance of 40,000 to 45,000 MT. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-raisins-sultanas-and-currantsGlobal Statistical Review, Peanuts China The domestic market is weaker since the 2021 crop harvest. Demand was reduced for the Chinese New Year because consumption was slow, especially for peanut oil. Both exports and imports are being impacted by the sea freight rates.   According to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the purchase of raw materials by domestic large-scale oil factories during the 2021/22 production season has been slightly higher than the average as compared to previous years. At the same time, most of the old peanut stock has been converted into peanut oil inventory. However, sales during the fourth quarter of last year, the peak consumption season, were on the low side. Thus, at the time of this writing, both raw materials and oil products inventory was large. Impacted by the pandemic, China's peanut oil consumption remained weak during 2021, while raw material imports keep growing year on year, resulting in an oversupply and the consequent falling prices. As China is the largest export market for African peanuts, their export quotation got obviously affected by domestic price fluctuations. From January to November 2021, the import of peanut kernels amounted to around 983,000 metric tons.   Based on the above analysis, after the Spring Festival, prices are expected to remain low and farmers' planting intentions might be dampened for the next season. Superimposed on the current corn and soybean planting benefits, a reduction in the peanut planted area could be anticipated. India As stated by the USDA, based on 5.8 M harvested hectares and 1.17 MT/ha, India’s 2021/22 crop added up to 6.8 M MT, up by 9% from 2020/21. Although the harvested area in 2021 was down from 2020 by 3%, the yield was up by 4.5%. Gujarat accounted for 37% of the production, followed by Tamil Nadu (14%), Andhra Pradesh (11%), Karnataka (8%) and Rajasthan (7%). Export shipments year to date through February 2022 added to 750,000 MT (in-shell basis).  USA The US is having the best crop ever in terms of quality and production, estimated at 2% up vs. last year. At the time of writing this report, while domestic demand remained strong (total edible 2021 was 1% up vs. 2020), Chinese demand stayed behind which may result in a big carry-over. In spite of the high cotton price, it is expected that peanuts will get a decent sowing area for the next crop as well. Due to the high input costs on corn (40% increase), a lesser corn area is anticipated. Although production is good, prices remained firm due to increased costs (e.g. inland freight doubled) and good domestic demand. There was still an imbalance logistically, due to port congestions and shortage of truck drivers.  Argentina The ongoing crop development has been very good with good weather throughout November and December last year. January 2022 started with a lack of rain and heatwaves adding some stress to the crop. Provided good rains come later in January and February-March the crop could be a good one —it will mostly depend on the rainfall. Planted area is estimated at 395,000 ha, 4% down from the previous season and yields might also have been affected by the drought in Cordoba, the main peanut area in the country.   In relation to domestic consumption, there has been a growth of around 10% in the last three years. Referring to exports, as of 2022, export duties have been reduced, remaining at 4.5% for confectionery peanuts, 3 % for blanched peanuts and 0% for tariff 2008.11 (processed products).  Brazil By early February 2022, Brazil was approaching the final stages of the crop. Rains came very well and a good harvest was expected. Harvest would start with the lots planted first in October. As rains were distributed evenly throughout the crop development, good quality and low aflatoxins are anticipated. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-peanuts-1Worldwide Shipping Congestion, While Port of Los Angeles Breaks Monthly RecordThe shipping situation continues to put a strain on the global supply chain as congestion in many ports around the world is still elevated. Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka announced that the month of January was yet another record month for the port. According to the Los Angeles Business Journal, the Port of LA processed 865,595 twenty-foot equivalent units during the first month of 2022, which was 3.6% higher than the same period in 2021. The record was attributed to an early lunar year in China which began on February 1. Despite almost nonstop coverage of the congestion in US ports, the backlog continues to grow in various European ports. In a Bloomberg article, it was reported that according to a heat map constructed by Flexport, six of ten European ports including Rotterdam, Hamburg, and the United Kingdom’s Felixstowe were considered orange, which ranks second-worst on the heat map. The article also touched on data that showed that the average shipment delay from China to the US West Coast had increased 114% in 2021 compared to a year earlier. For the European route, there was a 172% rise. Looking to China’s ports, as per a report from Global Times, the port in Hong Kong is experiencing a severe COVID-19 outbreak and as a result, major port Shenzhen has opened waterway transport channels to ensure that supplies, including daily necessities, are able to reach Hong Kong. According to Drewry’s World Container Index, throughout the month of February, spot rates among some the world’s largest routes have remained stagnant overall. Despite not increasing, the rates are still significantly higher than one year ago. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/worldwide-shipping-congestion-while-port-of-los-angeles-breaks-monthly-recordINC Wraps Up Another Successful Gulfood PavilionThe INC has just finished yet another successful Pavilion at Gulfood in Dubai. Beginning on February 13 and ending February 17, the INC Pavilion was turned into the heart and center of the nut and dried fruit industry. In total 18 companies exhibited with the INC and were able to showcase their products, network, and expand their market reach.  Throughout the event, exhibitors held business meetings with new clients and previous clients alike. INC Chairman Michael Waring commented, "the nut and dried fruit industry has been on trend for the last 10 years," and the active atmosphere of the pavilion with many visitors served as a clear example of this ongoing trend. Additionally, on Monday, February 14, the INC Cocktail returned, providing a wonderful environment for networking and catching up with old industry colleagues. For some, it was the first time in two years that they were able to meet in-person. The relaxing but professional atmosphere of the INC Cocktail resulted in an outstanding evening where INC members from all over the world were finally able to be under the same roof and discuss the sector. INC Executive Director, Goretti Guasch commented, "over the past few days we have seen a very heavy traffic flow of people with lots of business taking place and fantastic networking opportunities and new contacts being made." https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-wraps-up-another-successful-gulfood-pavilionCongestion Begins to Ease Slightly in Californian PortsAccording to The Wall Street Journal, the number of vessels waiting to unload goods at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach has fallen to 78. This is the lowest number of ships waiting since November, although it continues to be much higher than pre-pandemic.  According to Port of Los Angeles Executive Director, Gene Seroka, US retailers are aiming to replenish inventory during the second quarter of the year, and this could mean that once their inventories are full, US supply chains would have the chance to normalize just before summer. Moreover, in a Bloomberg TV interview, the CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk, Soren Skou revealed that he believes that ocean shipping should begin to return to normal in the second half of the year.   On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Chinese ports are beginning to operate as normal following the Chinese New Year holiday. In an article from The Load Star, southern Chinese ports at Yantian, Shekou and Guangzhou are back to normal operations and in north China, Qingdao and Tiajin have also returned to normal operations. The traditional post-new year slowdown has helped Chinese ports with congestion, however there are still large backlogs of ships waiting to enter ports and container shortages. For example, the port of Shanghai is still suffering from heavy congestion with a one-week delay for most ships.   The latest assessment of spot freight rates from Drewry’s World Container Index shows that the composite index slightly decreased 0.2% compared to last week, although it remains 80% higher than one year ago. Rotterdam to Shanghai and New York to Rotterdam decreased the most at 3% each, while Los Angeles to Shanghai and Shanghai to Los Angeles saw small decreases of 1%. The only route to have the spot rate increase is Shanghai to New York, which rose 2%. The other routes all remained constant compared to the previous week. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/congestion-begins-to-ease-slightly-in-californian-portsPesticides Update: February 2022EU: Glyphosate, Update According to FRUCOM, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) expects their Risk Assessment Committee (RAC) opinion on the classification of glyphosate under the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation to be finalized in May-June 2022.   The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) will take the outcome of ECHA’s opinion into account in its peer review, which is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2022.   Glyphosate is currently approved for use in the EU until December 15, 2022.   More information  EU: MRLs, Update The European Commission published the Regulation (EU) 2022/78 of 19 January 2022, modifying the maximum residue levels (MRLs) for dazomet, hexythiazox, metam and methylisothiocyanate in or on certain products.   Among others, the following MRLs (mg/kg) are listed: Code number Product Methylisothiocyanate (resulting from the use of dazomet or metam) Hexythiazox (any ratio of constituent isomers) (F) 0120000 Tree nuts 0.01 (*) 0.05 0140010 Apricots 0.01 (*) 0.7 (+) 0140040 Plums 0.01 (*) 0.7 (+) 0151000 Grapes 0.01 (*) 1 0154020 Cranberries 0.01 (*) 0.01 (*) 0161000 Dates 0.01 (*) 2 0161020 Figs 0.01 (*) 0.01 (*) 0401020 Peanuts 0.01 (*) 0.01 (*) (*) Limit of analytical determination (+) The European Food Safety Authority identified some information on residue trials unavailable. See footnotes in the Regulation.   The Regulation shall apply from August 9, 2022.   Commission Regulation (EU) 2022/78 of 19 January 2022 amending Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for dazomet, hexythiazox, metam and methylisothiocyanate in or on certain products US: Chlorpyrifos, FDA Guidance for Industry The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the guidance document, ‘Questions and Answers Regarding Channels of Trade Policy for Human Food Commodities with Chlorpyrifos Residues: Guidance for Industry’, intended to help food producers and processors who handle foods that may contain residues of the pesticide chemical chlorpyrifos.   The final rule, ‘Tolerance Revocations: Chlorpyrifos’, published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on August 30, 2021, revoked all tolerances for chlorpyrifos; these tolerances are set to expire on February 28, 2022.   The FDA’s approach has two phases and applies to both raw agricultural commodities and processed foods:   Stage 1: The FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion by not requesting showing documentation for residues complying with previous tolerances for a time period ranging from approx. 6-24 months, depending on the commodity. This is based on their estimate of how long raw agricultural commodities would remain on the market (e.g., time for growing and postharvest storage, distribution, and sale). Stage 2: The Agency will accept showing documentation that demonstrates that chlorpyrifos was applied before February 28, 2022. If the responsible party does not provide appropriate documentation, the food may be subject to regulatory action.  More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-february-2022Food Safety Update: February 2022EU: Increased Official Controls On December 17, 2021, the European Commission published the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/2246, amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 and modifying the temporary increase of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the European Union of certain goods from certain third countries.   As for nuts and dried fruits, the changes to official controls at the entry into the EU are the following:   Product Origin Reason Action Peanuts/groundnuts and products produced from groundnuts Argentina Aflatoxins Transferred from Annex II to Annex I maintaining the level of frequency of identity and physical checks at 5% of consignments entering the Union. Hazelnuts and products produced from hazelnuts Azerbaijan Aflatoxins Transferred from Annex II to Annex I maintaining the level of frequency of identity and physical checks at 20 % of consignments entering the Union. Hazelnuts and products produced from hazelnuts Turkey Aflatoxins Delisting from Annex I Groundnut paste Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Senegal, United States, Egypt, Ghana, Gambia, India, and Sudan Aflatoxins The category ‘groundnuts paste’ and relevant CN codes for groundnuts paste should be added for the entries relating to groundnuts for Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Senegal and for the United States in Annex I and for Egypt, Ghana, Gambia, India, and Sudan in Annex II.   The Regulation entered into force on January 6, 2022.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/2246 of 15 December 2021 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 on the temporary increase of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the Union of certain goods from certain third countries implementing Regulations (EU) 2017/625 and (EC) No 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council EU: Safety Evaluation, Glucosylated Steviol Glycosides as a Food Additive Following a request from the European Commission to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the Panel on Food Additives and Flavourings was asked to provide a scientific opinion on the safety of the use of glucosylated steviol glycosides as a food additive in different food categories.   The Panel concluded that there is no safety concern for the use of glucosylated steviol glycosides as a new food additive at the proposed use and use levels.   The results of the assessment are included in the Scientific Opinion published on February 9, 2022. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-february-2022Sustainability Update: February 2022Sixty-eight Countries Commit to Agricultural Soil Protection At the last Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, a total of 68 countries pledged to contribute to climate protection and biodiversity conservation by safeguarding agricultural soils.   According to the final communiqué, agricultural soils are critical in the production of sufficient nutritious and safe food, adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, and the halting and reversal of biodiversity loss.   Participants also pledged to promote measures to improve sustainable water management and natural water flows and retention in the agricultural landscape, including measures to minimise water quality degradation from agricultural activities.   More information EU: Micro-organisms in Plant Protection Products, New Rules On February 10, 2022, Member States endorsed four legal acts that are expected to simplify the process of approval and authorization of biological plant protection products containing micro-organisms. The goal is to give farmers tools to help them avoid using chemical plant protection products. Farmers —including those producing organic crops— will have more alternatives for sustainable crop protection if the European Commission makes it easier to get biological plant protection products on the market.   Before micro-organisms are authorized to be used, it must be proven that they are safe and have no harmful effects on human or animal health, or other non-target organisms. Until now, the requirements for micro-organisms were based on principles that were very similar to those for chemical active substances. The new acts follow a different approach, which is based on the biology and ecology of each micro-organism and takes into account the most recent scientific evidence. In this way, the regulatory requirements become more ‘fit-for-purpose' and flexible. Furthermore, focusing just on relevant data means less animal testing, as fewer experiments on animals will be required.   According to the Commission, in 2019, the EU had almost 330,000 organic farmers, accounting for up to 20% of total farmland. One of the targets of the Farm to Fork Strategy concerns the increase of the total farmland under organic farming in EU, with at least 25% of the EU's agricultural land to be under organic farming by 2030.   The acts will be scrutinized by the European Parliament and the Council. If they do not object, they will be adopted and be applicable in Q4 2022.   More information US: Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now accepting project applications for fiscal year 2022. The purpose of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities is to support farmers, ranchers and forest owners through climate solutions that increase resilience, expand market opportunities and strengthen rural America.   The new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities will provide up to $1 billion for pilot projects that create market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices:   Implement climate-smart production practices, activities and systems on working lands  Measure/quantify, monitor and verify the carbon and greenhouse gas benefits associated with those practices Develop markets and promote the resulting climate-smart commodities More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-february-2022Latest Trade News and Agreements: February 2022Retaliatory Tariffs, Economic Impact A recent report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, estimates that the retaliatory tariffs on steel and aluminum caused a reduction of more than $27 billion (or annualized losses of $13.2 billion) in US agricultural exports, with the largest decline from exports to China.   In 2020, US agricultural exports to China significantly rebounded following the signing of the US-China Phase One Economic and Trade Agreement and a separate retaliatory tariff waiver program; however, one year after the deal, US market share still remained below pre-retaliatory tariff levels.   Morgan, Stephen, Shawn Arita, Jayson Beckman, Saquib Ahsan, Dylan Russell, Philip Jarrell, and Bart Kenner. January 2022. The Economic Impacts of Retaliatory Tariffs on U.S. Agriculture, ERR-304, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.  UK-India: Free Trade Agreement Talks The UK and India launched negotiations on an ambitious Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on January 13. The deal is expected to create huge benefits for both countries and to help double bilateral trade by 2030.   The proposed FTA is projected to boost Indian exports in industries like textiles, jewelry and processed agri-products, India’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry announced.   According to Reuters, the two countries aim to reach a deal by the end of the year.   More information Ukraine-Turkey: Free Trade Agreement Signed Ukraine and Turkey signed a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on February 3, 2022. Ukraine expects the agreement to increase trade with Turkey from $7.5 billion to $10 billion in 5 years.   Furthermore, as a result of this FTA, countries of the Black Sea basin —Georgia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine— will be bound by free trade agreements with common rules.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-february-20222022 Call for Promotion and Dissemination ProjectsWe are pleased to announce that the INC has launched the 2022 Call for Promotion and Dissemination Projects.   The goal of this grant is to fund promotion and dissemination projects aimed at building consumer demand for nuts or dried fruits, whenever such projects are beyond the scope of the INC, i.e. projects that the INC cannot fit within its regular activity, for instance, due to language or geographic challenges.   Targeted projects: Activities that provide markets and consumers with information on the properties and qualities of nuts and dried fruits (e.g. marketing campaigns at points-of-sale, education campaigns at schools…) Market research and activities aimed at ensuring that buyers, consumers and health professionals know about nuts and dried fruits and their many positive features (e.g. participation in specialized events…) Priorities: Promoting nuts and dried fruits use and consumption in markets where INC headquarters face barriers of entry, for instance, due to language or geographic challenges. Projects to be undertaken in developing countries. Multi-collaborative projects and cooperation with INC members and industry-related partners. Project proposals aimed at disseminating the outcomes of the scientific findings that come from INC-funded research or new scientific findings that have been published in high-impact scientific journals. Supporting the development of innovative new products and marketing initiatives. Innovative proposals   Up to €100,000 is available for the 2022 Grant. INC will only accept one project per institution, and will fund a maximum of €50,000 per project/institution.   All projects must be submitted using the Application Form and in accordance with the Guidelines –both documents are available online.   Applications are due by March 25, 2022, 12:00 (noon) CET. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/2022-call-for-promotion-and-dissemination-projectsUSDA Announces Partnership to Restore Disrupted Shipping ServicesUS Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has unveiled plans to restore shipping services that have been disrupted during the ongoing shipping crisis. The plan is mainly focused on increasing capacity at the Port of Oakland in California, which has largely seen carriers suspend service in attempts to send empty containers back to Asia. As part of the partnership, the USDA will join the Port of Oakland to set up a new 25-acre “pop-up” site to enable companies to fill empty shipping containers with their commodities. Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary said, “I wish to thank the USDA for making this investment. It will help improve access to overseas markets for California agriculture producers at a critical time of year for exports of high-value specialty crop.” The latest assessment of spot freight rates from Drewry’s World Container Index shows that the composite index slightly decreased 0.2% compared to last week, although it remains 80% higher than one year ago. Rotterdam to Shanghai and New York to Rotterdam decreased the most at 3% each, while Los Angeles to Shanghai and Shanghai to Los Angeles saw small decreases of 1%. The only route to have the spot rate increase is Shanghai to New York, which rose 2%. The other routes all remained constant compared to the previous week. Some economists are beginning to be bullish on the congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. According to Freight Waves, the number of ships waiting for berths at the two ports has dropped to 78 this week. This is the lowest number in the last three months, and 28% lower than the record of 109 ships just one month ago. However, economists warn that it is too early to tell if this decrease is just a break before another increase, or if it is the beginning of the end. The Port of Shanghai and the Port of Los Angeles, along with both cities and other key stakeholders such as C40 cities, Maersk, CMA CGM, Shanghai International Ports Group, and COSCO, have announced a partnership to create the first transpacific green shipping corridor. The goal of this partnership is to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the introduction of low, ultra-low, and zero-carbon fueled ships throughout the 2020s, development of best practices to improved efficiency, and improving air quality in the ports of Shanghai and Los Angeles through better port operations. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/usda-announces-partnership-to-restore-disrupted-shipping-servicesJanuary 2022 INC Updates & News BriefThe INC Advances in the Implementation of its Sustainability Agenda Through its Sustainability Manifesto, the INC publicly calls for the nut and dried fruit industry to accelerate sustainability commitments that are tangible, quantifiable and measurable. The INC believes that all actors throughout the supply chain can take action to tangibly improve and communicate how the industry has an impact on sustainability and contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. [Manifesto]   In addition, as part of its mission to stimulate and facilitate sustainable growth of the global nut and dried fruit industry, the INC has identified a shortlist of focus Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the sector. It is conceived as a guide for companies to help them incorporate the SDGs into their Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) policies, identify specific metrics and indicators and implement concrete actions. [Focus SDGs] [Read more]  Join the INC for the Best Event in the Industry, the INC Congress From May 11-13, 2022, Dubai will transform into the heart of the nut and dried fruit industry with the INC Congress, and there is still have time to register! Starting March 1, 2022, the rates will increase to €200, so take advantage of the savings and register now! Network with top business leaders and put yourself in a largely market-focused atmosphere. Over 1,000 participants from more than 60 countries are expected to be at the industry’s not-to-be-missed event this May. As of now, 720 participants from 50 countries have already saved their spots! We cannot wait to see you there in person! [Preliminary Program]  INC Pavilion at Gulfood 2022    To date, 18 companies will join the INC Pavilion at Gulfood from February 13-17. With an excellent high-visibility location at Za'Abeel Hall 5, co-exhibitors will have the best opportunities to network and connect with potential business clients. We hope to see you in Dubai and if you're not co-exhibiting with the INC, come stop by and say hello! Don't forget to come by for the exclusive INC Cocktail on Monday, February 14 from 6:00 - 7:00 pm. [More information]  INC Academia, the Best Education in the Industry The 5th edition of the INC Academia, is just around the corner opening February 15, so save your spot in either the Basic Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits or the Advanced Program on Nuts & Dried Fruits. Each program features new courses, expanding the reach of the entire INC Academia. Moreover, new to this edition are the free Industry Master Classes, a great way to get a peek into what topics are covered in the INC Academia, or if you're already enrolled, use them for some additional material to take a deeper look into specific topics! [More information]                      Ongoing Global Shipping Monitored by INC According to the Drewry World Container Index, the spot freight rates have slightly decreased 2.9% compared to the previous week. Although, this remains 79% higher than one year ago. Of the major routes tracked by Drewry, Shanghai to Los Angeles saw the largest decrease at 5%. Shanghai to New York also dropped 5%, while Shanghai to Rotterdam fell 3%. The rest of the major routes remained unchanged. Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka recently addressed the...[Read more] INC Distributes Findings from Health Study on Peanuts and Tree Nuts A recent study published in Frontiers in Nutrition aimed to examine how consuming peanuts and tree nuts affected the lipid profile in type 2 diabetic patients. Type 2 diabetes is associated with metabolic disorders, especially on the lipid profile, and diet can play a significant effect on blood lipids. To analyze the effect of peanut and tree nut consumption on the lipid profile, researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled-feeding clinical studies. The authors searched various databases to identify possible studies to include in the review...[Read more]  INC Shares Highlights from Nut Consumption and Cancer Study The International Journal of Cancer has published a new study looking at the association between nut consumption and cancer outcomes for long-term breast cancer survivors. Nut consumption is associated with lower total and cause-specific mortality in general populations, but there is not evidence on the association for long-term breast cancer survivors. The study’s researchers included peanuts and tree nuts in their analysis and assessed at 5-year postdiagnosis with overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) for a total of 3,449 long-term...[Read more] INC Informs on the Latest FDA Review of a Notification Regarding a Health Claim Related to Peanut Allergies The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) undertook a review of a notification in regards of explicit health claims linked to the introduction of certain foods to infants and the reduction in the risk of developing food allergies. In the authorization process of these claims, the FDA took into account statements from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. Manufacturers can use the following claims on the label of any food product that may be...[Read more] New FDA Qualified Health Claim for Magnesium and Reduced Risk of High Blood Pressure Shared by INC The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on January 10, 2022, a new qualified health claim for magnesium and reduced risk of high blood pressure. The following qualified health claims for conventional foods and dietary supplements are included in the FDA’s letter of enforcement discretion:   “Inconsistent and inconclusive scientific evidence suggests that diets with adequate magnesium may reduce the risk of high blood...[Read more]  International Trade News Monitored by INC The INC has been tracking some of the most recent news in international trade which includes information on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), that came into effect on January 1, 2022. Moreover, there are updates on various free trade agreements including Australia, India, the UK, the EU, New Zealand, and Georgia. Lastly, the update touches on some new EU regulations regarding tariffs and imports. [Read more]  INC Shares Latest Sustainability News Among the news in the INC latest sustainability update is a 2022 priority list from the EU that includes the European Green Deal, digital transformation, a people-friendly economy, EU's Global Gateway, promoting the European way of life, and protecting and strengthening democracy and European values. Also in the update is the EU's support to promote sustainable agri-food products during 2022. Across the world, California is implementing new measures on organic waste collection in efforts to reduce emissions. And the FAO releases a report on sustainable agricultural practices. [Read more] INC Reports on Latest Food Safety Updates, Pesticides, and New Labeling Information Learn about various EFSA news regarding food safety and pesticides. The updates also include information about China's newly revised agricultural product quality and safety law. The WHO revealed its draft for food safety strategy during the time period 2022-2030 which highlights strengthening national food control systems, address global food safety challenges, improving the use of food chain information, encouraging stakeholder engagement and promoting food safety as an essential component in domestic, regional, and international food trade. [More on food safety] [More on pesticides] [More on labeling]    https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/january-2022-inc-updates-news-briefThe INC Advances in the Implementation of its Sustainability AgendaThe INC is committed to supporting the nut and dried fruit industry and member companies in their sustainable journeys. To do so, three objectives have been identified where we could all come together and make a difference.    Safety-net: Monitoring sustainability policies to ensure regulations are achievable and commercially feasible. Knowledge-share: Increasing the understanding of sustainability challenges and opportunities through communication, awareness and partnerships. Positive-messaging: Disseminating the improvements the sector is implementing. The Sustainability Agenda requires working collaboratively with stakeholders. As a first step, the INC created an international working group with experts from both the academic and the private sector that will serve as a repository of key talking points and fact-based information across the nut and dried fruit sector.   Through its Sustainability Manifesto, the INC publicly calls for the nut and dried fruit industry to accelerate sustainability commitments that are tangible, quantifiable and measurable. The INC believes that all actors throughout the supply chain can take action to tangibly improve and communicate how the industry has an impact on sustainability and contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. [Manifesto]   In addition, as part of its mission to stimulate and facilitate sustainable growth of the global Nut and Dried Fruit Industry, the INC has identified a shortlist of focus Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the sector. It is conceived as a guide for companies to help them incorporate the SDGs into their Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) policies, identify specific metrics and indicators and implement concrete actions. [Focus SDGs] https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/the-inc-advances-in-the-implementation-of-its-sustainability-agendaRecord Profits for Shipping Companies Projected in 2022According to the Drewry World Container Index, the spot freight rates have slightly decreased 2.9% compared to the previous week. Although, this remains 79% higher than one year ago. Of the major routes tracked by Drewry, Shanghai to Los Angeles saw the largest decrease at 5%. Shanghai to New York also dropped 5%, while Shanghai to Rotterdam fell 3%. The rest of the major routes remained unchanged.    Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka recently addressed the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association’s providing a “State of the Port”. During the event, Seroka recapped 2021 and set the priorities for 2022. He announced that the Port of Los Angeles processed around 10.7 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units, breaking the previous record by 13%. Looking forward to 2022, Seroka outlined various Port initiatives and priorities such as supply chain efficiency, workforce development and job creation, cybersecurity, and the environment. Turning to the shipping lines, Seatrade Maritime News reported that Drewry has announced in their latest Container Forecaster Report that container shipping profitability continues to skyrocket with a Q3 EBIT of $70.9 billion, more than nine times higher compared to the previous year. The Q3 number brings the total sector EBIT to $139.5 billion through the first nine months of 2021. This has prompted Drewry to increase their forecast for the year from $150 billion to $190 billion. For 2022, Drewry is forecasting an even higher EBIT for container shipping, reaching $200 billion. Simon Heaney, Senior Manager for Container Research at Drewry, stated, “we think that 3Q2021 probably represents the peak quarterly earnings for carriers, but that quarterly results in 2022 will stay on a more even keep that will average out slightly higher.” At the Port of Shanghai, current congestion is reportedly costing $4.5 billion a week in lost trade, according to risk management firm Russell Group. China’s zero-COVID policy and the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations are two factors currently contributing to congestion at Chinese ports. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/record-profits-for-shipping-companies-projected-in-2022Latest Health Claims: January 2022New FDA Qualified Health Claim for Magnesium and Reduced Risk of High Blood Pressure The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on January 10, 2022, a new qualified health claim for magnesium and reduced risk of high blood pressure (hypertension). The following qualified health claims for conventional foods and dietary supplements are included in the FDA’s letter of enforcement discretion:   “Inconsistent and inconclusive scientific evidence suggests that diets with adequate magnesium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), a condition associated with many factors.” “Consuming diets with adequate magnesium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension). However, the FDA has concluded that the evidence is inconsistent and inconclusive.” “Some scientific evidence suggests that diets with adequate magnesium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), a condition associated with many factors. The FDA has concluded that the scientific evidence supporting this claim is inconsistent and not conclusive.”  With the exception of tree nuts, FDA intends to consider that conventional foods labeled with a magnesium and high blood pressure qualified health claim meet the disqualifying levels for “total fat”, “saturated fat”, “cholesterol”, or “sodium” level as described in 21 CFR 101.14(a). Tree nuts, such as almonds and cashews, that contain approximately 20% of the DV for magnesium per 1 oz serving, would exceed the total fat disqualifying nutrient level, but the FDA intends to provide enforcement discretion from the disqualifying level for “total fat” for tree nuts. The FDA believes that a qualified health claim about the consumption of magnesium from tree nuts could assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices. The FDA reasons that nuts, in general, are nutrient-dense foods that can serve as protein sources and contribute to a healthy US-style eating pattern, as well as the Healthy Vegetarian Dietary Pattern. More information  Latest FDA Review of a Notification Regarding a Health Claim Related to Peanut Allergies The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) undertook a review of a notification in regards of explicit health claims linked to the introduction of certain foods to infants and the reduction in the risk of developing food allergies. In the authorization process of these claims, the FDA took into account statements from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.   Manufacturers can use the following claims on the labeling of any food product that may be suitable with the claims:   “If a baby has severe eczema, egg allergy or both, introducing age-appropriate, peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months may reduce the risk of developing a peanut allergy. Caregivers should check with the baby’s healthcare provider before feeding the baby peanut-containing foods.” “For babies with an increased risk of peanut allergy (babies with severe eczema, egg allergy or both), introducing age-appropriate, peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months may reduce the risk of developing a peanut allergy. Caregivers should check with the baby’s healthcare provider before feeding the baby peanut-containing foods.” More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-health-claims-january-2022Food Safety Update: January 2022China: Agricultural Product Quality and Safety Law Revised Draft According to a recent USDA GAIN report, China has published a revised draft to replace the currently effective law from 2006, “Agricultural Product Quality and Safety Law of the People's Republic of China”.   Some of the major changes from the revised draft in comparison to the original 2006 law include: It expands the scope of “agricultural products” to “primary products originated from planting, forestry, animal husbandry and fishery, etc., i.e., the plants, animals, microbes and their products obtained from agricultural activities” (Article 2); The revised law reflects the guiding principle that producers and operators of agricultural products are to be held accountable for quality and safety of their products (Article 7 and Article 27). Article 24 urges producers, operators, and users of agricultural inputs (pesticides, fertilizers, agriculture-use film) to properly collect and dispose packages and waste of such inputs. Article 34 provides that China reinforces protection and management of geographic identification of agricultural products.  More information EFSA: Assessment of an Application on a Detoxification Process of Groundnut Press Cake for Aflatoxins by Ammoniation The European Commission requested the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) to provide a scientific output on an application for a detoxification process of groundnut press cake for aflatoxins by ammoniation. Precisely, the authorities require that the feed decontamination process is compliant with the acceptability criteria specified in the Commission Regulation (EU) 2015/786 of 19 May 2015.   More information EFSA: Draft Opinion Proposes Lowering the Tolerable Daily Intake of Bisphenol A The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has undertaken a re-evaluation process of the risks of bisphenol A in food, and proposes to considerably lower the tolerable daily intake compared to its previous assessment in 2015.   EFSA’s conclusions on bisphenol A are detailed in a draft scientific opinion that is open for public consultation until February 22, 2022. All interested parties are encouraged to contribute to the consultation.   More information  EU: New Ochratoxin A MLs Draft According to FRUCOM, the Commission has drafted a new regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels of ochratoxin A in certain foodstuffs.   Taking into account that ochratoxin A has been found in foods for which no maximum level has been established yet and which contribute to the human exposure to ochratoxin A, the Commission is to set a maximum level also for these foods such as dried fruits and pistachio nuts, among other products.   The draft presents the following new MLs (µg/kg): Dried vine fruit (currants, raisins and sultanas and dried figs): 8.0 Other dried fruit: 2.0 Pistachios to be subjected to sorting, or other physical treatment, before placing on the market for final consumer or use as an ingredient in food: 10.0 Pistachios placed on the market for final consumer or use as an ingredient in foodstuffs: 5.0 The draft is expected to be voted on soon. The new Ochratoxin A regulation would apply from January 1, 2023.   UK: Food Security Report 2021 The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom published on December 22, 2021, a report setting out a study of statistical data related with food security. Since the approval of the Agricultural Act on 2020, the UK Food Security Report analyzes trends that are relevant to food security.   Themes include: Global Food Availability UK Food Supply Sources Food Supply Chain Resilience Food Security at Household Level Food Safety and Consumer Confidence  More information  WHO: Draft Global Strategy for Food Safety 2022-2030 The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed its draft food safety strategy for the period 2022-2030.   The strategy builds on five interlinked strategic priorities and “aims to build forward-looking, evidence-based, people-centered, and cost-effective food safety systems with coordinated governance and adequate infrastructures”.   The five strategic priorities are:  Strengthening national food control systems. Identifying and responding to food safety challenges resulting from global changes and food systems transformation. Improving the use of food chain information, scientific evidence, and risk assessment in making risk management decisions. Strengthening stakeholder engagement and risk communication. Promoting food safety as an essential component in domestic, regional and international food trade. More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-january-2022Labeling Update: January 2022China: Hong Kong Voluntary Salt and Sugar Labeling Scheme for Prepackaged Food Products According to a recent USDA GAIN report, Hong Kong is encouraging the trade to use less salt and sugar for foods by introducing a voluntary “Salt/Sugar” label scheme for prepackaged food products.   Consumers may be benefited from these nutrient labels, as they can help them identify products with low/no sugar or salt.   The list of products includes snacks that contain nut products. A full list of food and drinks can be found on The Hong Kong Center for Food Safety (CFS) website.   More information  UE: Public Consultation on the Revision of Food Labeling Requirements The European Commission launched on December 13, 2021, a public consultation period for the upcoming revision to the Food Information to Consumers Regulation. The Commission is seeking views on different proposed changes to front-of-pack nutrition labeling, nutrient profiling criteria to restrict claims, origin labeling, date marking, and alcoholic beverages labeling.   Deadline for comments ends March 7, 2022.   More information  Vietnam Amends Labeling Requirements for Imported Goods A USDA GAIN report summarizes and unofficially translates Decree 11/2021/ND-CP from December 9, 2021, that amends and supplements Decree 43/2017/NDCP on Goods Labeling. This amendment groups all categories of food, beverages, and agricultural products distributed in Vietnam, both domestically produced and imported.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-january-2022Pesticides Update: January 2022Australia: Proposal to Amend the Food Standards Code This Proposal pursues to amend the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code to bring into line the following maximum residue limits (MRLs) for various agricultural and veterinary chemicals, in order to be consistent with other national regulations relating to the safe and effective use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals: Aclonifen, Cyflumetofen, Cyprodinil, Dithiocarbamates, Florylpicoxamid, Fludioxonil, Glyphosate, Imazapic, Imazapyr, Propiconazole and Spirotetramat in specified plant commodities Aclonifen, Cyflumetofen and Florylpicoxamid in specified animal commodities.   Deadline for comments ends February 18, 2022.   More information EFSA Publishes Reasoned Opinion on Isoxaben The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published on January 17, 2022, a review of the existing maximum residue levels for isoxaben according to Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005.   The metabolism of isoxaben in plants was investigated in primary and rotational crops. According to the results of the metabolism studies, the residue definition for enforcement and risk assessment can be proposed as parent isoxaben for all crops following soil treatment and early post-emergence applications.   More information  EU: Draft Commission Regulation as Regards Pesticide MRLs Draft Commission Regulation amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for 2,4-D, azoxystrobin, cyhalofop-butyl, cymoxanil, fenhexamid, flazasulfuron, florasulam, fluroxypyr, iprovalicarb and silthiofam in or on certain products G/SPS/N/EU/533 Following the evaluation of confirmatory data, the proposed draft Regulation amends the existing MRLs for 2,4-D, azoxystrobin, cyhalofop-butyl, cymoxanil, fenhexamid, flazasulfuron, florasulam, iprovalicarb and silthiofam in certain food commodities and keeps the existing MRLs for fluroxypyr.   Products covered include tree nuts and certain fruit and vegetables.   Deadline for comments ends February 18, 2022.   More information  EU: MRL Applications The Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed Section Phytopharmaceuticals – Pesticide Residues held a meeting on November 22-23, 2021.   The following MRL applications had been submitted in accordance with Article 6 of EC No 396/2005 in support of import tolerances: flutolanil used in the United States on peanuts/ groundnuts; azoxystrobin used in Colombia on oil palm fruits; outcome of the vote by written procedure: favourable opinion.  More information  Japan: 245th Food Safety Group A recent USDA GAIN report highlights proposed revisions from Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare to maximum residue levels (MRL) for 7 agricultural chemicals (Sulfoxaflor, Pyraflufen-ethyl, Benthiavalicarb-isopropyl, Polyoxorim-zinc, Polyoxin complex, Spinosad, and also to Pyrantel and Morantel) for numerous agricultural commodities. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Welfare proposes to designate a feed additive (Benzoic acid) as a "Substance having no potential to cause damage to human health", which will exempt it from MRL establishment.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-january-2022Latest Trade News and Agreements: January 2022Australia-India Free Trade Agreement Interim Talks Come Closer According to FreshPlaza, Australia offered to give tariff concessions to 99% of its traded goods with India instead of opening up of India's dairy and agriculture sectors through low or zero tariffs.   Australia’s imports to India include vegetables, wool, fruits, nuts and lentils.   Both parties agreed to materialize their bilateral agreement by the end of 2022. More information  Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) Signed On December 17, 2021 both parties signed the A-UKFTA, the first UK trade agreement since leaving the European Union. It is expected to enter into force throughout 2022   Key outcomes include: Elimination of tariffs on most fruits and vegetables, including tariffs on almonds, macadamias, other nuts and dried fruits. Enhanced digital trade, including through new rules around data sharing and electronic contracts. Elimination of tariffs over seven years for the remaining products. More information China: Decree 248 Single Window Operation Manuals and Tutorial The U.S. Department of Agriculture has grouped relevant information regarding China’s recently implemented Decree 248 of the Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) overseas facility registration process.   The report includes: translations of GACC operation manuals for: Competent Authorities, Overseas Enterprises; and a tutorial to the Single Window website self-registration process developed by a third party, and the Harmonized System (HS) tariff codes and commodity descriptions affected by Decree 248. More information  EU: New Rules on Import of Organics on Required Documents and Notifications The European Commission has published implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/2307 laying down rules on documents and notifications required for organic and in-conversion products intended for import into the Union.   This Regulation lays down rules on:   (a) the declarations and communications by importers, operators responsible for the consignments, first consignees and consignees for the import of products from third countries for the purpose of placing those products on the market within the Union as organic products or in-conversion products; and (b) the notification by the competent authorities of the Member States of suspected or established non-compliance of consignments.   The Regulation entered into force on December 30, 2021   More information  EU: Regulation Suspending Common Customs Tariff Duties on Certain Agricultural Products On December 29, 2021, the European Union published the Council Regulation (EU) 2021/2278 of December, 20, 2021 suspending the Common Customs Tariff duties referred to in Article 56(2), point (c), of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 on certain agricultural and industrial products, and repealing Regulation (EU) No 1387/2013.   For the agricultural products listed in the Annex to the Regulation, the Common Customs Tariff duties referred to in Article 56(2), point (c), of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 are suspended.   Nuts and Dried Fruit Products included:     Serial Number   CN Code   TARIC   Description Rate of autonomous duty Date envisaged for mandatory review       0.3347       ex 0804 10 00       30 Dates, fresh or dried, for use in the manufacture (excluding packing) of products of drink or food industries [1]       0%       31.12.2023         0.4716         ex 2008 93 91         20 Sweetened dried cranberries, excluding packing alone as processing, for the manufacture of products of food processing industries [2]         0%         31.12.2022     More information   [1] (1)  Suspension of duties is subject to end-use customs supervision in accordance with Article 254 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013.   [2] (4) A surveillance of imports of goods covered by this tariff suspension shall be established in accordance with the procedure laid down in Articles 55 and 56 of Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2015/2447 of 24 November 2015 laying down detailed rules for implementing certain provisions of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down the Union Customs Code (OJ L 343, 29.12.2015, p. 558).  EU: Results of the Public Consultation on the Trade and Sustainable Development Review The European Commission’s directorate general for trade has published the results of the public consultation period (July-November 2021). Results include a 15-Point Action Plan on the enforcement and implementation of the trade and sustainable development chapters.   The review looked at the approach to trade and sustainable development issues in trade agreements by third countries/regions, how this differs from the EU’s approach in its free trade agreements, and what teachings the EU can extract from these.    More information  EU-India: Future Free Trade Agreement Discussions On January 10, 2022, the European Parliament’s Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development (COMAGRI) held a meeting to discuss the carbon border adjustment mechanism and the EU-India future trade and investment cooperation.   During this meeting, the European Commission responded to the Draft Opinion of COMAGRI to the Committee on International Trade. The report warned about certain risks that a free trade agreement with India could involve in terms of labor, environment, and imbalanced competition with EU producers. The draft opinion called on the Commission to ensure that the FTA forbids the importation of agricultural products and foodstuffs from India with higher levels of pesticide residues than provided for in EU law.   In response, the Commission’s representative stated that the future agreement would include obligations on social and environmental aspects of sustainability. In terms of pesticide residues, India would have to meet EU standards.   More information  Georgia To Start Negotiations with the UAE to Conclude Free Trade Agreement  According to EastFruit, Georgian producers of nuts, among other products, could benefit from new market opportunities and reduction of tariffs. Imports of nuts in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been increasing in the last years. EastFruit states that Georgian exports of fruits, nuts and vegetables to the UAE totaled only $3.2 million over the past 8 years.   More information Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Came Into Effect on January 1 The novel Asian regional trade pact, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), becomes the biggest free trade agreement in the world.   RCEP includes Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and all the ASEAN countries (Thailand, Singapore, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Philippines and Cambodia).   The new regional trade bloc will remove tariffs on most of the traded goods in the region, inspire a unified market, codify intellectual property and e-commerce and regulate rules on investment.   The RCEP entered into force on January 1, 2022.   More information UK: New Import Controls for Companies The UK Border Operating Model was last updated in December 2021. It displays the latest timetable relating to customs rules for EU products imported into the UK.   From January 1, 2022: Full customs declarations and customs controls. Pre-notification requirements of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) goods. More information UK-New Zealand Agree on New Trade Deal The governments of New Zealand and the United Kingdom announced an 'Agreement in Principle' to develop a new trade agreement (FTA).   Objectives of the new FTA include: goods market access: “broad liberalisation” of tariffs; customs and trade facilitation; technical barriers to trade; sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards; trade in services; digital trade; investment; intellectual property. More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-january-2022Sustainability Update: January 2022California: Mandatory Organic Waste Collection New measures applying in 2022 under SB 1383 regulations, a statewide effort to reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCP).   Targets include: Reduce organic waste disposal 50% by 2020 and 75% by 2025. Rescue for people to eat at least 20% of currently disposed of surplus food by 2025. Starting in 2022, SB 1383 will require every jurisdiction to deliver organic waste collection services to all residents and businesses.    More information EU: Joint Declaration on Legislative Priorities for 2022 The European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission released at the end of December 2021, the legislative priorities in which the EU will focus during 2022.   Priorities include: The European Green Deal A Europe fit for the digital age An economy that works for people EU’s Global Gateway Promote the European way of life To protect and strengthen democracy across the Union and defend common European values More information EU: Strong Support to Promote Sustainable Agri-Food Products in 2022 The European Union has allocated a total of €185.9 million to the promotion of EU agri-food products within and outside EU borders.   The promotion policy will co-fund campaigns in line with the European Green Deal ambitions, supporting objectives from the Farm to Fork strategy, Europe's beating cancer plan, the EU organic action plan and other initiatives. Campaign projects should advise the EU and worldwide consumers about organic farming, EU sustainable agriculture and the impact of the agri-food sector on the road to climate action and the environment.   The calls for proposals for the upcoming 2022 campaigns are expected to be published at the start of 2022.   More information FAO: New Report on Agricultural Practices, Plastic Pollution and Sustainability The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a new report on December 7, 2021, “Assessment of agricultural plastics and their sustainability: a call for action”. The report states that plastic pollution has become pervasive in agricultural soils, posing a threat to food security, people’s health, and the environment.   The report identifies several solutions based on the “Refuse, Redesign, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Recover” model. It also recommends developing a comprehensive voluntary code of conduct for all aspects of plastics throughout agrifood chains and calls for more research, especially on the health impact of micro- and nanoplastics.   More information Morocco: International Funding to Accelerate Ecological Transformation The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), together with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and the European Union (EU), is providing a financial package of up to €25 million to Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BMCI, Morocco Bank of Commerce and Industry) to support Morocco’s green transition.   Morocco is a founding member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and started to become a country of operations in 2012. The EBRD has invested more than €3.1 billion in the country through 78 projects.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-shares-latest-sustainability-newsShipping Prices Increase Slightly, but Pressures RemainAccording to the Drewry World Container Index, the spot freight rates have slightly increased compared to the previous week at 1.6%. Although, this remains 82% higher than one year ago. Of the major routes tracked by Drewery’s World Container Index, Shanghai to Los Angeles saw the largest increase at 5%. Shanghai to New York also moved up at 2%, while Rotterdam to New York saw a 1% increase. On the other side, Rotterdam to Shanghai dropped 5%, while Los Angeles to Shanghai saw a small decrease of 2%.   In an article from Fresh Fruit Portal, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services was cited noting that California ports, namely the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach continue to suffer from nearly record backlogs as over 100 container ships are waiting to be docked and unloaded. Adding to the pressure to clear the backlog are new outbreaks of COVID infections from the Omicron variant. The Wall Street Journal reported that as of the second week in January, nearly 1 in 10 daily dockworkers were unable to work due to testing positive, quarantining, or feeling ill. As cases continue to rise very quickly in the ports, it remains unseen how the supply chain will be affected. Across the Pacific Ocean, things are equally uncertain as various cities around Chinese ports have detected Omicron cases. According to The New York Times, four of China’s largest port cities including Shanghai, Dalian, Tianjin, and Shenzhen have all introduced targeted lockdowns to try and control small outbreaks of Omicron. Port operations have remained open, but China’s zero-tolerance approach to COVID has many companies concerned if the outbreaks grow. Companies like Volkswagen and Toyota have already announced that they would temporarily suspend operations in Tianjin due to lockdowns.   https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-prices-increase-slightly-but-pressures-remainNew FDA Qualified Health Claim for Magnesium and Reduced Risk of High Blood PressureThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on January 10, 2022, a new qualified health claim for magnesium and reduced risk of high blood pressure(hypertension). The following qualified health claims for conventional foods and dietary supplements are included in the FDA’s letter of enforcement discretion:   “Inconsistent and inconclusive scientific evidence suggests that diets with adequate magnesium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), a condition associated with many factors.” “Consuming diets with adequate magnesium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension). However, the FDA has concluded that the evidence is inconsistent and inconclusive.” “Some scientific evidence suggests that diets with adequate magnesium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), a condition associated with many factors. The FDA has concluded that the scientific evidence supporting this claim is inconsistent and not conclusive.” With the exception of tree nuts, FDA intends to consider that conventional foods labeled with a magnesium and high blood pressure qualified health claim meet the disqualifying levels for “total fat”, “saturated fat”, “cholesterol”, or “sodium” level as described in 21 CFR 101.14(a). Tree nuts, such as almonds and cashews, that contain approximately 20% of the DV for magnesium per 1 oz serving, would exceed the total fat disqualifying nutrient level, but the FDA intends to provide enforcement discretion from the disqualifying level for “total fat” for tree nuts. The FDA believes that a qualified health claim about consumption of magnesium from tree nuts could assist consumers in maintaining healthy dietary practices. The FDA reasons that nuts in general are nutrient-dense foods that can serve as protein sources and contribute to a healthy US-style eating pattern, as well as the Healthy Vegetarian Dietary Pattern. More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/new-fda-qualified-health-claim-for-magnesium-and-reduced-risk-of-high-blood-pressureEarly Peanut Introduction and Reduced Risk of Developing a Peanut AllergyThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) undertook a review of a notification in regards of explicit health claims linked to the introduction of certain foods to infants and the reduction in the risk of developing food allergies. In the authorization process of these claims, the FDA took into account statements from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.   Manufacturers can use the following claims on the label of any food product that may be suitable with the claims:   “If a baby has severe eczema, egg allergy or both, introducing age-appropriate, peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months may reduce the risk of developing a peanut allergy. Caregivers should check with the baby’s healthcare provider before feeding the baby peanut-containing foods.”   “For babies with an increased risk of peanut allergy (babies with severe eczema, egg allergy or both), introducing age-appropriate, peanut-containing foods as early as 4 months may reduce the risk of developing a peanut allergy. Caregivers should check with the baby’s healthcare provider before feeding the baby peanut-containing foods.”   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/early-peanut-introduction-and-reduced-risk-of-developing-a-peanut-allergyRecord Setting 2021 for Port of Los Angeles and Continued Congestion Uncertainty2021 saw a record number of 20-foot containers come through the Port of Los Angeles according to CNN. In total, 10.7 million containers passed through Los Angeles, an increase of 13% from the previous record which was set in 2018. For one and half years now, the Port of Los Angeles has been receiving around 900,000 container units monthly, significantly higher than pre-pandemic. Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles, Gene Seroka said he doesn’t expect things to slow down. Seroka commented, “I don’t see the American consumer changing their buying habits.” Despite record volume, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have been able to change the scene outside the ports, now with just around 4 ships at anchor outside of Los Angeles and around 10 outside of Long Beach. This difference is due to “port optimization” according to Seroka, as now around 45 ships, around 150 miles off coast are slowly making their way to the Port of Los Angeles instead of all gathering just outside of the ports.   On January 10, the California Governor, Galvin Newsom announced the 2022-2023 state budget proposal and it includes a record investment of $2.3 billion for California Ports. The plan includes $1.2 billion for port infrastructure and goods movement, $875 million for zero-emission port equipment and infrastructure, $110 million for workforce training, $40 million for commercial driver licenses, and $30 million for operational and process improvements. In a press release from ShopEatSurf, Gene Seroka said, “I applaud Gov. Newsom for meeting the moment with bold leadership.”   Across the Pacific Ocean, the short-term outlook for the global supply chain is uncertain as trucking restrictions as an outbreak of COVID cases near one of the world’s largest ports, Ningbo is threatening to slow down activity. Bloomberg reports that these strict controls on trucks moving goods into the area may cost the economy $4 billion a week. Maersk, a leading global container company released an update on the Port of Ningbo situation on Monday, January 10.   According to Drewry’s composite World Container Index, spot rates for 40-foot containers slightly increased the week of January 6 compared to the previous week. The 1% increase is modest but shows that over the past couple of months, the rates have remained consistent, and this also being consistently higher than pre-pandemic. The only major East-West route that saw a weekly decrease in spot freight rates was Los Angeles to Shanghai at a 1% drop. Meanwhile, Shanghai to Los Angeles and Shanghai to New York jumped up 3% each, and New York to Rotterdam saw the highest increase at 5%. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/record-setting-2021-for-port-of-los-angeles-and-continued-congestion-uncertaintyDecember 2021 INC Updates & News BriefSave Your Spot for the 2022 INC Congress Join the INC in Dubai from May 11-13, 2022. The INC Congress, taking place May 11-13, 2022 is just five months away, and it'll be here before we know it, and you won't want to miss it! The INC is committed to the safety of its participants and therefore will be implementing proper health protocols to ensure that this Congress goes off without a hitch. Dubai has been recognized as one of the safest and best places for business meetings. Join the INC in Dubai to network with top business leaders and put yourself in a largely market-focused atmosphere that encourages the sharing of knowledge and experiences. Over 1000 participants from more than 60 countries are expected to be at the industry’s not-to-be-missed event. As of now, nearly 700 participants have already saved their spots! For more information on the program of the event, you can visit the Congress' website! [Read more] Recap of INC's Latest Webinar on Shipping Challenges and Inflationary Pressure in the Agriculture Sector Available to watch now on the INC TV Channel. To round out 2021, the INC hosted a webinar on one of the hottest topics in the industry, shipping and inflation which was attended by over 150 participants from more than 30 countries. Joining the webinar were expert speakers, Indika Dassanayake, Head of Global Accounts and Commercial for CMA CGM Asia Regional Office in Singapore, Bill Rooney, VP of Strategic Development for Kuehne + Nagel from the USA, Peter Friedmann, the Executive Director for the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the voice of US Agricultural exporters in transportation policy, and INC member Vittavat (Prince) Phonphaisan, Executive Vice President of Heritage Group from Thailand, leading exporter to over 60 countries globally. The session was moderated by Emiko Terazono, Commodities Correspondent for the Financial Times, and INC Executive Committee Members Pino Calcagni and Giles Hacking joined in for the group discussion. [Read more] Global Shipping Situation Continues to be Monitored by INC Shipping Prices Increase and Port Congestion Continues. The latest report from Drewry's World Container Index revealed a 2.3% increase in spot rates compared to the previous week. Looking back to one year ago, freight rates remain 170% higher. Turning to some of the major routes in the world, only Rotterdam to Shanghai decreased, with a 2% drop. On the other hand, Shanghai to Los Angeles, Shanghai to New York, and Shanghai to Genoa all saw significant weekly increases in the spot rates, 5%, 4%, and 3% respectively. Prices for Rotterdam to New York also experienced a slight increase of 1% compared to the previous week. Shanghai to Rotterdam, Los Angeles to Shanghai, and...[Read more] INC Communicates Recent Developments in China’s Decrees 248 and 249 According to one of the latest USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) reports on recent developments regarding the implementation of Decree 248, the list of Harmonized System (HS) codes is available at the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) Single Window website. The report notes that since the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) downloaded the list of HS codes on November 30, the list of codes and data have been updated numerous times. The report urges direct consultation of the codes on the official website of the Chinese government. More information  INC Delivers a Press Release on Nut and Dried Fruit Production Forecasts Check out the latest update on 2021/2022 production forecasts and market status. Production for the 2021/22 season has been forecasted at about five million metric tons (kernel basis, except pistachios in-shell), down by 8% from 2020/21. World peanut production is expected to amount to about 50.5 M MT, 2% up from 2020/21. The 2021/22 world production of dried fruit has been forecasted at around 3.17 M MT, 6% up from 2020/21. The global shipment and logistics disruptions are creating some delays and short-term supply shortages, making it a challenge to monitor and assess the situation. [Read more] INC Shares the 2021 USDA’s Tree Nut World Market and Trade Report See what is happening with the tree nut world market. In marketing year 2020/21, almond production as well as trade was dominated by the United States. Walnuts were primarily produced in and exported by China, the United States, and Chile. Pistachio production was concentrated in the United States, Turkey, and Iran, while exports were dominated by the United States and Iran. Import markets were more diverse as compared to producers and exporters, although almonds, walnuts, and pistachios relied on the European Union as a major destination. [Read more] INC Circulates AMS Market and Crop Reports Take a look at the latest Australian Macadamias Supply and Sales Report. As reported by the Australian Macadamia Society, exceeding previous expectations, the Australian macadamia industry has produced a 2021 crop of 51,500 metric tons in-shell @ 3.5% moisture (55,200 MT in-shell @ 10% moisture). This is an increase of 10% on the 2020 crop, due to favorable growing conditions in most regions despite the ongoing legacy of previous years’ sustained drought. Queensland’s growing regions performed strongly, and production from the new plantings in Bundaberg continues to increase as they reach five to ten years of age. [AMS Market Report] [AMS News] INC Disseminates Findings from Health Study on Pecans Effects of Pecan Nuts on Glycemic Profile and Diet Quality. Research has recently published a new randomized clinical trial study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition which looks at how adding cardioprotective foods like pecan nuts and extra-virgin olive oil affects glycemic profile and diet quality in patients with coronary artery disease. The clinical trial lasted 12 weeks, 204 participants were divided into three groups. The first group was given a healthy diet, the second group, a healthy diet plus 30 grams per day of pecan nuts, and lastly the third group, a healthy diet pls 30 mL per day of...[Read more] Results from Prune Health Study Distributed by INC Prunes and Bone Strength in Men. In the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers have recently published a study exploring how consuming prunes affects various bone biomarkers in men. Many studies before have analyzed this effect on male animals; however, no human male study has been conducted before. To conduct the randomized controlled trial, the researchers separated 60 men into two groups, one with 100 grams of prunes daily, and the other with zero grams of prunes daily. The study aimed to test if daily inclusion of prunes positively affected bone mineral density...[Read more] INC Shares Highlights from Dried Fruit Health Study Dried Fruit Consumption and Weight Management. A recent study published in Nutrition Bulletin aimed to analyze how dried fruit consumed as a snack impacts appetite and body weight. Researchers conducted two different studies, the first phase, examining dried fruit consumption as a snack on appetite, and phase two, a randomized controlled trial to determine if prune consumption undermined weight loss during a structured weight loss program. For phase one, participants were either given prunes and raisins or jelly babies for the control group. It was found that a significantly...[Read more] INC Shares Latest Sustainability News For the December 2021 Sustainability Update, the INC highlighted a meeting between European and Latin America and Caribbean Leaders on setting a path for sustainable recovery post-COVID. In other news, the EU Ministers recently held a debate on rising energy prices, and the EU also published a communication on ‘Restoring Sustainable Carbon Cycles’, which aims to play a role in achieving the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality objective. Lastly from the EU, new biodiversity reporting standards are in the works to be developed by mid-2022. From the US, agricultural operators in the San Joaquin Valley will receive funding for ending the unsustainable agricultural burning. And in conclusion, the World Bank announced its new Climate Change Action Plan for 2021-2025. [Read more] International Trade News Monitored by INC The INC continues to monitor monthly trade news from around the world. In this month’s report, China is pursuing a revised standard on nut and seed food. Additionally, the EU Commission has adopted a regulation on rules for inspection certificates and official controls of organic products originating in third countries. A report from the UN has highlighted the potential consequences of elevated shipping costs on consumer products. From the US, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has proposed a rule that would increase the assessment rate established for pistachios 2021-2022 and subsequent production years. Lastly, the members of WTO have agreed on a new services domestic regulation. [Read more] INC Follows Latest Legal Updates on Food Safety, New Labeling, and New Additives In the INC’s latest legal update on food safety, labeling, and additives, some of the highlights include, China’s new food security introduced in their National Security Strategy 2021-2025, the European Commission’s public consultation on recycled plastic in food packaging, a conference on food safety in Africa, touching on emerging food safety matters within the continent, and amendments to Canada’s Food and Drug Regulation, relating to nutrition regulations, list of ingredients, and food colors. The update on additives is the EU’s denial of authorization of titanium dioxide as a feed additive. [More on food safety] [More on labeling] [More on additives] INC Displays Weekly RASFF Notifications  The RASFF report of week 50, corresponding to the period 13/12/21- 19/12/21, registered 8 nut and dried fruit notifications distributed in: 1 alert notification, 1 information notification for attention and 6 border rejections.   Azerbaijan (2) and Turkey (2) registered the highest number of notifications last week, due to the presence of aflatoxins in hazelnuts and dried figs respectively. Aflatoxins were the reason for most of the notifications (7). [Read more]   https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/december-2021-inc-updates-news-briefAdditive Update: December 16, 2021EU: Denial of Authorization of Titanium Dioxide as a Feed Additive The European Commission has implemented Regulation (EU) 2021/2090 of November 25, 2021, denying authorization of titanium dioxide as a feed additive for all animal species.   The remaining stocks of titanium dioxide (E 171) and of premixtures containing it shall be withdrawn from the market by March 20, 2022. Feed materials and compound feed which have been produced with the additive or the premixtures referred to in paragraph 1 before March 20, 2022 shall be withdrawn from the market by June 20, 2022.   This Regulation shall enter into force on December 20, 2021.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/additive-update-december-16-2021Labeling Update: December 16, 2021Canada: Food Labeling Health Canada published amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations related to nutrition regulations, list of ingredients, and food colors on December 14, 2016, giving the industry a 5-year period to adapt to the new legislation requirements. The transition period ended on December 14, 2021.   Main changes include: New requirements regarding the legibility of the list of ingredients Grouping of sugars in the list of ingredients Various changes to information contained in the Nutrition Facts table (NFt) New requirements for how food colors are declared Removal of the requirement for certification of synthetic colours Incorporation by reference of daily values, templates for the NFt formats, reference amounts, serving sizes and most food colour specifications  More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-december-16-2021Food Safety Update: December 16, 2021China: Food Security Introduced in the National Security Strategy 2021-2025 According to Xinhua News Agency, the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party held a meeting on November 18 to review the National Security Strategy for 2021-2025 period. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, chaired the meeting.   The national security strategy for 2021-2025 period refers to achieving food security. Other key areas include political security, economic security, social security, scientific and technological security.   More information EU: Public Consultation on Recycled Plastic in Food Packaging The European Commission is conducting a public consultation on a Draft Regulation on recycled plastic materials and articles envisioned to be exposed to foods, and revoking Regulation (EC) No 282/2008.   The feedback period is open until January 10, 2022.   The Commission intends to embrace the regulation during Q1 of 2022.   The Draft Regulation lays down rules for:   a) the placing on the market of plastic food contact materials and articles, containing plastic originating from plastic waste; b) the development and operation of recycling processes to produce recycled plastic for use in those plastic materials and articles; c) the use in contact with food of recycled plastic materials and articles and of plastic materials and articles which are intended to be recycled.   More information New Conference on Food Safety in Africa Raises Awareness on Emerging Food Safety Matters The first African Continental Association for Food Protection (ACAFP) Conference on Food Safety in Africa took place virtually on November 10-11, 2021, under the theme “Food Safety in Africa: Past, Current & the Future”. The aim of the meeting was to raise awareness on emerging food safety matters, engagement, and collaboration among different stakeholders in Africa.   ACAFP jointly organized this event with the African Union, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP).   More information Spain: New Food Chain Law On December 2, 2021, the Spanish Congress of Deputies approved a new law that amends Law 12/2013 on measures to improve the functioning of the food chain. The main novelty is the prohibition of selling at a loss.   The new law transposes the European Directive (Directive (UE) 2019/633) on unfair business-to-business commercial practices in the agricultural and food supply chain and extends it in accordance with Article 9, which allows Member States to "maintain or introduce stricter rules".   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-december-16-2021Latest Trade News and Agreements: December 16, 2021China Publishes Decree 248 HS Codes in GACC Single Window Website According to one of the latest USDA Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) reports on recent developments regarding the implementation of Decree 248, the list of Harmonized System (HS) codes is available at the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) Single Window website.   The report notes that since the USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) downloaded the list of HS codes on November 30, the list of codes and data have been updated numerous times. The report urges direct consultation of the codes on the official website of the Chinese government.   More information  China Pursues Revised Standard on Nut and Seed Food As stated by the USDA, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) is in the process of modifying the current General Standard for Roasted Seeds and Nuts (GB/T 22165-2008), establishing new terms and classifications of nuts and seeds. The revised draft includes technical requirements, inspections methods and rules, along with labeling, packaging, transportation, and storage requirements.   The period for comments ended on December 8, 2021.   More information EU-Andean Free Trade Agreement Preliminary Interim Results The European Commission’s Directorate for Trade (DG TRADE) organized a Civil Society Dialogue Meeting to present to civil society members the interim report of the ex-post evaluation of the EU-Colombia/Ecuador/Peru FTA. Outcomes of the report include strong positive sectoral employment results in the vegetable, fruits and nuts sector, along with further agri-food sectors.   The evaluation also stressed that reduced tariffs under the FTA enabled increased imports by the EU of certain products such as fruit and nuts from the Andean partners.   More information EU: Global Gateway Initiative to Boost Trade and Help Fight Climate Change On December 1, the European Commission presented the new European strategy that will mobilize up to €300 billion in sustainable investments between 2021 and 2027. As part of the COVID-19 recovery, the project conceives to tackle the most demanding global challenges, such as climate change, and strengthening connections with the EU partners.   The Global Gateway will bring together different stakeholders and seek to mobilize the private sector in order to leverage investments for a transformational impact. New financial tools will help to secure public and private investments in priority areas, including connectivity.   More information EU: Imports of Organic Products from Non-EU Countries The European Commission adopted the Commission Delegated Regulation of October 21, supplementing Regulation (EU) 2018/848 with rules for inspection certificates and official controls of organic products originating in third countries. Main points of concern: rules on the inspection certificate that must be issued by control authorities and bodies in non-EU countries to enable producers to export their products to the EU, official controls to be carried out by EU countries on organic products entering the EU, control authorities’ and bodies’ obligations if non-conformities are found during official controls. It shall apply from January 1, 2022.   More information EU: Monitoring Agri-Food Trade, Developments until August 2021 The European Commission’s Directorate for Agriculture and Rural Development (DG AGRI) recently published its latest report “Monitoring EU agri-food trade: developments until August 2021”. The report stresses that for the period January-August 2021, the overall rate of EU27 agri-food imports increased by 2.4% compared to the same period in the previous year. Among the highest decreases in import values, one of the most affected categories is reported to be for tropical fruit, nuts and spices (↘€669 m, ↘7%).   More information  EU: Regulation (EU) 2021/2116 on the Financing, Management and Monitoring of the Common Agricultural Policy This Regulation settles rules on the financing, management and monitoring of the common agricultural policy (CAP), for the period 2023-2027, and in particular on: the financing of expenditure under the CAP; the management and control systems to be put in place by the Member States; clearance and conformity procedures. This legislation entered already into force and shall apply from January 1, 2023.   More information EU: Update of How Regional Farming Data will be Collected The Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on how should Member States start reporting regional agricultural data to the Commission. Together with the new common agricultural policy (CAP), this circumstance represents the European Union's efforts to modernize the European agricultural statistics system.   It will enter into force in 2023.   More information UN Report Warns of the Consequences of Shipping Costs on Consumer Products The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released a new report on November 18, under the theme “Review of Maritime Transport 2021”. The report presages that due to shipping supply chain disruptions, worldwide consumer prices will rise considerably in the next year.   UNCTAD urges nations to adopt a portfolio of measures to combat this phenomenon, as well as urgently calls on governments to monitor markets to safeguard a just, transparent and competitive commercial setting. It emphasizes the need of all stakeholders to collaborate and increase data sharing among actors along the maritime supply chain.   More information USA: Increased Assessment Rate for Pistachios The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) established a proposed rule that would implement a recommendation from the Administrative Committee for Pistachios (Committee) to increase the assessment rate established for 2021-22 and subsequent production years.   This new measure would increase the assessment rate from $0.00015 per pound of pistachios, the rate established for 2020-21 and subsequent production years, to $0.0007 per pound of pistachios for 2021-22 and subsequent production years.   Deadline for comments is January 5, 2022.   More information                Uzbekistan: Advances in Digital Technologies to Simplify Custom Procedures According to EastFruit, new mechanisms to check phytosanitary certificates were set in place on December 1, 2021. The new “Single Window” data system will replace the stamping and registration of trade documents by phytosanitary authorities. These technological advances will allow improving the efficiency and organizational structure of customs authorities.   More measures will come into force on January 1, 2022.   More information Vietnam-Malaysia-India: Inauguration of New Shipping Route According to Vietnam+, a new container-shipping route linking these three countries was inaugurated on November 25, 2021. The Vietnam Maritime Corporation (VIMC) announced this on November 23, stressing that next year they would invest in high-technology modern container ships and expand cooperation with developing partners.   More information WTO Members Agree on New Services Domestic Regulation Negotiations in Geneva from the 67 World Trade Organization (WTO) members participating in the Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation concluded with an agreement on rules for services.   In September 2021, members managed to establish a uniform set of regulatory disciplines. The initiative seeks to create a more transparent operating environment for service providers eager to do business in external markets.   As part of this joint initiative, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the WTO released on November 26, 2021, a policy brief outlining the potential benefits that implementing a new services domestic regulation would have.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-december-16-2021Sustainability Update: December 16, 2021EU-Latin America & Caribbean Leaders Meet to Set the Path for Sustainable Recovery On December 2, leaders from these regions met virtually to debate on how to ensure a joint sustainable recovery. The event addressed the theme “‘Joining Forces for a Sustainable post-COVID Recovery”. During this meeting, leaders expressed the need to enhance the cooperation to build back better from COVID-19. This includes providing immediate health support and improving future health preparedness.   Climate change and combating biodiversity loss will be a priority for both regions. The UE will secure investment throughout the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+) as well as other initiatives such as the NDICI-Global Europe (2021-2027).   They announced the future launch of the EU-LAC Digital Alliance in 2022 to foster human-centric digitalization and to promote digital innovation.   More information EU Ministers Debate on Rising Energy Prices and “Fit for 55” Package Advances EU energy ministers met to exchange views on rising energy prices and take stock of progress made with the proposals in the "Fit for 55" package. These measures aim to bring EU climate and energy legislation in line with the 2030 target of 55% greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction. They also formally adopted the new Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) for the period 2023-2027.   Mr. Jernej Vrtovec, Slovenian Minister of Infrastructure, stressed that their priority is to “move forward with the green energy transition towards more renewable energies flowing in grids and fully interconnected energy systems”.   More information EU: Restoring Sustainable Carbon Cycles On December 15, the European Commission published its ‘Restoring Sustainable Carbon Cycles’ communication. This strategy envisions supporting the development of sustainable carbon removal solutions. Both carbon farming and industrial solutions will play an important role in achieving the EU's 2050 climate neutrality objective. The background of this document is the previously approved European Climate Law. Measures include public funding opportunities for carbon farming and rewarding green farming practices like afforestation.   More information   New Private Coalition to Develop Biodiversity Reporting Standards The European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have joined forces to create a new set of biodiversity standards that align with the European sustainability standards.   EFRAG estimates that the draft EU standard will be available to the Commission in June, while GRI noted that their new updated biodiversity standard would be complete in the second half of 2022.   More information  Sustainable Funding for Agricultural Operators in the San Joaquin Valley According to California Walnuts, the District and the California Air Resources Board have developed a strategy to end unsustainable agricultural burning practices in the San Joaquin Valley by January 1, 2025.   This new approach tries to end up with more than 20 years of fighting against agricultural burning. Concerned agricultural operatives in the San Joaquin Valley are encouraged to contact the authorities for further details about these funding and other accessible contributions.   More information The World Bank Group Presents its New Climate Change Action Plan 2021-2025 The new Climate Change Action Plan 2021-2025: Supporting Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Development progresses on the climate change components of the organization’s Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Development (GRID) strategy.   It will serve countries and private sector clients to maximize the impact of climate finance, with the aim for assessable improvements in adaptation and resilience and measurable reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-december-16-2021Shipping Prices Increase and Port Congestion ContinuesThe latest report from Drewry´s World Container Index revealed a 2.3% increase in spot rates compared to the previous week. Looking back to one year ago, freight rates remain 170% higher. Turning to some of the major routes in the world, only Rotterdam to Shanghai decreased, with a 2% drop. On the other hand, Shanghai to Los Angeles, Shanghai to New York, and Shanghai to Genoa all saw significant weekly increases in the spot rates, 5%, 4%, and 3% respectively. Prices for Rotterdam to New York also experienced a slight increase of 1% compared to the previous week. Shanghai to Rotterdam, Los Angeles to Shanghai, and New York to Rotterdam all remained constant over the prior week.   According to an article from the South China Morning Post, the shipping rates from China to other Asian countries have also been soaring during the run-up to the Lunar New Year. Considered the peak season for intra-Asian trade, increasing demand and ongoing COVID-19 disruptions have led to a tenfold rise in shipping prices. The Ningbo Containerized Freight Index which monitors the spot rates for ships leaving the Ningbo-Zhoushan port showed that from the end of October to the first week of December, there was a 137% increase in the freight rate to Thailand and Vietnam.   On the other side of the Pacific, an article from Los Angeles Daily News reports the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have announced yet another delay for the Container Excess Dwell Fee that was announced at the end of October. The goal of this fee was to ease congestion and encourage shippers to clear out empty containers. This past Monday, port officials announced a 47% decline in aging cargo on the docks, up from the 37% decrease last week. Since the announcement of the fee, it has continuously been delayed, now set to take effect on December 20, if necessary.   Despite the decline in cargo on the docks in Los Angeles and Long Beach, 101 ships are spread over 1,000 miles in the Pacific waiting for space in the ports to unload, according to Splash 247. Due to a new policy from port authorities, asking vessels to idle around 150 miles away from the California Coast, there is no longer the view of dozens of containers ships waiting, however, this doesn’t mean the congestion is truly easing. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-prices-increase-and-port-congestion-continuesShipping Prices Fall Slightly, but Congestion and Delays RemainAccording to the latest report from Drewry and their World Container Index, the composite index dropped 1.5% this week compared to the previous week. However, the index is still 196% higher than one year ago. Spot rates among some of the world’s biggest routes remained overall steady as the only two major routes in the index to decrease were Shanghai to Los Angeles and Shanghai to New York, 4% and 5% respectively. Meanwhile, the only route in the index to see a hike in prices was Los Angeles to Shanghai, with an increase of 2%.   Late last week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the number of ships off the coast of Los Angeles and Long Beach had dwindled down to 46 boats, nearly half of its peak of more than 80 in late October. However, some officials are warning that this does not mean that the total number of ships waiting has decreased, since starting mid-November, new policy mandated that vessels coming across the Pacific Ocean need to wait at least 150 miles offshore as they wait to unload their cargo. It is estimated that around 50 ships are waiting further offshore, which would bring the backlog to a new high.   A recent article from Llyods List stated that Chinese Ports are expected to raise prices for handling containers for the upcoming year. This increase in price is partly in part due to the elevated ocean freight rates. However, higher handling costs would further burden shippers. Ningbo-Zhoushan, the third-largest port in the world announced they would increase their handling fees 10% at the beginning of 2022.   Throughout the supply chain crisis, shipping container companies continue to bring in record profits. According to an article from Fortune, Drewry forecasts that container shipping profits for 2021 and 2022 could reach as much as $300 billion. For 2021, the industry is projected to bring in $150 billion. Compare that to 2020 which saw profits of just $25.4 billion. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-prices-fall-slightly-but-congestion-and-delays-remainRecap of INC's Latest Webinar on Shipping Challenges and InflationTo round out 2021, the INC hosted a webinar on one of the hottest topics in the industry, shipping and inflation which was attended by over 150 participants from more than 30 countries. Joining the webinar were expert speakers, Indika Dassanayake, Head of Global Accounts and Commercial for CMA CGM Asia Regional Office in Singapore, Bill Rooney, VP of Strategic Development for Kuehne + Nagel from the USA, Peter Friedmann, the Executive Director for the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the voice of US Agricultural exporters in transportation policy, and INC member Vittavat (Prince) Ponphaisan, Executive Vice President of Heritage Group from Thailand, leading exporter to over 60 countries globally. The session was moderated by Emiko Terazono, Commodities Correspondent for the Financial Times, and INC Executive Committee Members Pino Calcagni and Giles Hacking joined in for the group discussion. For INC Members who weren't able to view the live session, the webinar is now available to stream on the INC TV Channel. State of the Shipping Industry The webinar kicked off with Indika Dassanayake from CMA CGM, a world-leading container shipping company. His presentation focused on how the industry has gotten where it is today, mainly through an imbalance of supply and demand. He mentioned how the booming demand of consumers was partly a result of people not being able to spend on leisure and travel, while various supply restraints effectively reduced the capacity for ocean shipping. The rate increases can be linked to these imbalances in supply and demand. Looking to what CMA CGM is actively doing, Indika discussed the purchase of more vessels, and the efforts to increase CMA CGM’s hardware to offset the supply shortages. CMA CGM also decided to freeze spot rates, attempting to give the industry some stable predictable prices. The second speaker of the webinar, Bill Rooney, VP of Strategic Development for Kuehne + Nagel in the USA provided more of a background in and explanation for how the current shipping situation has come to happen. His presentation highlighted the shipping industry's margins, their alliances, the rates compared to historical rates, global trade outlook, container ship fleet growth, and contract labor tensions on the West Coast of the US. Bill reiterated many points that were touched on by Indika such as the strong demand paired with lower supply. Looking forward to 2022, the expected container ship fleet growth is just 3% of the existing fleet, meaning rates may not drop as much for the coming year. Lastly, Bill highlighted the potential disruption of contract negotiations between the labor union and employers at the West Coast ports. Impact of Shipping on Agriculture Sector After hearing from the representatives of the shipping industry, Peter Friedmann, Executive Director for the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, shed some light on how agriculture exporters are being affected by the shipping situation. He opened his presentation explaining the difficulties that face US exporters, mainly that if due to high shipping rates and delays, exporters are not able to affordable and dependable deliver on contracts, foreign customers will begin to look to other providers. This means US exporters could face not only loss of sales but the loss of customers, as Peter described the struggle of “winning” back a customer once lost. Peter highlighted the stark difference between the shipping service providers and the exporters with regards to margins and how the current situation is simply not sustainable. He finished his presentation by mentioning that many nut companies in California who are exporting are absorbing the extra costs and making sales in the red just to keep customers. Later on, Prince Phonphaisan, the Executive Vice President of Heritage Group in Thailand's added to the discussion, sharing the perspective of the Pacific rim. He shared that many regions in Asia are starting to ease restrictions from some of the world’s harshest lockdowns, however fear and uncertainty from new COVID-19 variants may suppress the process of reopening, as some countries like Japan have already implemented new restrictions. Prince mentioned that while China has no problems with exporting their products, they too are suffering when empty containers come back to port, as they can have trouble getting raw materials which later turn into Chinese exports. Prince pleaded for both sides and the governments to work together to find solutions and bring back some sort of normality. INC representatives Pino Calcagni and Giles Hacking from the INC Executive Committee then joined in the discussion to give their perspectives. Pino Calcagni highlighted that this shipping crisis with high prices and delays was the result of an already strained supply chain. He also discussed that it is not only logistics that is putting pressure on the nut and dried fruit industry, but also the rising energy costs. Following up on Pino’s points, Giles Hacking brought up that eventually retailers will not be able to escape the rising freight costs, and they will be forced to build these extra costs into their prices, leading to increased prices on shelves. He also added that this is not solely a problem caused by freight rates, but rather a combination of all production costs, and inflation could be expected throughout the world. Conclusions on Shipping Challenges and Inflationary Pressure in the Agriculture Sector After a group discussion, the panelist all gave an outlook for the upcoming year. Some of the highlights included that the upcoming year cannot be just focused on ocean shipping, but also land transportation as struggles in this sector are also stressing the supply chain. If a solution cannot be found, more and more agriculture players will continue to suffer and ultimately leave the business. Additionally, with low incoming capacity by means of new vessels and continued strong demand, the outlook, at least in the short-term is that shipping rates will stay consistently above pre-pandemic times. And lastly, as the upcoming year is looking to present some more logistical struggles, all supply chain players need to do their part to come together and find a sustainable solution. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/recap-of-inc-s-latest-webinar-on-shipping-challenges-and-inflationShipping Rates Are Steady, but Other Concerns Arise for the Supply ChainThe latest data from maritime consultant company Drewry shows that the spot rate for containers has gone unchanged compared to the previous week, providing little relief for many businesses, as prices remain 224% higher than they were one year ago. Of the main routes tracked by Drewry’s World Container Index, only three showed changes, albeit very small. Shanghai to Rotterdam and Shanghai to New York both crept up 1%, while the only major route in the index that decreased was Rotterdam to New York, at 1%. Rotterdam to Shanghai, Shanghai to Genoa, Shanghai to Los Angeles, Los Angeles to Shanghai, and New York to Rotterdam all remained steady. Congestion is another area that has seen little improvement over the last couple of weeks, mainly in the neighboring ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Recently, an agreement was reached between the US Navy and Port of Hueneme, which is just north of Los Angeles, to help relieve some of the congestion, especially during the upcoming holiday season. Under the agreement, the Los Angeles County Ports will have access to an area called Wharf 3 within the naval base, along with two buildings and around 31 acres of land. Normally this area is used by the Navy to house warships, but now it will be used to unload and store consumer products. Additionally, those ships that are waiting to unload and are carrying no more than 1,500 containers will be able to unload at the Port of Hueneme. Apart from prices and congestion, leaders in the shipping industry are having some concerns about the upcoming labor contract negotiations in 2022 at already congested West Coast Ports in the US. The negotiations will take place between 70 employers from 29 ports up and down the west coast, and 22,400 dockworkers. In the past, these negotiations have led to delays and congestion, and leaders fear that an already stressed supply chain is at risk for even more problems if things become contentious. The talks are set to begin in early 2022 before the current collective bargaining agreement expires in July 2022. On the other side of the Pacific, CNN Business reports that a growing number of ships in Chinese waters are disappearing from industry tracking systems, leading to an additional headache for the global supply chain. The data which is usually transmitted by container ships is used by the industry to track seasonal trends, predict vessel movement, and improve port efficiency, is now not appearing for the world’s second-largest economy. This lack of data could lead to more problems for a global supply chain that is already fragile. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-rates-are-steady-but-other-concerns-arise-for-the-supply-chainINC Prepares Latest Webinar on Shipping and Inflation in the Agriculture IndustryAccording to media news, it is not clear how the shipping crisis could normalize over the coming months. And capacity constraints in shipping are predicted to continue for another year, causing havoc for many businesses and industries around the globe.    With this in mind, the INC is preparing to launch the last webinar in its latest series of online events. The 90-minute webinar "Shipping Challenges and Inflationary Pressure in the Agriculture Sector" will take place on Thursday, December 2, 2021, at 6:00 am PST | 3:00 pm CET | 7:30 pm IST | 10:00 pm CST | Friday 3, 1:00 am AEDT. The goal of the webinar is to provide an update on the ongoing supply chain situation and discuss how inflationary pressures are affecting the agriculture industry.  We are pleased to announce that the following speakers will present and discuss some of the most relevant topics for the agriculture industry. Indika Dassanayake, Head of Global Accounts and Commercial for CMA CGM Asia Regional Office in Singapore, Bill Rooney, VP of Strategic Development for Kuehne + Nagel from the USA, Peter Friedmann, the Executive Director for the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the voice of US Agricultural exporters in transportation policy, and Vittavat (Prince) Phonphaisan, the Executive Vice President of Heritage Group, Thailand's leading premium natural food producer and exporter who will discuss the Pacific rim perspective. The session will be moderated by Emiko Terazono, Commodities Correspondent for the Financial Times, and INC Executive Committee Members Pino Calcagni and Giles Hacking will join in for the group discussion. Don't miss out on this exciting and insightful webinar with professional industry guest speakers and expert opinions! Save your spot today by registering! [REGISTER NOW] Webinar Speakers Indika Dassanayake, Head of Global Accounts and Commercial, CMA CGM Asia Regional Office, Singapore Indika Dassanayake is the Head of Global Accounts and Commercial for CMA CGM, Asia Pacific Regional Office. Indika has 28 years of experience in the shipping industry covering Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan before moving to Singapore. He has held various management roles in Operations, Customer Service, Sales, Logistics and Geographies. He helmed the commercial arm of APL prior to its acquisition by the CMA CGM Group. The group provides global supply chain services in shipping and logistics covering over 160 countries globally. Indika is Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Shipbroker’s, London.        Bill Rooney, VP of Strategic Development, Kuehne + Nagel, USA William F. Rooney has 48 years of experience in transportation management covering a broad range of business functions. He is currently Vice President, Strategic Development for Kuehne + Nagel Inc. and has been with Kuehne + Nagel for 10 years. Prior to Kuehne + Nagel Mr. Rooney’s positions have included President of Hanjin Shipping America; Senior Vice President, Service Delivery for CMA-CGM; and Vice President, Ocean Services for GT Nexus, a logistics software provider. He also held a number of senior management positions with Sea-Land Service over a span of 25 years including 5 years in Europe. Mr. Rooney’s board memberships have included: the Pacific Maritime Association, the Pacific Merchant Shipping Association, The US Maritime Alliance, Consolidated Chassis Management, OCEMA, and the Maritime Association of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Peter Friedmann, Executive Director, Agriculture Transportation Coalition, USA Peter Friedmann is the Executive Director of the Agriculture Transportation Coalition. He led formation of AgTC when a number of agricultural exporters sought assistance in dealing with transportation challenges. Based in Washington DC, AgTC is now the voice for a broad cross-section of US agriculture exporters, importers and their service providers who require competitive ocean, rail and truck transportation services in order to maintain and grow foreign market share. The Journal of Commerce has declared the AgTC as the principal voice of US agriculture exporters in transportation policy. Peter is one of the principal advocates of shipper interests before Federal and state agencies, Congress, ports and labor.   Vittavat (Prince) Phonphaisan,  Executive Vice President, Heritage Group, Thailand Vittavat (Prince) Phonphaisan is Executive Vice President at Heritage Group, Thailand’s leading premium natural food producer, wholesaler, and exporter of healthy food and beverages. Vittavat drives brand expansion across the globe, with the company exporting to over 60 countries. Winner of the Prestige Thailand's New Generation Entrepreneur Award, Vittavat was named one of Forbes Thailand's Thriving 30s in 2014. Overseeing Heritage Group's strategic manufacturing bases, in Thailand, China, and the US, Vittavat's mission is to offer products that improve health and wellbeing, while creating positive changes within the industry.   Webinar Moderator Emiko Terazono, Commodities Correspondent, Financial Times, UK  Emiko Terazono is a commodities correspondent for the Financial Times. She is a member of the FT natural resources team based in London. She has been writing about commodities for the FT since 2011, mainly focused on agriculture. She started in the FT in Tokyo as a business reporter and has covered media and the City diary as well as editing corporate news. Emiko will be the webinar's moderator.  Sponsorship Opportunities For this webinar, sponsorships are still available, and with global membership in the nut and dried fruit industry, sponsoring INC events will give your brand valuable exposure to potential new customers! There are various levels of sponsorship, so you can select the one that best fits your needs. Take the next step in giving your brand visibility and sponsor an INC Webinar. For more information about the benefits of each sponsorship level, you can email Marta Ballesté at marta.balleste@nutfruit.org.  https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-prepares-latest-webinar-on-shipping-and-inflation-in-the-agriculture-industryLabeling Update: November 24, 2021Saudi Arabia and Taiwan Consider New Labeling Requirements These new labeling requirements will primarily affect products being sold in retail channels.   Go and check new measures from each country: Saudi Arabia: draft technical regulation with the procedures for placing nutritional data in the form of traffic light signals on the labels of pre-packaged food products. Taiwan: revisions to regulations for nutrition claims on prepackaged food products. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-november-24-2021Food Safety Update: November 24, 2021EU: Changes to Official Controls at Entry into the EU On November 3, the European Commission published the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1900 of 27 October 2021, amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 on official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the EU of certain goods from certain third countries due to the risk of contamination by mycotoxins, pesticide residues, pentachlorophenol and dioxins, and microbiological contamination.   As for nuts and dried fruits, changes to official controls at the entry into the EU:   Product Origin Reason Action Peanuts/groundnuts Brazil Possible contamination by pesticide residues increased level of official controls with a frequency of identity and physical checks set at 20 % Peanuts/groundnuts USA Aflatoxins increase to 20 % the frequency of identity and physical checks to be performed Hazelnuts and products produced from hazelnuts Georgia Aflatoxins decrease to 20 % the frequency of identity and physical checks to be performed Hazelnuts and products produced from hazelnuts Turkey, Azerbaijan Aflatoxins listed in Annex II to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 Pistachios USA Aflatoxins Deleted from Annex I to Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793   Date of entry into force: November 23, 2021.   More informationhttps://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-november-24-2021Sustainability Update: November 24, 2021US Launches Initiatives to Climate Action During COP26 During the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a series of new initiatives and platforms that put agriculture, forestry, and rural communities at the center of global solutions to the climate crisis.   The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) is an initiative launched by the United States and the United Arab Emirates that brings together more than 30 countries and over 48 NGOs to mobilize investment in climate-smart agriculture and food systems innovation over five years (2021-2025).   The Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative is intended to partner the USDA with agriculture, forestry and rural communities to implement climate-smart practices, improving protocols to measure, monitor and track carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. New Platform on Agriculture Launched by US-EU Joint Collaboration A new transatlantic collaboration platform on agriculture is designed to take on the global challenges of sustainability and climate change. Through international collaboration and exchange of information, this initiative is expected to facilitate tackling global sustainability issues by enhancing sustainable production, alleviating poverty and hunger, protecting our environment, and confronting climate change.   More information Vietnam: Green Growth Strategy 2021-2030 and Vision 2050 Approved According to a recent USDA GAIN Report, the Government of Vietnam approved on October 1, 2021, the new National Green Growth Strategy for the period 2021-2030 and vision to 2050 (Decision 1658/QD-TTg). Vietnam is undertaking an economic restructure complying with the principles of sustainability. This includes achieving economic prosperity, social justice and environmental sustainability, with an end goal of a green and carbon-neutral economy.   The strategy outlines the main solutions and tasks that each ministry will have to carry out. Moreover, Vietnam is currently developing their Climate Change Strategy and the Agriculture and Rural Development Strategy for the same time period.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-november-24-2021Trade Update: November 24, 2021China: New Foreign Food Facility Registration New requirements for the registration of foreign food processing and storage facilities will enter into force in China on January 1, 2022. Nut & Dried Fruit products are among the plant and plant products listed in Article 7 of Decree 248.   Companies can register with the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) using China’s website portal.   The China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-product (CFNA) breaks down the main points that concern Decree 248 – Regulations on the Registration and Administration of Overseas Producers of Imported Food. More information   The Australian Government has also gathered information to assist the industry to comply with GACC. EU-US Agree on the Suspension of Tariffs Under Section 232, Steel and Aluminium Dispute New provisions for measures concerning the EU-US dispute on steel and aluminum. On Sunday,  October 31, both parties agreed to suspend retaliatory tariffs related to the Steel and Aluminium dispute, and pause of WTO case.   In the case of the European Union, they intend to suspend as of January 1, 2022, the retaliatory tariffs against the US that were introduced in June 2018 in response to the US Section 232 tariffs on steel, aluminum, and derivative products. This also applies without interruption to the suspension of the increase in rebalancing measures set for December 1, 2021.   On the other hand, the US announced that they will no longer apply Section 232 tariffs in a stipulated amount of EU exports of steel and aluminum, to enter into force on January 1, 2022.   This means the EU will also suspend its 25% tariff for US peanut butter (code 2008 11 10) and concentrate cranberry (2009 81 11; 2009 81 19; 2009 81 31).   More information EU-AUSTRALIA: Conversations Advance Towards Free Trade Agreement Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commissioner for Trade, confirmed at the Foreign Affairs Council that took place on November 11, 2021, that EU-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations will be retaken at the start of 2022.   The meeting was held to address the state of play of the World Trade Organization (WTO) reform. Representatives exchanged views and perspectives on this issue as well as the latest developments of the trade relations between US-EU.   Conversations between EU-Australia FTA had been at a standstill since the announcement of the submarine agreement between the UK, the US, and Australia, so-called the AUKUS alliance.   The gathering also included new commitments made by the European Commission under the Trade and Sustainability Agenda, such as the establishment of climate neutrality targets.   More information US and China to Join TESSD Discussions for the Future Work of the WTO WTO members held a meeting on November 4 to discuss the future work under the Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD). Delegates conveyed their support to the upcoming draft ministerial declaration that would set the stage of the platform to develop actions in areas like trade and climate change, among others. It will also help create a roadmap for their discussions in 2022.   Participants welcomed the US and China as new co-sponsors of the TESSD initiative. A total of 56 WTO members have already participated in the discussions. The initiative was launched at the end of 2020, seeking to collaborate, prioritize and advance discussions on trade and environmental sustainability, to advocate transparency and information sharing between members, as well as to identify future areas of work for the WTO.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/trade-update-november-24-2021INC Participates in the UN Agricultural Quality Standards Meeting The 76th Session of the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Working Party on Agricultural Quality Standards took place in Geneva, Switzerland,on November 15-17, 2021.   The Chairperson of the UNECE Specialized Section on Standardization of Dry and Dried Produce, Mr. Dorian LaFond, presented the revised standards and new recommendations submitted to the Working Party for adoption.   The following standards and recommendations were approved: Recommendation for Inshell Pecans Recommendation for Pecan Kernels Recommendation for Dried Persimmons Recommendation for Raw and Roasted Inshell Peanuts Recommendation for Raw and Roasted Peanut Kernels Standard for Sweet Apricot Kernels Revised standard for Prunes Revised standard for Dates Sampling Plan for Tree Nuts and Dried Produce and Guidelines for Inspections of Dry and Dried Produce The Specialized Section placed the following standards on the agenda for 2022: the revision of the Cashew Kernels standard; the development of the explanatory posters on almond kernels and cashew kernels; the alignment of existing standards with the revised Standard Layout, and the organization of a Sampling Plan workshop.   In addition, the INC attended a webinar in relation to the topic of circular economy and sustainable use of natural resources. The event brought together representatives from UN agencies, other international organizations and NGOs, Member States, the academia and the private sector.   Participants claimed that redesigning food for a nature-positive future is not only possible, but imperative, and that circular economy is increasingly recognized as a solutions framework to address global challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-participates-in-the-un-agricultural-quality-standards-meetingConsumer Prices to Rise Due to Shipping Crisis, According to UNCTADA recent report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that it is likely the global economic recovery will be severely hindered by the shipping crisis and high freight rates. The report’s analysis shows that if the current elevated pricing in the shipping industry continues, this could result in an increase of global import price levels by 11% and in turn, raise consumer prices by 1.5% between now and 2023.   UNCTAD Secretary-General, Rebeca Grynspan stated, “The current surge in freight rates will have a profound impact on trade and undermine the socioeconomic recovery, especially in developing countries, until maritime shipping operations return to normal.” She continued with, “returning to normal would entail investing in new solutions, including infrastructure, freight technology and digitalization, and trade facilitation measures.” Importantly, the report highlights that not all countries will be affected equally, but that countries relying heavily on imports, and those least developed will most likely bear the brunt of the price increases.   Drewry’s World Container Index showed that over the past week, spot rates dropped 0.5%, a marginal decrease. Across some of the major routes, Shanghai to Rotterdam saw the largest decrease in spot rates, at 3%. Los Angeles to Shanghai also decreased 2%. On the other hand, Shanghai to Los Angeles rose 1%, while Shanghai to New York increased 3%. The other major routes in the index remained unchanged from the previous week. The index is still 238% higher than it was one year ago.   According to an article from Bloomberg, port congestion in Asia seems to be slightly easing, while ports in the US continue to struggle with large volumes of imports, leading to congestion and delays. Shanghai-Ningbo declined 0.2% compared to last week, while Hong Kong-Shenzhen’s ship count was 10.4% lower, according to Bloomberg. Singapore also experienced an easing of congestion over the past week. However, the easing of congestion is not uniform across Asia, as the ports of Tianjin and Manila are experiencing an increased backlog. For the other side of the Pacific, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have seen a 6.7% increase in congestion over the past week. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/consumer-prices-to-rise-due-to-shipping-crisis-according-to-unctadTree Nut and Dried Fruit Productions Add Up to 5 Million and 3.2 Million Metric Tons, Respectively November 2021. With the northern hemisphere harvest completed, the world tree nut production for the 2021/2022 season has been forecasted at about five million metric tons (kernel basis, except pistachios in-shell), down by 8% from 2020/21, but yet following the last decade growing trend and above the 2011/12-2019/20 volumes. Between 2011/12 and 2021/22, tree nut production grew by 54%. In spite of the COVID-19-related disruptions, overall demand remained strong in the 2020/21 marketing year, with most tree nut exports showing increments compared to the prior season and even hitting record international shipments. This season, the global shipment and logistics disruptions are creating some delays and short-term supply shortages, making it a challenge to monitor and assess the situation at any given time.   With the US expecting a shorter crop, almond world production is forecasted down from 2020/21; similarly, due to the top pistachio producers, USA, Iran and Turkey, experiencing good “off years”, total crop is also forecasted lower than the previous season. Global walnut production is anticipated to end up slightly below 2020/21 levels, as China is expecting an average crop and California a shorter one, following last season’s record. A smaller crop of Brazil nuts is also anticipated. Cashew, hazelnut and macadamia 2021/22 crops are foreseen to end up between 3% and 7% up from last season, while the biggest increment is observed for pine nuts, mainly due to larger crops in China and Russia.   World peanut production is expected to amount to about 50.5 M MT, 2% up from 2020/21, with larger crops expected for Nicaragua (14%), Brazil (9%), Nigeria (8%), China (4%), USA (2%) and India (1%).   The world production of dried fruit in 2021/22 has been forecasted at around 3.17 M MT, a growth of 6% compared to 2020/21, as production is expected to increase significantly for prunes and dates, and slightly for dried grapes (raisins, Sultanas and currants) and dried cranberries. Prune production is expected to recover in the USA and Serbia, as well as in Chile and Argentina, which are anticipating a better 2022 harvest. Date production is expected to grow in all origins owing to the expansion of new plantations in North Africa and the Middle East. Download the press release here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/tree-nut-and-dried-fruit-productions-add-up-to-5-million-and-3-2-million-metric-tons-respectivelyShipping Crisis Defined by Congestion and Elevated RatesUpdates on the shipping industry continue to be dominated by two major themes: congestion and prices. As of last week, there were 111 container ships all waiting to anchor at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long beach. This broke the previous record of 108 ships, reported on October 21. Starting November 16, ships coming into the Southern Californian Ports will have to anchor and wait 150 miles off the coast, in efforts to reduce ship congestion and pollution that is emitted by waiting ships.   Turning to ocean freight rates, Drewry’s World Container Index shows that prices remain unchanged from the previous week, and 250% higher than one year ago. Rates for Rotterdam to New York edged up 2%, while Shanghai to Los Angeles and vice versa increased 1%. The only route to show a decrease in the index was Shanghai to Genoa, which saw a 2% drop. Combining both congestion and elevated rates, the hit on American farmers is becoming more and more evident. Due to the logjam in the Southern Californian Ports, once unloaded, ships are rushing back to Asia with empty containers in order to load up with more goods. According to Drewry, it costs around seven times more to ship goods from Shanghai to Los Angeles compared to the other way around. This significant difference in price means ships are opting to skip the smaller ports in the US, making it difficult for American farmers to get their products on boats. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-crisis-defined-by-congestion-and-elevated-ratesGlobal Statistical Review, Dried Figs  Turkey Dried Figs The 2021/2022 production is forecasted at 75,000 metric tons. With a carry-in of 7,000 MT, total supply is estimated at around 82,000 MT. Exports between September 30, 2020, and September 25, 2021, reached 70,850 MT, the top markets being Germany, USA and France.https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-dried-figsGlobal Statistical Review, Dried Apricots  ​​​​​​ Turkey Dried Apricots  As reported by the Aegean Exporter’s Association, Turkish dried apricot production is expected to be 95,000 metric tons for the 2021/22 season. With a beginning stock of 5,000 MT, total supply is estimated at around 100,000 MT. In 2020/21 season (August 1, 2020-July 31, 2021), international shipments reached 87,193 MT. The new season started on August 1, 2021, and exports year to date (up to October 16) had reached 24,688 MT, the top three markets being USA, France and Germany. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-dried-apricotsGlobal Statistical Review, Special Report on China Nut and Dried Fruit TradeAccording to the Chinese Custom Statistics Database, overall tree nut imports into China have significantly raised over the last few years. The highest increments between 2020 and 2017, in relative terms, were observed for in-shell hazelnuts and almonds (+700%); shelled cashews (+500%); in-shell pistachios and shelled almonds (+200%), as international shipments of in-shell walnuts out of China grew by about 900%. Peanut imports were increased by around 370% and 260% for shelled and in-shell peanuts, respectively. As for dried fruits, imported volumes of dried figs, prunes and dried apricots also increased by 470%, 160% and 110%, respectively. Prune and dried fig exports grew by over 200%, while raisin international shipments doubled up. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-special-report-on-china-nut-and-dried-fruit-tradeCalifornia Agriculture Exports Disrupted by Supply Chain IssuesAccording to an article from AP News, farmers in California are having difficulties exporting their products due to the shipping crisis. As delays and backlogs at Californian ports worsen, farmers in one of the most important agricultural states are left with nowhere to send their goods. Roger Isom, President of the Western Agricultural Processors Association said that last month, over 80% of the scheduled shipments had been canceled and many processors were left with the only one option, to ship their products to other less congested ports around the country, which can be extremely costly. Apart from the growing stress on the food supply chain, some are fearing another problem in the near future: a maritime labor shortage. Throughout the pandemic, maritime workers have been some of the most affected, oftentimes having to spend extended times at sea, in some cases well over one year, due to restrictions, lockdowns, and other pandemic-related problems. Moreover, many maritime workers have reported declining mental and physical health, limited access to medical care, and growing tension among crew members, all leading some industry professionals to believe that it will be more difficult to hire workers in the future. In a glimpse of better news, Drewry announced that their World Container Index saw prices fall by 4.9% this past week. Although this is a significant decrease, the index still remains 252% higher than one year ago. According to their spot freight rates across eight major East-West routes, rates for Shanghai to Los Angeles decreased 10%. The next largest drop was from Shanghai to New York at 7%, followed by Shanghai to Genoa at 3%. Shanghai to Rotterdam rates was 2% lower than the previous week. Rotterdam to New York, and Los Angeles to Shanghai both decreased week over week 1%, and Rotterdam to Shanghai and New York to Rotterdam remained unchanged. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/california-agriculture-exports-disrupted-by-supply-chain-issuesGlobal Shipping Challenges Persist, Adding to Worries for the Holiday SeasonOver the past week, the prices for containers dropped slightly, 2%, but prices continue to be vastly elevated compared to a year ago. For about a month now, freight rates have stopped increasing exponentially, however, this is not translating into relief for businesses. Multiple weeks now have seen prices stagnate or decrease, but only by a small percentage.  According to Drewry, their World Composite Index remains 276% higher than one year ago. Spot freight rates for Shanghai to Rotterdam, Shanghai to Genoa, and Shanghai to New York all saw the largest drop in price, 3%, while Los Angeles to Shanghai fell by 1%. Rotterdam to Shanghai and Los Angeles to Shanghai both rose 1%.  Bogged down with shipping delays and cargo that continues to pile up, officials from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have announced a new fee for those containers that are lingering around the docks. Starting from November 1, carriers will be charged $100 per container with an additional $100 per container per day. This new fee will not be assessed until November 15. Mario Cordero, the Port of Long Beach Executive Director said, “The terminals are running out of space. We need to make room in our terminals, approximately 530,000 container units are sitting on those waiting ships.” The hope is that this new fee may clear up the terminals to allow for more containers to be unloaded, easing the bottleneck. As many ports face long delays, there is a growing fear that the holiday season will be severely impacted. According to an article from ABC News Australia, around 90% of all goods in the world are transported on ships, and shipping delays and container shortages are threatening to make this a holiday season like no other in recent years. Moreover, manufacturing in China has been hit hard by the shipping delays, rising inventories, and an energy crisis. An article from CNN Business reported that the month of October was the worst month for Chinese factories since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For a second consecutive month, a government survey of manufacturing activity has shown a contraction. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-shipping-challenges-persist-adding-to-worries-for-the-holiday-seasonGlobal Statistical Review, Brazil Nuts Brazil nut season 2020 was characterized by lockdowns, production starting and stopping, poor yields and falling export prices. The expectation was that 2021 would see a pickup in demand, a smaller crop and a return to more sustainable pricing levels. Expectations were overstepped.   Although 2021 saw the lowest starting crop price for more than 10 years, this did not last long. Demand was reactivated and increased buying of raw material by many actors across multiple countries quickly pushed raw material prices higher. This increased buying, alongside information from the forest of a reduced harvest, further strengthened the force with which buyers covered raw material. In parallel, exporters were almost unanimously withdrawn from offering. Lack of supply meant that those who could offer were able to achieve higher export prices which reflected the cost of raw material. As the season progressed the pattern remained the same. Increasing raw material prices, withdrawal of factories and an increasing export price. Added to this, the deterioration of yields meant higher costs.   By mid-September, the end of the harvest was well passed and factories were clearing their final balances before shutting their doors for maintenance and preparation for the next season. The expectation is that, given the high price of raw material, collectors will be eager to start the season as early as the weather permits. Normally this is November/December. Depending on how much factories can gather in that time will determine when they will have sufficient volume to start cracking and exporting. In a normal year that is normally not before March. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-brazil-nutsGlobal Statistical Review, Pecans   North America Pecans While the 2021 US crop is expected to be similar in size to the 2020 crop, severe drought conditions in Mexico reduced their projected crop by 30%. Assuming the figures remain as projected, this would be the first time since 2013 that the US could out-produce Mexico.   With North American pecan consumption expected to exceed 272,158 metric tons, supplies are very tight, especially for larger halves. Based on the most recent cold storage figures and American Pecan Council reported commitments, the tight supply situation has left most US shellers unable to quote halves. Further, the supply of good-quality pieces is also dwindling. The foodservice industry, severely affected by the pandemic, continues to rebound which is expected to put additional pressure on an already tight supply situation.   According to the final US Customs figures, 2020 crop imports were down 12.1%, the lowest since 2016. However, even with the continued trade tensions between the US and China, US overall pecan exports were up approximately 11% from a year ago and up approximately 65% to China. South Africa Pecans Estimated at 16,500 MT, in-shell basis, from which about 15,000 MT are bounded for export, the 2021 crop has turned out to be considerably lower than initially anticipated. This is largely attributed to a very cold spell during flowering in 2020.   The shortage of containers and the various problems experienced at the ports resulted in shipping bottlenecks. However, it is expected that the shipping situation will improve and autumn’s demand in China will be met in time. Brazil Pecans Harvest 2021 concluded last September hitting a historical record of 6,000 MT in-shell basis. Weather conditions were favorable, with rainfall well distributed throughout the growing cycle, especially in the largest producer state, Rio Grande do Sul. For the next season, the crop is forecasted down to 4,000 MT, mainly due to La Niña, which is anticipated to bring drought to southern Brazil, where most of the pecan orchards are located.   Although the domestic market is somewhat retracted by the pandemic, exports are growing, especially in-shell. In the last four years, more than 700,000 pecan trees have been fielded. China Pecans The harvest started in September and the current estimation is 100% up from the early forecast. The growing area currently adds to over 80,000 hectares, with many 8-10 years old trees coming into production. Australia Pecans The 2021 crop harvest started later than usual this year, following an autumn warm spell during final maturity. Now, after a rain-disrupted harvest, the best crop-set in many years is in-the-barn. The in-shell yield has produced full and heavy pecan halves, which have clearly benefited from a perfect (mild) summer growing season. This was Australia’s best season after 3-4 years of severe drought conditions.https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-pecansINC Wraps up Another Webinar, This Time on Consumption TrendsThrough changing times, understanding consumer behavior and trends and developing successful marketing campaigns have become more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many consumer habits and they are becoming a different type of audience for marketers. The latest INC webinar addressed both of these points with respected panelists, Nuria Moreno, the Global Director of OOH and Usage Panels from Kantar, and Alfonso Marian, the President of Ogilvy Spain, and former Chief Creative Officer for Ogilvy USA. They were joined by INC Executive Committee Member and Chairman of the INC Ambassadors Committee, Pratap Nair. Market Insights on Consumption Trends in the Food Industry Nuria kicked off the webinar with a 20-minute presentation on the latest research from Kantar, identifying 6 of the biggest trends that have been accelerated by the pandemic. She opened the presentation by explaining that the panels used by Kantar represent 2/3 of the world population and enable them to give accurate insights into consumers around the world. The first trend shared by Nuria was the return of out-of-home consumption across the globe and how that relates to the overall recovery of the food and beverage industry. In general, the percentage of value coming from out-out-home is not where it was pre-pandemic, but Nuria highlighted that some of the more recent data from Europe indicates that the levels are returning close to pre-pandemic numbers. She also noted that the out-of-home recovery for salty snacks has been slower compared to other snacking categories. Turning to the second trend, Nuria mentioned the growth of the e-commerce market during lockdowns, but this growth is not as noticeable as countries come out of lockdowns.The third trend identified was working from home. This has undoubtedly changed the eating habits of consumers, leading to increased snacking, and later-in-the-day meals. The fourth trend was the shift of snacking being related to health. In general, snacking is linked to enjoyment, but the pandemic has now linked snacking to health. The growth of meal delivery has also been a trend Kantar has tracked, as it changes the moments and occasions for consumption. And finally, the last trend discussed was creating an advantage through sustainability. Many companies now are looking to take advantage of the consumers’ awareness and desire for sustainable products, especially within the food industry, an area where nuts and dried fruits can capitalize. The Power of a Clear Marketing Strategy The second half of the webinar was presented by Alfonso. As a creative and marketing expert, he was able to share some of the key aspects of a successful marketing campaign. His presentation began with an overview of 3 important considerations to have when designing a campaign: e-commerce, engagement, and product. To make the presentation more insightful, Alfonso shared various case studies and videos, highlighting various marketing campaigns by companies around the world. Looking first at the rise and power of e-commerce, he talked about the importance of people shopping from home, depending on delivery, and the importance of brands in this regard. The first video shared was from Mastercard and their development of an app that allows local farmers to connect to the market. Mastercard partnered with navigation company, Waze, to allow local farmers to put their shops on the Waze app, giving them more visibility and allowing them to actively partake in the market which is oftentimes dominated by massive conglomerates. The second e-commerce example was a retail company from the UK that develop applications allowing customers to create their own personalized “Bootiques” and shop from wherever they are. Discussing engagement, Alfonso highlighted the consumer behavior of “back to home” and “streaming & gaming”. One of the examples of engagement was from the US company, Verizon. For the 2021 Super Bowl, Verizon replicated the stadium and partnered with the popular video game Fortnite to encourage players to game and play inside of the digital Super Bowl Stadium. It ended up turning out to be one of the most engaged Super Bowls in history. Verizon was able to capitalize on this growing trend of gaming. The final point of Alfonso’s presentation was product, and how price and quality are not the only two factors that drive sales. The experience, the company’s values and or commitment can also be a determining factors. A campaign example of this was Colgate. They designed an application that was kid-friendly and enjoyable to encourage longer times for brushing teeth. With the experience being so highly regarded, it was a major success among kids and their parents! The presentation shared many other examples of how building a marketing strategy that meets consumer behavior will likely result in a successful outcome! Final Takeaway In a market where consumer habits change so often, putting together market research and building a marketing campaign aligned with the latest trends and behaviors can put your company in the best position to create a competitive advantage and reap the benefits of change.    Thank you to our sponsors for supporting the INC and this fantastic event! https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-wraps-up-another-webinar-this-time-on-consumption-trendsGlobal Statistical Review, Dates The world production is tending upwards owing to the expansion of new plantations, particularly in North Africa and the Middle East, thanks to the intervention of private investors and the support of regional authorities. The increased supply and international competition might cause price reductions affecting all the stakeholders in the sector.   The high temperatures during the 2021 summer in most producing countries favored the incidence of pests. The excessive heat can also affect the texture of the fruit, so a relatively high rate of dry dates during harvesting could be expected. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-datesGlobal Statistical Review, Peanuts China Peanuts  At the time of writing this report, expectations were of a good 2021 Chinese peanut crop, both from a quantity and quality standpoint. Harvest in the main producing areas was expected to start by mid-October.   As per the USDA FAS Oilseeds and Products Update report of September 1, 2021, the record rainstorm in Henan province in July 2021 might have affected 120,000 hectares of peanuts and this province’s production is likely to be cut by around 100,000 MT. India Peanuts  According to the September 2021 USDA FAS reports, Indian peanut production is expected to reach around 6.8 million metric tons, up roughly 7% over the previous forecast and 1% more than last year. The increase in production is due to a greater planted area, which in turn, rose as a result of favorable prices. The harvested area is expected to amount to 5.9 million hectares, up 7% from August but down 2% from 2020. The yield is expected to increase by 3% from the previous year to 1.15 MT/ha. USA Peanuts As per the USDA October forecast, US peanut production for the 2021/22 marketing year is forecasted at 2.85 M MT, up 2% from 2020/21. According to industry sources, the US is looking towards a good crop this year, volume and quality-wise, provided weather conditions remain good until the end of harvest, which started slowly by mid-September. At that time, the crop was rated in a good to excellent condition of 77% (20% rated as fair). Although it is anticipated that there will be sufficient peanuts to supply, it’s not expected that the market will soften. Besides the strong domestic demand, all oncosts rose compared to last year: labor, transport, packaging, fuel, etc. Cotton and corn are strong competitors of next year’s plantings. Senegal Peanuts As reported by the USDA FAS, in its World Agricultural Production report of September 10, Senegal peanut production is expected to reach 1.7 M MT in MY 2021/22, up 10% from the previous month estimate, but down 6% from last year’s record production of 1.8 M MT. Harvested area is expected to amount to 1.2 M ha, a drop of 25,000 ha (2%) from 2020/21.   Many production areas had to delay planting in July because of the late onset of rains. While seasonal precipitation from June through August 2021 was ordinary to above average, August rains were substantially above average, contributing to restoring production expectations. Yield is forecasted at 1.4 MT/ha, down 3% from last season’s record. Argentina Peanuts According to the Argentine Chamber of Peanuts latest Supply and Demand Estimation report, based on a harvested area of 412,365 ha and a yield of 3.7 MT/ha, the consolidated production estimation for the 2020/21 MY (June 1-May 30) adds up to over 1.5 M MT (in-shell basis), up 11% from the previous estimate. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-peanutsShipping Prices Stagnate and Economists Warn Lingering ProblemsAccording to Drewry’s World Container Index, shipping prices this past week began to stagnate with a marginal drop of 0.4%. Many of the most popular routes around the world like Shanghai to Rotterdam and Shanghai to Los Angeles remained effectively the same as compared to the previous week. Meanwhile, rates on New York to Rotterdam and Los Angeles to Shanghai rose 3% and 1% respectively. Other routes like Shanghai to New York, Rotterdam to New York, Rotterdam to Shanghai, and Shanghai to Genoa all saw slight decreases of 1%.   An article from CNBC recently shared that some economists and business leaders expect that shipping problems are likely to extend well into the coming year, 2022. According to economists from Goldman Sachs, around 77 ships are waiting outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, equating to around $24 billion in goods. Due to the ever-growing backlogs, prices of consumer goods continue to skyrocket and many are expected fewer goods to be available during the holiday season. Goldman economist Ronnie Walker said, “Backlogs and elevated shipping costs are likely to persist at least through the middle of next year because no immediate solution for the underlying supply-demand imbalance at US Ports is available.”   Adding to the overall crisis, empty containers continue to pile up at the Port of Los Angeles, meanwhile, Chinese companies are experiencing a large shortage. With a lack of empty containers, many companies in China are having issues actually getting their goods out of the country, further adding to the fears of fewer goods for the holiday season. In an effort to alleviate some of the supply chain issues, Governor of California, Gavin Newsom signed an Executive Order which mandates that state agencies continue to work with the Biden-Harris Administration Supply Chain Disruption Task Force and to identify state-owned properties or other locations that could serve as short-term storage once goods are unloaded from ships. Despite all of these efforts, the end of this shipping disaster still does not seem to be near. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-prices-stagnate-and-economists-warn-lingering-problemsJoin the INC's Latest Webinar on Consumption TrendsTaking place on Thursday, October 28 at 6:00 am PDT | 3:00 pm CEST | 6:30 pm IST | 9:00 pm CST | Friday, 29 October 12:00 am AEDT, the INC’s next webinar, Consumption Trends in the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry will dive deeper into the market, consumer behavior, and how to design a campaign to take advantage of the latest trends. Chaired by Mr. Pratap Nair, Chairman of the INC Ambassadors Committee, the session will be led by Núria Moreno, the Global Director of OOH from Kantar, a leading market research company and Alfonso Marian, President of Ogilvy Spain and former Chief Creative Officer Ogilvy USA, a leading marketing agency. Núria Moreno’s presentation will focus on sharing some insights into the latest published research by Kantar on the food industry. Kantar is one of the world’s leading and most respected market insights and consultancy agencies, reaching 100 countries and working to share market research in many different fields. The presentation during the webinar will highlight 6 of the biggest trends that are being accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and discuss consumer behavior. She will cover topics like the recovery of OOH (out-of-home) in the food industry, the shifting landscape to digital and e-commerce, the impact of work-from-home, snacking and convenience, and the increased attention on sustainability. Alfonso Marian is a widely respected creative and marketing professional. He has served as the Chief Creative Officer for Ogilvy USA at their New York City Headquarters, and now is the president of Ogilvy Spain. He was also named the new Director of El Sol, which is one of the largest advertising festivals in the world. It brings together Latin American countries, Spain, Portugal, and Latin communities in the US to compete for marketing and advertising awards. His presentation during the webinar will discuss how to build and execute a clear, creative, and concise marketing strategy to give tangible results. With everchanging trends, constructing a successful marketing strategy enables companies to position themselves to react quickly and make the most out of the opportunities present. Don’t wait any longer to join this fascinating webinar with excellent and professional panelists. Register now and join the INC, Kantar, and Ogilvy to uncover the latest trends and insights, and marketing strategy tips! [REGISTER NOW] Thank you to our sponsors who support the INC and the industry! https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/join-the-inc-s-latest-webinar-on-consumption-trendsRegister Today for the Latest INC WebinarAfter a successful first of three scheduled webinars, the INC is excited to continue providing online services for members. The next webinar, Consumption Trends in the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry, is taking place October 28 at  6:00 am PDT | 3:00 pm CEST | 6:30 pm IST | 9:00 pm CST | Friday, 29 October 12:00 am AEDT. Understanding consumption trends is crucial to identifying key market opportunities and launching successful promotions to increase consumption of nuts and dried fruits. Once some of the latest movements within the market and consumer behavior are grasped, market campaigns are able to be better directed at an audience that is more receptive to the message. However, there are many aspects to a successful campaign, starting out with reliable market research, designing the campaign to best take advantage of the trends, and then executing the plan. The INC is pleased to announce that in this webinar, each stage of a campaign will be covered by an expert panel. Chaired by Mr. Pratap Nair, Chairman of the INC Ambassadors Committee, the session will be led by Núria Moreno, the Global Director of OOH from Kantar, a leading market research company and Alfonso Marian, President of Ogilvy Spain and former Chief Creative Officer Ogilvy USA, a leading marketing agency.   Throughout the session Núria Moreno will discuss the importance of marketing research and will share with participants Kantar’s latest published research on the three macro-tendencies: alimentation habits, sustainability and omni-channel. Complementing this, Alfonso Marian will later present and discuss the importance of having a clear, creative and concise marketing strategy to gain the most tangible results. Now is a time of constant change for consumers and it is important for companies to understand the latest trends to be in the best position to take advantage of all the opportunities present.   Don't miss out on this incredible discussion, so save your spot in the webinar by registering now!  [REGISTER NOW] Thank you to our sponsors who support the INC and the industry! https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/register-today-for-the-latest-inc-webinarEnd of the Shipping Crisis Still Unclear Despite Another Drop in Container PricesAccording to the Drewry World Contain Index, container prices continue to slowly fall on most of the major routes around the world. The composite index showed a drop of 2.3%, despite remaining 283% higher than one year ago. The route with the largest decrease in price, 7%, was Shanghai to New York, while Shanghai to Los Angeles fell 2%. Rates for Los Angeles to Shanghai, Shanghai to Rotterdam, Rotterdam to Shanghai, and Shanghai to Genoa each saw their rates move down 1%. On the contrary, the rates from New York to Rotterdam rose slightly, at 3%. To go along with the good news regarding freight rates, it has been announced that the Port of Los Angeles will start 24-hour operations in an attempt to ease the logjam. This announcement comes as the nearby port of Long Beach has already been operating 24 hours a day. Both of these ports are experiencing elevated volumes, exacerbating the situation and putting more pressure on the supply chain. A report from NPR said that one shipping expert pointed out that even if the bottleneck is resolved at the ports, the issue could easily shift to other sections of the supply chain such as railyards or a shortage of truck drivers.   Taking all of this into account, some analysts believe that the end of the shipping crisis is not necessarily coming in the short term. In a Yahoo Finance article, Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at Copenhagen-based BMCO, a trade group, said “We expect… strained supply chains to last until the early parts of 2023.” Sand believes that the “spectacular recover” in US consumer demand is a reason so much strain has been put on the global supply chain. All in all, many questions remain on when the situation will be resolved. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/end-of-the-shipping-crisis-still-unclear-despite-another-drop-in-container-pricesINC Pavilion Wraps up at Anuga 2021Anuga 2021 has come to a close and this INC Pavilion marked the first time that INC has taken part in an in-person event in over one and a half years. With an excellent high-traffic location in Hall 10.2, the 16 exhibiting companies were able to connect with old and new clients alike. The INC Pavilion provided an eye-catching design that attracted many participants to come and see what was happening. Despite not being able to host a cocktail event due to COVID-19 protocol, the social area of the INC Pavilion was very much alive and full of people networking, conducting business, and enjoying a one-stop-all place for the entire nut and dried fruit industry.  As one of the world's largest food trade shows, Anuga 2021 proved that with correct preparation and protocol, in-person events can be held safely, providing companies with the much-desired interaction that comes with trade fairs. The INC would like to thank each and every one of the exhibitors that made the trip to Cologne Germany, Thank you to our exhibitors for continuously supporting our wonderful industry! https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-pavilion-wraps-up-at-anuga-2021Shipping Rates Ease Across the Global MarketFor the last few weeks, the shipping situation has softened with prices slightly decreasing on average. Despite rates that are still significantly elevated compared to pre-pandemic prices, Bloomberg reported that this week, one of the busiest routes, Shanghai to Los Angeles saw the price for a container drop $1,000, an 8.2% decrease. According to the Bloomberg article, some analysts believe that this reduction in price could be attributed to slower production in China during its Golden Week holiday, as well as the energy crisis and power shortages being experienced in parts of the country. Looking at rates for other routes, the Drewry’s World Container Index showed that this past week the overall index decreased 2.2% to $10,129.72 per 40-foot container. However, this is still 289% higher than the same week in 2020. The rate for Los Angeles to Shanghai dropped 5%, and the Rotterdam to Shanghai rate decreased 2%. On the contrary, the prices for Shanghai to Rotterdam slightly increased, by 2%. Apart from the elevated prices, the shipping industry is also battling reduced operations, as the impending typhoon, Kompasu, has forced Chinese authorities to close at least three ports as of Tuesday, October 12, in Hainan, as well as Shenzhen’s Yantian port, which is one of the world’s busiest container ports. It still remains unclear when operations would resume. Furthermore, the shipping logjam in ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach continues to be of concern. According to Bloomberg, 60 ships were waiting outside of these Californian ports for a berth to offload as of Sunday evening. The average wait time has now increased to more than 11 days, higher than the previous high of 8 days recorded back in April. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-rates-ease-across-the-global-marketGlobal Statistical Review, Raisins, Sultanas and Currants Turkey Dried Grapes As per the Aegean Exporters Association, for the 2021/2022 season, Turkish dried grape production is expected to be 290,000 metric tons. With a beginning stock of 60,000 MT, total supply is estimated at around 350,000 MT. International shipments in 2020/21 (September 1, 2020-August 31, 2021) reached 226,000 MT. The 2021/22 season started on September 1 and, up to September 25, exports amounted to 22,825 MT, up by 7% from the same period the previous season, the top three export markets being the UK, Germany and the Netherlands. China Dried Grapes As reported by the USDA NASS GAIN report of September 2, 2021, Chinese dried grape production in the 2020/21 season was drastically reduced mainly due to COVID-19 lockdown measures in the Xinjiang area, the largest raisin producing region in China, which halted farming activities and affected grape harvesting; while season 2021/22 is expected to rebound to normal levels.   According to industry sources, after last season’s short production, 2021/22 production is forecasted to increase, even double up from 2020/21, up to 200,000 MT. Weather conditions during the growing season were very favorable and there was less pest pressure. Green raisins account for around 70% of the total production, while the remaining 30% are Sultanas.   Overall, quality was reported very good by early September and provided there are no rains until early October, it is foreseen to be excellent, with good color and less mold; while size is a little smaller than last year due to high temperatures.   As for shipments, last season’s short production is already sold out. A price drop compared to the same period last year coupled with the good quality are speeding up sales for this season’s production. According to the USDA report, both raisin imports and domestic consumption are expected to increase, as food consumption is recovering after the pandemic-related decrease in 2020, and benefitting from the expansion of food processing and snack sectors. USA Dried Grapes Despite the lack of rain during the rainy season, growing conditions have been favorable with plenty of warm days, especially during the summer months. More raisin variety grapes are expected to go to the wineries for crushing impacting the number of grapes that can be used to make raisins this year. Quality is expected to be very good with berries on the smaller side.   The fires burning in the mountain communities mainly to the north of the raisin growing region are expected to have little or no impact on raisin production. At the time of writing this report, export shipments continued to get affected due to port congestion and vessel delays. Iran Dried Grapes According to the Iran Dried Fruit Exporters Association, dried grape production in season 2020/21 was significantly large, estimated at around 260,000 MT. The whole production was consumed domestically and exported, leaving no carry-over. Production for 2021/22 is estimated within normal ranges, at 160-170,000 MT with a carry-over of around 10-12,000 MT. South Africa Dried Grapes As per Raisins South Africa, there was a good change of seasons from autumn to winter, with a very cold July and August. As spring starts in the southern hemisphere production region, vineyards move into the very critical budbreak stage. However, at the time of writing this report, the weather forecast indicated low frost risk.   Since May 2021, the industry has experienced some logistical challenges, which impacted shipments. However, irrespective of those limitations exported volumes were higher compared to 2020. Product is moving well and the carry-over is foreseen to be close to the forecasted value. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-dried-grapes-raisins-sultanas-and-currantsGlobal Statistical Review, Walnuts China Walnuts An average crop is expected for all regions except Xinjiang, where a drop of 25% from last season is anticipated due to frost and hail incidence. Good quality is anticipated from Xinjiang, with more light color kernels available.   The price has been firm with an increase of nearly 40% above last year owing to strong demand from domestic and overseas markets. Due to the shipping freight rates, more loads are being rolled and ships delayed. USA Walnuts As per the 2021 USDA NASS California Walnut Objective Measurement Report, the crop is forecasted at 670,000 short tons in-shell basis (607,810 MT), down 15% from 2020's record production. The forecast is based on 385,000 bearing acres (155,800 hectares), up 1% from the prior year.   As reported by the California Walnut Board and Commission, frost damage in late fall of 2020, intensified by the state’s drought conditions, delayed leaf out and reduced nut set. However, chilling hours were up from the prior year, the percent of sound kernels in-shell was 99.5% and average weight and size were on par with the previous season. Overall, market demand remains strong. Chile Walnuts According to Chilenut, the 2021 crop has shown a weather-related drop of 8% from the initial estimate, standing at approximately 150,000 MT.   Export commitments up to August 31, 2021, were over 91% of the crop, one month ahead compared to 2020. With a deficit of 17,000 MT, due to the lack of containers and vessels, Chile will have to maintain higher export levels in the last months of the year to fulfill all commitments. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-walnutsGlobal Statistical Review, Hazelnuts Turkey Hazelnuts After initial harvest reports, the crop estimation remains as previously announced, with a note that any potential deviation would be on the positive side. Despite the strong harvest figures, drying conditions are delaying the flow, especially in the Eastern Black Sea region. The delay in drying may result in a higher rotten percentage in the upcoming months. Fruit development is optimal with a negligible percentage of small calibers, where the median caliber is 14 mm.   TMO announced 27 TL/kg for Giresun and 26.50 TL/kg for Levant varieties in August and the market formed just below that level with less strict acceptance criteria with strong trading volumes. However, it would not be a surprise for TMO to exceed 50,000 metric tons procurement performance. Italy Hazelnuts The harvest started with a delay of two weeks and ended up towards the end of September with an off crop of 50,000 MT (in-shell basis). Due to the low yield (-2% from last season), quality might be affected by a high incidence of stink bug damage. A very good setting for next year crop can be already observed. USA Hazelnuts Growing conditions have been favorable, although it has been very dry through much of the summer. This does not appear to have negatively affected kernel fill nor quality. In-shell sizing is somewhat smaller than average, but this is in part due to the larger crop load on the trees.   There is concern over the current shipping challenges affecting important in-shell markets in Asia. Even with continuing COVID-19 concerns, harvest and production operations have stood ready to handle the crop. Finally, recently released numbers indicate new plantings are continuing at an annual rate of approximately 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares), for a total planted area of 90,000 acres (36,000 ha). https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-hazelnutsShipping Delays Causing Shortages of Goods Leading Up to the Holiday SeasonAs October begins, the global shipping delays and situation remain essentially unchanged from previous weeks. Officials from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach have said that as many as half a million containers could be waiting to be unloaded. This continues to put pressure on the supply chain as consumers face hikes in prices across many products. According to an article from Insider, cargo ships could end up waiting up to four weeks before they can dock on the west coast of the US. However, the problem cannot be solely pinned on the ports, as labor shortages in warehouses and truck companies also add to the crisis. Port of Los Angeles Executive Director, Gene Seroka has commented, “We need more workers on the job. We probably need expanded hours to match up with the work that’s being done in other segments of the supply chain.” All of this together is sparking fear that there might be a shortage of goods and empty shelves for the upcoming holiday season. Regarding the price of shipping containers, this week saw another break as the Drewry World Container Index noted that the price for a 40 foot container decreased slightly, 0.2%, compared to the previous week. However, the price this week still remains 291.8% higher than the same week in 2020. Specific routes saw bigger drops in price, as rates for Shanghai to Los Angeles fell 2% and Los Angeles to Shanghai 1%. Other routes saw rates slightly increase, for example, Shanghai to Rotterdam increased 1%. Overall, Drewry expects that the prices will remain steady once again for the coming week. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-delays-causing-shortages-of-goods-leading-up-to-the-holiday-seasonGlobal Statistical Review, Prunes California Prunes According to the California Prune Board, the 2021 harvest is concluding with slight uncertainty among prune producers and processors about whether total production will meet the estimate of 68,000 metric tons. Overall quality, sweetness, and sizes appear to meet the premium standards expected from California. Robust domestic and international shipments continued throughout 2021. The increased shipments combined with added pressure due to short crops in other producing regions, have tightened California’s carefully managed inventories. Nonetheless, processors look forward to the new season with enthusiasm and confidence that they can supply customers in key markets. Chile Prunes As per Chileprunes, in line with the global inventory situation, stocks in Chile, and also Argentina, are very low, which along with the summer rains have resulted in rising prices. The current extreme drought might change the production final outcome. Spring conditions will be decisive. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-prunesGlobal Statistical Review, Dried Cranberries The 2021 crop is expected to be flat to last year at around 11.5 M barrels. Wet summer weather through the growing season has contributed to higher-than-average levels of mold and unusable fruit, particularly in Wisconsin, and the East Coast growing regions. A third year of below-average crops with increased demand through the pandemic has put significant pressure on fruit supply for dried cranberries. Carry-in measured at August 31 was down from last year and as a result, 2020 fruit is very limited through the fall until the new crop can be used in early December.https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-sweetened-dried-cranberriesGlobal Statistical Review, Cashews With industry reports of the Côte d’Ivoire crop reaching around 1 million metric tons of RCN, northern hemisphere crops (West Africa, India, Vietnam and Cambodia) might end up slightly higher than last year, around +3%. India, Vietnam and Cambodia combined crops seem to be about 4% up from last year (the year-on-year rise in the Cambodian and Indian crops, 32% and 7% respectively, compensate the 11% y/y drop in the Vietnam crop). Shipments from West Africa were delayed, giving the initial impression of a short crop, but shipment numbers and stock positions indicate that overall, the crop has increased a little; the total West Africa crop is about 2% up y/y. Most of the West Africa raw material has already been sold and is by now in hands of large RCN traders. Significantly more raw cashews were processed in West Africa and exported as kernels this year, aided by the advantage of much lower shipment costs and time-savings, particularly on exports to Europe.   COVID-19 induced shutdowns of factories in Vietnam in August and September slowed down the pace of shelling of raw cashews. This, coupled with significant shipping delays and cost-increases has caused spot-shortages and price-escalation of kernels in many destination markets. At the time of writing this report, demand was doing well across all geographies.   Regarding the southern hemisphere, harvest started in September in both Brazil and Indonesia, and East Africa harvest was expected to start as of early October. As per the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBEG), Brazilian crop is projected to be lower by 11% y/y compared to last year crop, while local industry sources report that expectations are of a good harvest that might reach up to 150,000 MT of RCN. The Indonesian crop is foreseen to remain the same as last year. The Tanzanian crop condition is good, and initial projections indicate that it may reach up to 250,000 MT. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-cashewsReal Power for Real People Is BackGiven the success of the Real Power for Real People campaign in 2020/2021, the INC is pleased to inform this year's campaign will be a continuation of Real Power for Real People.   Launching last October, the first installment saw the message between nuts and dried fruits and attitudinal immunity being shared with millions of people across the globe. The main video gained over 1.79 million views on YouTube and 30 influencers from 17 different countries got on board to help us share the message with influencer posts about the campaign gaining over 1.4 million interactions from their followers.   Thanks to this success, this year, we’re expanding on the message to reach new audiences and taking the campaign to the next level. To do so, 6 new video capsules have been created targeting new audiences like, gamers, athletes, foodies (healthy lifestyle), artists, influencers and entrepreneurs, and are now being distributed across the INC’s social media channels. To date, the videos have grabbed the attention of these new audiences gaining a combined total of 1.57 million views. Other contents have also been created to help inspire individuals to start consuming more nuts and dried fruits, such as a special Instagram filter that shows users their “Nutfruit Superpower” and various GIF materials, perfect for sharing on social media.   To help us spread the message further, you can get involved and share the contents through your social media channels by following these simple steps: Go to YouTube and share the six video capsules: YouTube.com or share them on Instagram by reposting the following posts and then keep a look out for the next installments as we will be releasing one video per month: Instagram post 1 gamers, Instagram post 2 artists. Visit the INC's Instagram channel @nutfruitpower on a mobile device and follow these instructions to share and use the Instagram filter for Nutfruit Superpowers: Real Power Filter Start to create an Instagram story and then follow these instructions to use the many different Gifs for this campaign: Real Power Gifs As you can see, it is super easy to join the campaign and help spread the message of Real Power for Real People! So don't wait any longer, get started now and help the INC reach millions of people around the globe. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/real-power-for-real-people-is-backCOVID-19 Update: September 29, 2021WHO During the United Nations (UN) Virtual Global COVID-19 Summit hosted by the US on September 22, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres repeated his call for a global COVID-19 vaccination plan, in line with recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO). He recalled that we can end the pandemic because we have effective vaccines against COVID-19 and outlined inequities in vaccine distribution.   In addition, during the Summit several countries have promised to provide doses of vaccines to other nations: Italy plans to give 45 million doses before the end of the year; Japan plans to donate 60 million doses; Spain will donate 7.5 million doses to Latin America and the Caribbean and a further 7.5 million to sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Europe; US promised to donate extra 500 million vaccines. Australia A stay-at-home curfew is in place for metropolitan Melbourne but does not apply to regional Victoria (including Mitchell Shire). Between 9:00 pm and 5:00 am, residents of metropolitan Melbourne cannot leave their homes other than for allowed reasons. In addition, residents of metropolitan Melbourne and Mitchell Shire must stay within 10 km of their home for shopping and exercise. In the NSW, stay at home rules apply to everyone living or staying in Greater Sydney and other regional and rural areas. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) will continue in lockdown until October 15, 2021.   As of September 28, 53.4% of the Australian population is fully vaccinated while 76.7% has received one vaccine dose. At the current pace, more than 70% of the population will be fully vaccinated by the end of October. China According to Reuters, China's northeastern city of Harbin went into semi-shutdown after reporting new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. Residents should avoid leaving town unless for essential reasons, and those who do leave must produce proof of negative test results within 48 hours from departure. It is unclear if the three new Harbin cases were linked to the current outbreak in the eastern province of Fujian. European Union The European Council revised the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted from September 23. In particular, Chile, Kuwait and Rwanda were added to the list, and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Moldova were removed from the list in Annex I. To recall, non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I is subject to temporary travel restriction.   The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will decide whether to endorse a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in early October. EMA is evaluating data submitted by Pfizer and BioNTech for a booster dose to be given six months after the second dose in people 16 years of age and older. In addition, the Agency is also evaluating whether a booster dose of Moderna's vaccine could be given at least six months after the second shot of the two-dose course in people over 12 years of age. Although European authorities have not approved any booster shots for coronavirus vaccines, many EU countries have decided to administer them. Germany German health authorities ruled that starting November 1, unvaccinated people will not be compensated for missing wages if they are compelled to quarantine due to coronavirus measures. This will affect people who test positive and those returning from trips to countries designated "high risk" for COVID-19.   Germany expects to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to children under 12 next year. India Infections in India are steadily decreasing in most of the country and it may be approaching the endemic stage, i.e. the virus is restricted to a specific population within a geographic area, which still causes outbreaks but with a manageable impact. India’s active caseload is the lowest in 187 days and the active cases account for less than 1% of total cases presently. Currently, 16.8% of India’s population is fully vaccinated. Italy To boost vaccinations, Italy has made it compulsory for all workers to have a COVID “green pass” –proof of vaccination, a negative test or recovery from the virus– starting on October 15. The BBC reports that these measures are a first for Europe and some of the strictest in the world. Anyone who does not have a pass will reportedly face suspension from work and may have their salary terminated after five days. Japan As Japan's COVID-19 infection situation is improving, the state of emergency, currently covering Tokyo and 18 other prefectures, might be lifted on Thursday, September 30, when it expires. Reportedly, the government has no plans to extend the state of emergency. South Africa The National Institute of Communicable Diseases announced that South Africa has officially exited its third wave of COVID infections. Indicators have shown sustained decreases in all provinces. The government is expected to update the lockdown regulations in the coming weeks (in level 2 lockdown since September 13). Spain In Spain, the under-12s, the only group that is not covered by the ongoing vaccination campaign, has now become the segment of the population where the coronavirus is spreading the most. The cumulative incidence rate among the youngest population was 123.3 cases per 100,000 individuals over the previous 14 days, while the average for the whole of Spain came in at 83.4. Turkey Turkey registered on September 21 the highest number of daily infections since April 30. The rise in Turkey's daily death toll since mid-July has been among the sharpest among countries in Europe and the Middle East.   Up to now, Turkey has administered over 107 million doses and 53% of the population is fully vaccinated. UK EU travelers are now permitted to enter the UK. Travelers from the green list countries who received the final vaccination injection at least 14 days before traveling can visit the UK without self-isolating upon arrival. However, they have to show a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours after reaching the country and provide the completed passenger locator form. In the case of travelers from amber list countries, vaccinated travelers have to perform a COVID test on or before day two of arrival, whereas those that haven’t been vaccinated have to quarantine for ten days and take two COVID tests: one on day two and the other one on day eight of quarantine.   The UK has registered an increase in new cases by 15.4% over the past seven days while deaths have decreased by 3.8%.   New research on further effects of COVID-19 featured in the British Medical Journal establishes that people with specific medical conditions could still be at risk from COVID-19 despite being vaccinated. Among those identified are people with Down’s Syndrome, people who’ve had organ transplants and others with weakened immune systems. USA The current 7-day moving average of daily new cases decreased 17.1% compared with the previous average. Although fewer COVID-19 cases have been reported in children (ages 0-17 years) compared with adults, weekly rates of hospitalizations have increased in children ages 11 years and younger.   Around 390 million vaccine doses have been administered in the US. Overall, about 64% of the total population have received at least one dose and 55.8% have been fully vaccinated.   On September 23, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved a booster shot of the BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine for Americans aged 65 and older, as well as some adults at risk of severe disease and some who work in high-risk settings. Health authorities are reportedly confident there will be enough doses for both qualified older Americans seeking booster shots and young children for whom initial vaccines are expected to be approved in the coming days.   The US is planning to lift its travel ban on fully vaccinated visitors from the EU and the UK from early November. EU and UK travelers will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination before boarding, as well as testing negative for the coronavirus within three days of their flight.   The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-september-29-2021Global Statistical Review, Macadamias South Africa Macadamia Consolidated figures from SAMAC Handlers/Processors indicate a 2021 crop forecast of 54,174 metric tons dry-nut-in-shell (DNIS), up 11% from 2020.   Although a bumper crop was expected, an unseasonal frontal rain during critical times of flowering resulted in significant flower blight infections, subsequently affecting nut set. Beaumont was particularly affected in the Nelspruit and North Coast regions of KwaZulu-Natal. The lower total kernel recovery on this cultivar has further reduced yields whereas other cultivars have approximately a 1-1.5% lower TKR than last season. Fortunately, the cyclone did not impact all regions and contributed to the replenishment of underground water resources. Most producing regions experienced increased damage by the Tortricidae moth complex, which is expected to have had a considerable impact on cultivar 816, 788 as well as on most hybrids. Australia Macadamia As per the Australian Macadamia Society, the majority of the 2021 crop was already collected by mid-September and overall quality was very good. Crop is forecasted to reach 48,500 MT in-shell basis at 3.5% NIS moisture content (52,000 MT at 10% m.c.).   Weather conditions have been excellent for flowering. Young trees are in good health and these new plantings are expected to start contributing to the crop next year. Demand for Australian kernel is showing strong improvement with all major regions experiencing growth compared to the prior year. Kenya Macadamia According to NutPak, crop 2020 closed at 37,000 MT NIS basis as some crop was not harvested due to COVID-19 market uncertainties. For the year 2021, production is foreseen to reach 38,500 MT once the short crop expected in the last quarter comes in.   With increased market confidence for the upcoming season, a resurgence of the industry is expected and crop 2022 is anticipated to hit a high of over 40,000 MT as new plantings are coming to fruition. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-macadamiasGlobal Statistical Review, Pistachios USA Pistachios Despite being an “off-year”, 2021/2022 crop is expected to be large at roughly 453,000 metric tons (1 B lbs.), with the main driver being the addition of new bearing acres. Sufficient chill hours and good bloom conditions also contributed to the favorable crop development. High heat was expected to negatively impact the quality of the crop, and although nut size is trending 10% smaller than normal, early harvest indicates low insect damage, low stain levels, and lower than average amount of closed shell.   Global demand is anticipated to remain strong, with the US shipments from the past crop year reaching 325,000 MT (716 M lbs.), a 22% increase from the year before which shipped 266,000 MT (588 M lbs.). Several factors affecting sales last year are continuing to be challenges this year: additional tariffs between China and US with increased quality requirements, shipment and logistic issues creating delays and near-term shortages, and the continued impact of COVID-19, particularly in the export market. Iran Pistachios As reported by the Iran Pistachio Association (IPA), the revised 2020 crop estimate stands at 240,000 metric tons (dry in-shell basis) and IPA’s 2021 early spring crop forecast adds up to 145,000 MT. Based on IPA estimates, the new crop consists of about 40% Ahmad Aghaei, 30% Fandoghi, 15% Jumbo and 15% Akbari. The quality of crop 2021 seems to be closer to average, with smaller nut size and higher percentage of close-shell and floaters in comparison to last year.   Export shipments from the 2020 crop have been exceptional, second only to 2007 record crop year. An increase in worldwide pistachio consumption and competitive prices have contributed to the exceptional shipment figures for Iranian pistachios. Turkey Pistachios Season 2021/2022 harvest started as planned and the total crop is expected to be around 90,000 MT in-shell basis. Most of the harvesting was carried out at perfect green aiming to give extra time for trees to rest for the next season. Mawardi and red type quality are good in terms of yield but sizes are smaller than last crop. The producing region did not receive the expected rainfall over the summer, so this might cause another shortage on the next crop.   Although the worldwide container crises did not particularly affect Turkey, alternative transport means, such as air-land transport, have already been reflected in increasing quotes. The fact that the main currencies euro/dollar against the Turkish lira are relatively lower than over the past 6 months, is directly affecting prices. Spain Pistachios The 2021 forecast was reduced 11% from the prior estimate due to some crop losses in central and western Spain as a result of high rainfall, both in the form of rain and hail. On average, sizes are quite big and open, but the percentage of voids is high, especially in the Kerman variety. The latter probably due to pollination failures, particularly in young plantations that are just starting to produce.   https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-pistachiosGlobal Statistical Review, Almonds USA Almonds The August Almond Board of California Position Report –the first report of the 2021/22 crop year (August 2021-July 2022), published on September 10, 2021– shows receipts of 311.5 million lbs. (approx. 141,000 metric tons) of kernel weight through August 31, 2021. It is too early to determine if the estimated 2.8 billion lbs. crop (approx. 1.270 M MT) forecasted by the USDA National Ag Statistics Service will be realized. Often the August receipts number can be more indicative of harvest timing than overall crop size. More will be known about the actual receipts over the remaining months of harvest, hulling and shelling.   Total shipments in 2020/21 set a new record at 2.898 billion lbs. (approx. 1.315 M MT) up an impressive 22.2% from the previous record shipment year of 2019/20. With carryout from 2020/21 at 608 M lbs. (approx. 276,000 metric tons), total supply for 2021/22 is estimated to be 3.352 B lbs. (approx. 1.520 M MT), which is lower than the 3.506 B lbs. (approx. 1.590 M MT) in 2020/21. Domestic shipments in August were relatively flat, up 1% vs. August 2020. Export shipments of nearly 141 M lbs. (approx. 64,000 metric tons) in August 2021 set a new record and were up 10.8% over the prior year. Export markets in the Asia-Pacific and Western Europe regions started the new marketing year strong with gains of 11% and 14%, respectively. Australia Almonds The pollination season for the Australian almond crop has progressed well with strong hives and excellent bee flight hours through the orchards where the overlap of varietal flowering in all production regions has been excellent. There was little disease pressure last season and there has been a lot of attention to the clean-up of overwintering nuts left from harvest to keep insect pest issues controlled. Following good spring and winter rainfall, the water storages are at the best levels for some years with large environmental flows being released to flush the river system, floodplain waterways and forests.   The level of tree planting has reduced over the past two years with a smaller level of new development activity again in winter 2021. Shipments started the marketing year strongly and well ahead of the figures for 2020. Spain Almonds At the time of writing this report, harvest was progressing well, although first reports were reflecting 2-3% lower yields, which might end up impacting the final crop size. With a total planted area of over 700,000 hectares, from which 620,000 are already bearing, new plantations keep pushing up the volumes in Spain.   As reported by AEOFRUSE (sourced by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain), shipments from August 2020 to July 2021, including conventional and organic, natural and processed almonds added up to 113,500 MT. July shipments of 8,900 MT, represented a 6,3% increase against the same period last year. Germany was the leading importer, with 26,665 MT, followed by France with 24,757 MT and Italy with 22,189 MT. July imports into Spain amounted to 6,400 MT, adding up to 106,854 MT YTD, the main origins being California (83%), Portugal (6%) and Australia (3%).   Field prices started around 30% higher than last year (although still within the 2015-2019 average) following the international market and the need of better growers’ returns after the low prices from the 2020/21 crop. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/global-statistical-review-almondsContinued Shipping Congestion, but a Stabilization in PricesThe last couple of weeks have seen a record number of containers stuck waiting outside the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, together, serving as the United States’ entry point for many Chinese products. According to Seatrade Maritime News, the Marine Exchange of Southern California said that ending last week there were a total of 62 vessels waiting outside the Port of Los Angeles. Although still an extremely elevated number, it is down from the 70 ships at the start of the week. Despite this small decrease, it is expected that the number of containers in waiting will increase throughout this week. Moreover, Maersk, one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, reported that congestion was not only increasing at the Californian ports, but also other ports in the US, and in the Asia Pacific.   To combat the growing congestion and wait times, it is reported that the Ports of LA and Long Beach have announced new measures to increase productivity and capacity. Following discussions with the US Department of Transportation, Gene Seroka, Executive Director of the Port of Los Angeles revealed it will expand weekend operating gate hours, and Long Beach Executive Director, Mario Cordero announced that the port will take its first steps towards a 24/7 supply chain, expanding nighttime operations.   According to the latest report from Drewry, a maritime consultancy from the UK, the price of containers has stabilized after 22 consecutive weeks of inflation. Their World Container Index, which tracks the price of containers at a global level currently sits at $10,377.19 per 40-foot container. Despite remaining stable from the previous week, following announcements from CMA-CGM and Hapag-Lloyd to halt raises of spot rates, the current price is still 299% higher than it was this same week, one year ago. Drewry expects the rates to remain stable as well for the coming week. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/continued-shipping-congestion-but-a-stabilization-in-pricesA Recap of An Exclusive Look to the Future of Nuts & Dried Fruits by the INC Executive CommitteeCOVID-19 & Demand for Nuts and Dried Fruits In total, over 330 participants from 46 countries attended the webinar, making it a very international audience. Led by INC Chairman Michael Waring, the discussions began by taking a closer look into the demand for nuts and dried fruits, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected consumption across the world. To address this, Mark Mariani, the Executive Chairman for Mariani Packing Company in the US first gave a look at how demand has and is recovering in North America. And despite the many difficulties caused by the pandemic, Mr. Mariani noted that new consumers had been introduced to products like dried fruit and that there has been strong growth for these items, both as snacking and ingredients. From there, we heard from Pratap Nair, Managing Partner at Vijayalaxmi Cashew Company in India. Mr. Nair touched on the struggles that India has had as a result of COVID-19, like one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. However, due to aggressive vaccination campaigns and government stimulus, he shared that India was on the right track, and we can expect stronger demand for nuts and dried fruits during the upcoming festive season in India. To wrap up the topic of demand and consumption, Antonio Pont, INC Honorary President and Honorary President of Borges in Spain, provided a thoughtful look into the struggles that consumers have faced as a result of the pandemic. He talked about the psychological effect and the increased focus on healthy foods, which is perfect for nuts and dried fruits as they have been proven to be a perfect healthy addition to any diet. Mr. Pont said he believed all the indicators were showing that consumption is poised to increase and these new trends are here to stay. Sustainability in Nuts and Dried Fruits The next topic of discussion was one that has taken the whole world by storm and that is sustainability. Bill Carriere, the President/CEO of Carriere Family Farms in the US kicked off the topic by covering the historical drought that California has been experiencing. With water reservoirs at significantly lower levels than past years, he acknowledged that this has made things difficult for Californian growers, but the agricultural sector is taking proactive efforts to be more sustainable with water usage. Pino Calcagni, 2nd INC Vice Chairman and Honorary President of Besana Group in Italy, then shared with the audience the importance of the nut and dried fruit industry doing its part to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and the INC’s steps of starting a Sustainability Working Group aimed to bring more focus to sustainable activities within the sector. He encouraged each INC member to join this program and support it as the topic of sustainability can no longer be pushed aside. The final speaker on sustainability was Ashok Krishen, 1st INC Vice Chairman and Managing Director Edible Nuts at Olam International Limited in Singapore. He dived into some concrete examples of what companies in the sector can do to put a focus on sustainable activities. He mentioned how nut and dried fruit companies could impact livelihoods, human rights and inclusion, health and nutrition, the living world, and greenhouse gas emissions. All of these play an important role in creating a sustainable industry. Supply and Shipping for the Nut and Dried Fruit Sector The final topic that was covered was the Californian supply, global demand, and shipping. Jack Mariani, President of Mariani Nut Company in the US gave insights into each of California’s main products and noted that despite difficult conditions, there has been record supply and shipping out of California. Giles Hacking, Managing Director of CG Hacking and Sons Limited in the UK then discussed the all too familiar issue of logistics and shipping. Mr. Hacking touched on the congestion that some of the world’s largest ports have been experiencing, the labor shortage, and of course the massive increases in freight rates. He also mentioned the effect that Brexit has had on shipping in the industry. Despite the extremely high cost of freight, there has been some relief in that aspect as the price has stabilized a bit over the past week. To conclude the subject, the rest of the panel chimed in on the shipping crisis and held discussions about the uncertainty of the entire situation. Mr. Waring, the INC Chairman then closed the webinar giving a brief overview of the topics discussed, mentioning that as an industry, we must work together to ensure that nuts and dried fruits can reach consumers and that consumers understand the importance of their health benefits. He also brought up the importance of investing in sustainability within the sector, and that although the shipping situation is uncertain, with time, things will return to a sense of normalcy. The INC invites you to watch the full webinar by visiting the Member Area of the INC Website. Thank you to our sponsors for supporting this wonderful event and industry! https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/a-recap-of-an-exclusive-look-to-the-future-of-nuts-dried-fruits-by-the-inc-executive-committeeRegister for Consumption Trends in the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry WebinarThe INC has announced the second webinar in a series of three sessions. The second webinar, Consumption Trends in the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry will take place on October 28 at 6:00 am PDT, 3:00 pm CEST, 6:30 pm IST, 9:00 pm CST, and Friday, 29 October 12 am AEDT. Registration is now open, so go ahead and save your spot! This webinar will discuss the current state of the consumer market by identifying the latest growing consumer trends, provide insight on potential marketing opportunities to increase consumption of nuts and dried fruits worldwide, and highlight what are some current market strategies and promotional activities in the industry. Led by a representative from a leading market research company, a global marketing agency, and an industry association, it promises to give a valuable look into the world of marketing and consumption trends within the nut and dried fruit industry. The session is planned to last 60 minutes.  [REGISTER NOW] https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/register-for-consumption-trends-in-the-nut-and-dried-fruit-industry-webinarBrief COVID-19 Update: September 22, 2021To date, more than 6 billion doses have been administered worldwide, with China, India, the EU and the US leading the number of doses administered. However, the global vaccine gap becomes sharper –there are countries with more than 70% population fully vaccinated whereas others are still far from 10%. WHO continues to call for vaccine equity and urges leaders attending the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) to guarantee equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and other life-saving tools; to ensure the world is better prepared to respond to future pandemics; and to renew efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). WHO’s targets are to vaccinate at least 40% of the population of every country by the end of this year, and 70% by the middle of next year.   Some countries are taking actions to boost the COVID-19 vaccination numbers. For example, in Germany, stores, businesses and attractions are offering special prices and other benefits to entice the unvaccinated to finally get their shot. Bulgaria plans to organize a lottery with prizes for those who have been vaccinated. The Italian government has made it obligatory for all workers either to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection with the aim of persuading people to get immunized. The rule will come into force on October 15. The Western Australia government will introduce two new measures to make it easier for students and staff in WA schools to get a COVID-19 jab: designated after-school time slots at community vaccination centers and a staged roll-out of vaccinations in schools.   Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine is safe and protective for children (5 to 11 years old) and they are planning to ask for regulatory authorization as soon as possible to use the shot in kids within that age range in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.   COVID-19 did not slow the relentless advance of climate change, a new United Nations report concluded. “Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere continue at record levels, committing the planet to dangerous future” warned the United in Science 2021 report. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-september-22-2021Shipping Rates Continue to Rise, Pushed by Container and Labor ShortagesThe global shipping crisis continues to march on, defined by relentless hikes in pricing, congested ports, and container and labor shortages. According to an article from Independent Commodity Intelligence Services (ICIS), shipping rates are estimated to continue to experience inflation, with the hope that they will stabilize in mid-2022. The ICIS article also reports that some of the largest shipping companies around the world, like CMA CGM and Hapag-Lloyd have announced rate freezes in an effort to salvage and ease tension among long-term customer relationships. However, this is not viewed as a viable long-term solution. With regards to the containers available, Financial Times reported that Chinese manufacturers are producing a record-breaking number of freight containers, following increased orders from shippers around the world. The massive number of orders has pushed Chinese manufacturers to the limit of production, however, John Fossey, an analyst consultant for Drewry has said that the number of containers in circulation is “adequate”. He goes on to state, “It’s more of a logistics issue than a supply issue,” referring to the supply chain congestion. In an interview with Bloomberg, Jeremy Nixon, CEO of Ocean Network Express (ONE), the sixth-largest container shipping company in the world, discussed the current challenges facing the industry. He mentions that while the congestion is building at ports around the world, “the supply on the ocean side is ok, the issue continues to be on the land side which is of course really COVID-19 related”. The pandemic has stressed and restricted the global economy to the point where labor shortages have become commonplace. Nixon says, “we’re seeing ongoing shortages of workers in the warehousing operations and also a shortage of truckers, and then that backs up into the port areas.” These decreased levels of productivity have led ships to spend around 10-20% longer in the ports according to Nixon. This past weekend, there were a record 73 ships waiting outside of the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which serve as the main ocean entry to the US, especially for Chinese goods. This record of stranded ships is almost double the number stuck this time last month. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-rates-continue-to-rise-pushed-by-container-and-labor-shortagesCOVID-19 Update: September 15, 2021To date (September 15), more than 5.79 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, at a ratio of about 34.9 million jabs given each day. World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Dr. Tedros Adhanom stated that although over 5.7 billion doses have been distributed globally, only 2% were given to Africa. The United Nations agency is urging every country to vaccinate at least 40% of its population by the end of this year.   In the West, roughly nine months after vaccination rollouts began, there has been a slowdown in some national and state-wide immunization drives. Therefore, in some countries, large sections of the population are still unvaccinated and vaccination rates have decreased sharply.   WHO “No one is safe until everyone is safe” emphasizes the WHO. COVAX, the multilateral initiative aimed at guaranteeing global access to COVID-19 vaccines, expects to have access to 1.4 billion doses of vaccine in 2021. COVAX milestone of two billion doses is now expected to be reached in the first quarter of 2022.   WHO experts warn that the Delta variant remains the top concern globally, appearing to “outcompete” others because of the increased transmissibility. Currently Delta “tends to outcompete other variants”, Dr. Michael Ryan, Head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme explained. The WHO is also closely monitoring the Mu variant, firstly identified in Colombia in January 2021, since it is now among the five “variants of interest” the agency is tracking at the global level. IMF The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved US$567.25 million in emergency support to Tanzania to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This emergency disbursement is expected to help finance the interventions needed to mitigate the severe socio-economic impacts of the pandemic and help catalyze support from development partners. Australia From September 10, some restrictions changed for Metropolitan Melbourne and Greater Shepparton to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people leaving their homes and moving around Victoria. For regional Victoria (except Greater Shepparton) restrictions are easing, i.e. people can leave home but must not travel to metropolitan Melbourne or Greater Shepparton, other than for permitted reasons.   From September 11, parts of regional New South Wales (NSW) deemed low risk and with zero COVID cases for at least 14 days emerged from lockdown, but continue to operate under restrictions to ensure the safety of regional communities.   According to ABC NEWS, the NSW government is planning to reopen most sectors of the economy to vaccinated people, probably as early as mid-October. As reported by Reuters, Sydney’s bars, eateries and gyms across the city would be able to reopen at reduced capacity within days once NSW reached a 70% double-vaccination target, expected around mid-October.   The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is currently in lockdown and Canberrans are being asked to stay at home. The lockdown started on August 12, 2021, and will continue until September 17, 2021. China The South China Morning Post reported that China’s travel market is showing signs of recovery as Mid-Autumn Festival bookings surge. As restrictions on interprovincial movement begin to be lifted following containment of recent coronavirus outbreaks, the domestic travel market is expected to grow over the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.   COVID-19 cases doubled in China's southeastern province of Fujian, according to Reuters. In just four days, a total of 102 community infections have been reported in three Fujian cities. The infections come ahead of the week-long National Day holiday starting on October 1, a major tourist season. European Union The European Union is one of the regions at the forefront of the vaccination campaign with more than 70% of the EU’s adult population fully vaccinated. However, vaccination rates in Eastern and Central Europe are below the bloc’s average, for example, the figure fully vaccination population drops to roughly 20% in Bulgaria and around 32% in Romania.   It is not clear if a third dose of mRNA vaccine will improve immunity for healthy adults. At the beginning of September, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) said that there is no urgent need to administer booster shots to fully vaccinated individuals and additional doses should be considered for people with severely weakened immune systems. To shed light on this, EMA is assessing data on additional doses. The results are expected to be ready within the next few weeks, reported Deutsche Welle.   As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, together with the imbalance in the delivery of vaccines, the EU will make available additional humanitarian funding of €41 million to assist low and middle-income countries. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the EU has contributed close to €3 billion for the COVAX Facility and is providing €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in countries in Africa.   On September 9, the European Council updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. In particular, Uruguay was added to the list and Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brunei Darussalam, Japan and Serbia were removed from the list in Annex I. To recall, non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I is subject to temporary travel restriction. Germany German Health Minister Jens Spahn is urging people to receive their COVID jabs to prevent health care services from being overwhelmed this fall and winter. Currently, just over 60% of people living in Germany have been fully vaccinated, and 66% partially. "If we do not drastically increase the current vaccination rates, the current fourth wave could take a highly severe course in fall", warned the head of Germany's RKI public health agency, Lothar Wieler. In addition, the German president of the World Medical Association has spoken out in favor of tough restrictions on the unvaccinated citizens: “To break the fourth wave before it becomes dramatic, we should now introduce a ‘2G’ rule nationwide wherever possible”. The so-called 2G rule specifies that only vaccinated and recently recovered people are able to access certain events, businesses and services. However, when the 2G rule cannot exclude unvaccinated, then the ‘3G’ rule should apply –unvaccinated people would then have to show an up-to-date PCR test. India India is expecting a third wave, but according to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the WHO, the country is now better prepared to stop new COVID-19 waves. Dr. Swaminathan also said India could potentially be able to vaccinate most of its adult population by December if the current pace and supply of vaccines continue. Currently, 13.2% of India’s population is fully vaccinated. Italy On September 9, Italy approved a decree making mandatory the COVID-19 ‘green pass’ for those who enter school or university grounds, with the exception of underage students. All employees at nursing and retirement homes will be required to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as is already the case for doctors and nurses. As reported by Euractiv last week, Health Minister Roberto Speranza affirmed that mandatory vaccination is an option on the table. Japan On September 9, Japan extended emergency COVID-19 restrictions in Tokyo and other regions until September 30 to curb infections and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. The government plans to relax COVID-19 curbs on travel, large-scale events and the serving of alcohol around November, provided that most of the population is vaccinated by then. The eased restrictions are expected to focus on people who have been vaccinated and have tested negative PCR tests. Spain On September 6, Spain updated the list of EU and Schengen Area countries travel from where is considered a risk for the public health in Spain. France and Italy, as well as Romania’s regions of Nord-Vest and Vest, have been added. It means that travelers reaching Spain from these areas have to present a document that proves they have been vaccinated with a vaccine accepted by the Spanish authorities, proof of previous infection with COVID-19, or a negative COVID-19 test result.   Based on the recommendations made by a group of experts advising the government as well as the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), around 100,000 people with weakened immune systems are about to be administered a third dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This third injection is not considered a booster, but rather an additional shot to complete the vaccination process, reports Spanish newspaper El País. Turkey Turkey has administered over 103 million doses since the beginning of the inoculation program against COVID-19 in mid-January. Currently, about 49.2% of the population is fully vaccinated. UK The use of Pfizer and AstraZeneca as COVID booster vaccines has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). However, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI), the UK vaccine advisory body, will advise on whether booster jabs will be given and if so, which vaccines should be used.   On September 14, the UK Department of Health and Social Care announced that millions of vulnerable people are to be offered a COVID-19 booster vaccine from next week after accepting the final recommendation from the JCVI. USA COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have generally increased throughout most of the US since the beginning of summer, fueled by the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. In many communities, low vaccination coverage is driving these increases.   A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that adults who had COVID-19 may experience ongoing health problems that can last four or more weeks after COVID-19 infection. Symptoms include shortness of breath, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, headache, fast-beating or pounding heart, cough, joint or muscle pain, dizziness/lightheadedness, or mood changes, among others.   Joe Biden’s plan, announced on September 9, states that all employers with more than 100 workers must require them COVID vaccine or show a negative test at least once a week. A separate provision requires vaccines for workers in Head Start programs and at schools operated by the federal government. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-september-15-2021INC Announces New Webinar SeriesThe INC has officially announced a new Webinar Series, beginning with a webinar led by the INC Executive Committee, as they give an exclusive look into the future of the nut and dried fruit industry. The other two webinars in the series will look at consumption trends, and shipping challenges Registration for the first webinar, An Exclusive Look to the Future of Nuts & Dried Fruits by the INC Executive Committee is now open for all INC Members. The webinar will take place on September 27 at 3 pm CEST. Chaired by INC Chairman Mr. Michael Waring, the webinar will also include 1st Vice Chairman Ashok Krishen, 2nd Vice Chairman Pino Calcagni, and Board Members, Bill Carriere, Giles Hacking, Jack Mariani, Mark Mariani, Pratap Nair, and Antonio Pont. Together, they will provide a deeper look into some of the most pressing topics facing the industry, such as COVID-19, demand, climate change, sustainability, supply, and shipping challenges. With the situation constantly changing, staying up-to-date on all of the most trending topics is imperative. So don’t miss this exclusive chance to hear from the INC Executive Committee on what the coming months and years might look like for the nut and dried fruit industry. Save your spot and register now! The second webinar in the series, scheduled for October 28, Consumption Trends in the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry will highlight the current state of the consumer market and provide potential marketing opportunities to increase consumption. The last session of the series, Shipping Challenges in a COVID-19 World, an Update, taking place on November 30, will bring together experts in the shipping industry from around the world to discuss the impact that COVID continues to have on shipping. INC Webinar Sponsorship Opportunities For these webinars, sponsorships are still available and you save your spot to become a sponsor for all three, right now! With a global membership in the nut and dried fruit industry, sponsoring INC events will give your brand valuable exposure to potential new customers! If you are interested in sponsoring this webinar, please contact marta.balleste@nutfruit.org. There are three levels of sponsorship opportunities that will give your company great visibility to the entire nut and dried fruit industry. Find out what these opportunities are and how you can expand your presence:   Main sponsor – €5000 Exclusive Promotional Video Opportunity. Promote your brand in front of this niche audience at the beginning of the webinar with an introduction to your company from the CEO (up to 2 minutes). OR, got a new product or service to promote? Place a 30-second company advert to be broadcasted at the beginning and the end of the webinar. NEW! VIP Participation during the webinar’s live Q&A! Get your face known within the industry and ask your question to our panel of experts live on camera. NEW! 15 minutes of insightful networking. After the webinar take advantage of networking with the speakers on topics specifically relevant to you. 10 Complimentary webinar registrations for Sponsor’s Own Clients or Prospects that are not INC Members. Company website to be shown automatically to participants when the webinar ends. Company logo included in the recorded version of the on-demand webinar. Company logo highlighted in all webinar pre-event emails, website, and registration page. Company logo on the Sponsors Banner shown before and at the end of the webinar. Banner Advertisement in the INC Industry newsletter and on the INC website during the webinar month. Only one main sponsor. As the only main sponsor, your company will benefit from the highest visibility throughout the whole event.   Gold sponsor – €2000: NEW! 15 minutes of insightful networking. After the webinar take advantage of networking with the speakers on topics specifically relevant to you. Company logo in all webinar pre-event emails and website. 10 Complimentary Webinar Registrations for Sponsor’s Own Clients or Prospects that are not INC Members. Company logo on the Sponsors Banner shown before and at the end of the webinar. Large Banner Advertisement (600x75 pix) in the INC Industry newsletter Banner Advertisement on the INC website during the webinar month   Silver sponsor – €1000: Company logo in all webinar pre-event emails and website. 5 Complimentary Webinar Registrations for Sponsor’s Own Clients or Prospects that are not INC Members. Company logo on the Sponsors Banner shown before and at the end of the webinar. Top Banner Advertisement (165x75 pix) at the top of the INC Industry newsletter   If you have any questions regarding these sponsorship opportunities, don’t hesitate to reach out.   Thank you for continuously supporting our wonderful industry! Thanks to all our sponsors. The INC would like to say thank you to all of our sponsors for making this event possible and continuously supporting our industry!                   https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-announce-new-webinar-with-its-executive-committeeShipping Logjams and Massive Demand for Global TradeExecutives from some of the largest US ports expect there to be shipping problems and logjams that extend well in the coming year, 2022, according to an article from The Wall Street Journal. The US ports are already suffering from congestion as on September 13, a record number, 56 vessels were stuck waiting to enter the Port of Los Angeles, but executives don’t expect the issue to be resolved soon, especially with the impending holiday season which usually is the peak of shipping in the US. These intensive logjams have caused hundreds of thousands of containers to be stranded outside of the ports, and this exacerbates the already massive need to replenish inventories. Throughout the pandemic, inventories have been stretched to a minimum and now, demand for global trade is far outpacing the ability to refill stock. In an interview with CNN, Maersk CEO Søren Skou explains that essentially there are two main drivers of this increasing demand for global trade, one being the strong demand as a result of stimulus money that has been poured into consumers, especially in the US, and two, the inventory rebuilding cycle that is taking place. Skou goes on to say that, “in the second quarter of 2020, a lot of companies stopped buying in Asia, or really scaled down their purchases, because nobody knew where the world was going. We thought that we would have a major global crisis, but then stimulus came and demand came roaring back.” This has without a doubt played a role in the imbalance between supply and demand around the world. With there being massive gaps between supply and demand, another point of concern with the shipping industry is the rising inflation. An article from CNN reports that according to Drewry, a maritime research consultancy company, a year ago, companies could expect to pay roughly $1,920 to rent a 40-foot steel container for a route between China and Europe, however, now this price has shot up to over $14,000, a staggering 600% increase. Maersk CEO, Søren Skou points out that hopefully as we “work through this period of extraordinary demand”, we can start to see a normalization in inflation. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/shipping-logjams-and-massive-demand-for-global-trade2020 EU Global Agri-food Trade ReportIn a recent report published by the European Commission, agri-food trade was analyzed for 2020, a year that brought many challenges, especially in the form of COVID-19. Despite the challenges, the report highlights the success that European agri-food trade experienced in 2020, where the total value of agri-food trade reached €306 billion. Of that total, €184 billion were exports and €122 billion were imports. Despite a general downward trend for international trade in Europe in 2020, mostly caused by the pandemic, the EU international trade in agri-food reported slight growth compared to 2019. The value of EU agri-food exports saw a 1.4% increase and the value for imports rose 0.5%. Regarding the nut and dried fruit industry, the category of Tropical fruit, fresh or dried, nuts and spices, continued to have the largest share of EU agri-food imports as it was in 2019, representing 11% of all agri-food imports into the EU. The category Fruit, fresh or dried, excluding citrus & tropical fruits, represented 5% of all agri-food imports, making it tied for the second-largest group of imports. When discussing trade with some of the EU’s most prominent trade partners, the report shows that Tropical fruit fresh or dried, nuts and spices dominate the EU’s agri-food imports from the US with a 26% share. The value of tropical fruits and nuts imports also increased by €56 million, in part to increased volumes. Tropical fruits, fresh or dried, nuts, and spices also remain tied for the largest product category of EU imports from China, at a 9% share. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/2020-eu-global-agri-food-trade-reportBrief COVID-19 Update: September 8, 2021As of September 7, there have been 221.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 4.6 million deaths, reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). The global incidence of cases and the number of deaths have remained stable over the month with over 4.4 million new cases reported last week. Regarding new weekly cases, all regions reported either a decline or a similar trend, except for the Americas, which reported a 19% increase. The incidence of new deaths increased in America and Europe by 17% and 20%, respectively.   Cases in the US continue to increase since July and the current 7-day moving average of daily new cases (153,246) increased 4.9% compared with the previous 7-day moving average.   To date, more than 5.56 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, at a ratio of about 37.3 million jabs given each day. In Singapore, Portugal, Spain, Chile, Belgium and the UAE, more than 70% of the population is fully vaccinated. But countries such as South Africa, Australia, Brazil or Argentina are still far from having half of the population fully vaccinated.   As an equitable distribution of vaccines is critical to ending the pandemic, on September 5, G20 health ministers agreed to increase the distribution of vaccines to poorer countries. In addition, Germany has promised to donate 100 million vaccine doses to global inoculation campaigns before the end of the year. The UK and Australia will share COVID-19 vaccine doses to benefit each other’s life-saving vaccine roll-out programs. The UK will send 4 million Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines to Australia to rapidly enhance their vaccination program, with the first batch of 292,000 doses due to be shipped shortly. Australia will return the same overall volume of doses before the end of the year.   With back to school around the corner in many countries, according to a recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the virus can spread rapidly in schools when unvaccinated teachers and staff have close, indoor contact with unvaccinated children. A second CDC study indicates that, following the rise of the Delta variant in the US, rates of hospitalization in children and adolescents have increased.   A study from the UK found that a high-quality diet pattern that includes plant-based foods, like nuts and dried fruits, is linked with lower risk and severity of COVID-19. While this study is the largest so far in this area, other studies have also highlighted the importance of nutrition and diet quality against COVID-19. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-september-8-2021Labeling Update: September 8, 2021Netherlands: Nutri-Score Logo The Minister for Medical Care of the Netherlands is designating Nutri-Score as a food choice logo and its conditions of use (Regulation on the designation of food choice logo).   The Netherlands intends to adopt the logo “Nutri-Score” developed by Santé Publice France and registered with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). Nutri-Score is a voluntary food choice logo for food, which is intended to help consumers make healthier choices when purchasing within a product group. When using Nutri-Score, food businesses should place the logo on the front of the food.   See European Commission notification here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-september-8-2021Food Safety Update: September 8, 2021Chile: Pecans from Argentina The Agriculture and Livestock Service of Chile notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the Project establishing the mandatory phytosanitary requirements governing the imports of Chile of in-shell and shelled pecans (Carya illinoinensis) coming from Argentina.   Among others, the import phytosanitary requirements establish that the official phytosanitary certificate should include information about the treatment against Amyelois transitella (Lep.: Pyralidae). The product must be free of leaves, soil and plant remains. Shipments must be sent in suitable packaging and labeled in accordance with current regulations.   The deadline for comments is October 10, 2021.   Please see the WTO notification here. EU: 2020 RASFF Annual Report The European Commission has recently published the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) 2020 Annual Report.   There was a sharp decline in border rejection notifications (-30%) probably reflecting the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on global trade more than on the controls carried out themselves.   The most notified hazard in the nuts category and countries of origin were: Ethylene oxide in nuts, nut products and seeds from India: 296 notifications*. Aflatoxins in nuts, nut products and seeds from USA: 49 notifications. Aflatoxins in nuts, nut products and seeds from Turkey: 39 notifications. Aflatoxins in nuts, nut products and seeds from Iran: 29 notifications. Aflatoxins in nuts, nut products and seeds from Argentina: 29 notifications. * Ethylene oxide was mainly found in sesame seeds from India.   2020 EU RASFF Report India: Walnut Kernels Standard The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) published the Food Safety and Standards (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Third Amendment Regulations (2021).   The Third Amendment Regulations (2021) relates to the final standards for walnut kernels, among other products. The walnuts kernels “shall be of uniform in colour (With permissible variation 15%) with characteristic taste and flavour. It shall be free from added colour. It may be either in the form of halves or pieces”. The following requirements are established:   Parameter Limit Moisture content, percent by mass (Maximum) 5.0 Acid-insoluble ash, percent by mass (Maximum) 0.1 Extraneous Vegetable matter, percent by mass (Maximum) 1.0 Foreign Matter, percent by mass (Maximum) 0.1 Damaged units, percent by mass (Maximum) 4.0 Acidity of extracted fat expressed as Oleic Acid percent by mass (Maximum) 1.25   The implementation date for this regulation is February 1, 2022.   Gazette notification no. File No.1-116/Scientific .Committee/Notif.28.4/2010-FSSAI dated 26.07.2021 w.r.t. Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Third Amendment Regulations, 2021. Tanzania: Aflatoxins in Peanuts The Tanzania Bureau of Standards notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the AFDC 19(290) CD 3 Code of practice for the prevention and reduction of aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts.   This Code of practice represents a standard of good practice for the prevention and reduction of aflatoxin contamination in groundnuts intended for human and animal consumption along the value chain. It recommends practices based on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and are generally consistent with Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.   The final date for comments is October 24, 2021. It is proposed to be adopted in November 2021.   Please see the WTO notification here. Tanzania: Peanut Flour Standard The Tanzania Bureau of Standards notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the AFDC 19(843) CD3 Groundnut Flour – Specification.   The Standard specifies the requirements, sampling and test methods for groundnut flour from the varieties of Arachis hypogaea L. intended for human consumption.   The final date for comments is October 24, 2021. It is proposed to be adopted in November 2021.   Please see the WTO notification here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-september-8-2021Pesticides Update: September 8, 2021Australia: MRLS Update Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) issued the Amendment No. 202 (August 26, 2021) that modifies the Schedule 18 –Processing aids– and the Schedule 20 –Maximum residue limits– in the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code.   The Amendment can be found here.  China: MRLs Update On August 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service issued a GAIN Report containing an unofficial translation of China’s maximum residue limits (MRLs) for pesticides in foods.   The standard entitled “National Food Safety Standard - Maximum Residue Limits for Pesticides in Foods” (GB 2763- 2021) consolidates the previous version of the standard (GB2763-2019) and the updates that have been made since it was last issued in 2019. The updated standard contains an additional 81 pesticides and 2,985 new MRLs.   The implementation date of the Standard was September 3, 2021. EFSA: Fosetyl MRLs Review The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published the Reasoned Opinion on the joint review of maximum residue levels (MRLs) for fosetyl, disodium phosphonate and potassium phosphonates according to Articles 12 and 43 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005.   EFSA has reviewed the MRLs currently established at European level for the pesticide active substances potassium and disodium phosphonates. As fosetyl, potassium phosphonates and disodium phosphonates degrade to phosphonic acid, EFSA considered appropriate to jointly review the residues of these three active substances. Based on the assessment of the available data, MRL proposals were derived and a consumer risk assessment was carried out. The consumer risk assessment is considered indicative only, and some MRL proposals derived by EFSA still require further consideration by risk managers. The following MRL recommendations were derived: Code Commodity Existing EU MRL (ppm) Existing Codex MRL (ppm) Proposed MRL (ppm) Comments 120010 Almonds 500 400 1,000 Recommended 120020 Brazil nuts 500 400 400 Recommended 120030 Cashew nuts 500 400 400 Recommended 120060 Hazelnuts 500 400 1,000 Recommended 120070 Macadamia 500 400 400 Recommended 120080 Pecans 500 400 400 Recommended 120090 Pine nuts 500 400 400 Recommended 120100 Pistachios 500 400 1,000 Recommended 120110 Walnuts 500 400 1,000 Recommended 140010 Apricots 2.0* - 60 Recommended 140040 Plums 2.0* - 1 Further consideration needed 151010 Table grapes 100 60 100 Recommended 154020 Cranberries 2.0* - 0.1* Further consideration needed 161010 Dates 2.0* - 0.15 Further consideration needed 161020 Figs 2.0* - 0.3 Further consideration needed 401020 Peanuts/groundnuts 2.0* - 3 Further consideration needed Enforcement residue definition (existing): fosetyl-Al (sum of fosetyl, phosphonic acid and their salts, expressed as fosetyl). Enforcement residue definition 1 (proposed): phosphonic acid and its salts expressed as phosphonic acid. * Indicates that the MRL is set at the limit of quantification.   Reasoned opinion on the joint review of maximum residue levels (MRLs) for fosetyl, disodium phosphonate and potassium phosphonates according to Articles 12 and 43 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005. EFSA Journal 2021;19(8):6782. EFSA: Flutolanil, Import Tolerance The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a reasoned opinion on import tolerance for flutolanil in peanuts.   The data submitted in support of the request to set an import tolerance for the active substance flutolanil in peanuts were found to be sufficient to derive maximum residue level (MRL) proposal for peanuts. Based on the risk assessment results, EFSA concluded that the short-term and long-term intake of residues resulting from the use of flutolanil according to the reported agricultural practice is unlikely to present a risk to consumer health. Therefore, EFSA proposes to amend the existing MRL as follows: Code Commodity Existing MRL (ppm) Proposed MRL (ppm) Comments 401020 Peanuts/ groundnuts 0.01* 0.02 The submitted data are sufficient to derive an import tolerance (US GAP). Risk for consumers unlikely. US: United States; GAP: Good Agricultural Practice *Indicates that the MRL is set at the limit of analytical quantification (LOQ).   Setting of an import tolerance for flutolanil in peanuts. EFSA Journal 2021;19(8):6717 EU: Pesticide Withdrawals The European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1379 of 19 August 2021 concerning the non-renewal of approval of the active substance famoxadone, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011.   The Regulation establishes that the approval of the active substance famoxadone is not renewed and, therefore, existing authorized plant protection products containing this substance will be withdrawn from the market. This decision does not affect the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for residues of these pesticides. However, following the non-approval, separate actions may be taken on the MRLs.   It entered into force on August 21, 2021.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1379 of 19 August 2021 Japan: MRLs Update The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan notified the World Trade Organization of the Revision of the Standards and Specifications for Foods and Food Additives under the Food Sanitation Act (revision of agricultural chemical residue standards).   The MRL for captan in walnuts is increased from 0.01 ppm to 0.5 ppm. The WTO notification can be found here.   The MRL for pyriofenone in cranberries is increased from 0.01 ppm to 0.5 ppm. The WTO notification can be found here.   The MRL for cypermethrinin in peanuts is increased from 0.05 ppm to 0.1 ppm, in cranberries from 0.5 ppm to 0.8 ppm, in almonds and walnuts from 0.03 ppm to 0.05 ppm. However, the MRL is decreased in dates from 0.03 ppm to 0.01 ppm and in other nuts from 0.2 ppm to 0.1 ppm. The WTO notification can be found here.   The final date for comments is November 1, 2021. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-september-8-2021Sustainability Update: September 8, 2021EU: Controls on Organic Production On August 11, the European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1325 of 10 August 2021 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/977 as regards the period of application of the temporary measures in relation to controls on the production of organic.   The Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/977 allows Member States to apply temporary measures in relation to the control system on the production of organic products and certain procedures provided for in the Trade Control and Expert System (TRACES). As Member States have informed the Commission that, in view of the crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, certain serious disruptions in the functioning of their control systems in the organic sector will persist beyond July 1, 2021, the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/977 will be amended as follows: (1) in Article 1(7), the date ‘1 July 2021’ is replaced by ‘31 December 2021’; (2) in Article 3, second, third, fourth and fifth paragraphs, the date ‘1 July 2021’ is replaced by ‘31 December 2021’.   It shall apply from July 1, 2021.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1325 of 10 August 2021 EU: Organic Production, Third Countries and Control Authorities In addition, on August 16, the European Commission published the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1342 of 27 May 2021 supplementing Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council, with rules on the information to be sent by third countries and by control authorities and control bodies for the purpose of supervision of their recognition under Article 33(2) and (3) of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, for imported organic products and the measures to be taken in the exercise of that supervision.   This Regulation establishes the supervision of third countries and control authorities/bodies, and a review of their recognition.   It shall apply from January 1, 2022.   Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1342 of 27 May 2021. EU: Organic farming, Operators’ Records and Declarations The European Commission is requesting comments on the Draft Commission Implementing Regulation laying down detailed rules on certain records and declarations required from operators and groups of operators and on the technical means for the issuance of certificates in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council.   Under new EU rules on organic farming, operators must keep records to ensure that authorities can carry out checks on preventive measures, traceability and mass balance (balance between products entering and leaving the production site). The draft sets out the specifications for these records, including details on the declarations that operators must submit to official control authorities on their organic production.   The deadline for comments is October 1, 2021.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-september-8-2021Brief COVID-19 Update: September 1, 2021The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is about 216.9 million and the number of deaths is close to 4.5 million. The highest numbers of new cases were reported from the United States of America (8% decrease), India (17% increase), the Islamic Republic of Iran (similar to the previous week), the UK (8% increase), and Brazil (16% decrease).   According to Bloomberg, globally, the vaccination rate is about 41 million doses per day, having administered more than 5.26 billion doses across 183 countries. With 80% of its population fully vaccinated, Singapore has the world's highest rate of complete vaccinations. However “Less than 2% of adults are fully vaccinated in most low-income countries compared to almost 50% in high‑income countries”, it was stated during the third meeting of the Multilateral Leaders Taskforce on COVID-19 with the leaders of the African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT), Africa CDC, Gavi and UNICEF.   The necessity of a COVID-19 booster jab is under debate. Israel is allowing all citizens over the age of 12 and who received the second shot at least five months ago to receive a third dose of the vaccine. The US, with about 52% of the population fully vaccinated, approved the administration of a third dose of the Comirnaty/Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in some immunocompromised people. In the European Union there is not a consensus: Germany is going to offer boosters to immunocompromised patients, the very elderly and nursing home residents from September; Hungary already started giving a third dose to anyone who received full vaccination at least four months ago, while some other Member States are still waiting for recommendations from the EU.   In Australia, Melbourne is extending its four-week lockdown in order to stop the spread of the Delta variant. The government is yet to outline which restrictions will remain in place.   On August 30, the European Council updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. In particular, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia and the United States of America were removed from the list. Member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Japan, Jordan, New Zealand, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Ukraine, and China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity). The same day, the US raised the travel risk alert for Puerto Rico, Switzerland, Canada, and other countries. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-september-1-2021Latest Trade News and Agreements: August 2021EU-Thailand: Free Trade Agreement The European Union (EU) and Thailand agreed to resume negotiations on a free trade agreement (FTA), seven years after talks collapsed in 2014. If the two sides complete a deal, it would be the EU’s third FTA with an ASEAN member state, following agreements with Singapore and Vietnam.   More information UK-New Zealand: Free Trade Agreement The UK and New Zealand are close to reaching an agreement in principle on a free trade deal. The trade agreement could see the removal of tariffs on British and New Zealand goods.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-august-2021Promotions Update: August 2021USA: California Prunes, Increased Assessment Rate On August 12, the Agricultural Marketing Service published in the Federal Register the final rule that increases the assessment rate from $0.25 to $0.28 per ton of salable dried prunes.   This rule implements a recommendation from the Prune Marketing Committee to increase the assessment rate established for the 2020-21 and subsequent crop years. The assessment rate will remain in effect indefinitely unless modified, suspended, or terminated.   The rule is effective as of September 13, 2021.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/promotions-update-august-2021Labeling Update: August 2021USA: Food Labeling Modernization Act On August 3, the Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2021 was introduced to the House and the Senate with the aim of establishing a single, standard front-of-package nutrition labeling system.   The bill is intended to strengthen current law to target trends in marketing that confuse or mislead consumers when they are attempting to compare food products. Specifically, the legislation will require new guidelines for the use of the words “natural” and “healthy”.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-august-2021Pesticides Update: August 2021EU: MRLs Update The European Commission published the Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/1247 of 29 July 2021 amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for mandestrobin in grapes and strawberries   For grapes, the MRL for mandestrobin is increased from 0.01* ppm to 5.0 ppm. This Regulation entered into force on August 19, 2021. EU: Pesticides, Standing Committee The Report of the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed, Section ‘Phytopharmaceuticals – Pesticide Residues’ that took place on June 14-15, 2021, has been published (summary). Among others, the following draft regulations had a favorable opinion: Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Regulation (EU) …/… amending Annexes II, III and IV to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for acibenzolar-S-methyl, aqueous extract from the germinated seeds of sweet Lupinus albus, azoxystrobin, clopyralid, cyflufenamid, fludioxonil, fluopyram, fosetyl, metazachlor, oxathiapiprolin, tebufenozide and thiabendazole in or on certain products (Art. 10) (here). The MRL for acibenzolar-S-methyl in hazelnuts is set at 0.2 ppm. The MRL for tebufenozide in apricots is set at 1.5 ppm. The MRL for fludioxonil in cranberries is set at 4 ppm. The MRL for fosetyl-Al in almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts is increased at 1500 ppm. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Regulation (EU) …/… amending Annex II to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for cyprodinil in or on certain products (Art. 10) (here). The MRL for cyprodinil in cranberries is set at 8 ppm. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Regulation (EU) …/… amending Annexes II, III and V to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for amisulbrom, flubendiamide, meptyldinocap (DE-126), metaflumizone, propineb in or on certain products (Art. 12) (here). The MRL for amisulbrom in grapes is set at 0.5 ppm. The MRL for flubendiamide in apricots and plums is set at 2 ppm. The MRL for meptyldinocap in tree nuts, apricots, plums, cranberries, dates, figs and peanuts is set at 0.01* ppm and in grapes at 0.2 ppm. The MRL for metaflumizone in tree nuts, apricots, plums, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs and peanuts is set at 0.02* ppm. The MRL for propineb in tree nuts and peanuts is set at 0.2* ppm. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Regulation (EU) …/… amending Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for 6-benzyladenine and aminopyralid in or on certain products (Art. 12) (here). The MRL for 6-benzyladenine in tree nuts, apricots, plums, grapes, cranberries, dates, and figs and peanuts is set at 0.01* ppm. The MRL for aminopyralid in tree nuts and peanuts is set at 0.05* ppm, in apricots, plums, grapes, cranberries, dates and figs at 0.01* ppm. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Regulation (EU) …/… amending Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for flupyradifurone and difluoroacetic acid in or on certain products (Art. 10) (here). The MRL for difluoroacetic in tree nuts is set at 0.04 ppm and in peanuts at 0.06 ppm. The MRL for flupyradifurone in tree nuts is set at 0.02 ppm, in grapes at 3 ppm, and in peanuts at 0.04 ppm. Exchange of views and possible opinion of the Committee on a draft Commission Regulation (EU) …/… amending Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for imidacloprid in or on certain products (Art. 12) (here). The MRL for imidacloprid in tree nuts, apricots, plums, dates and figs is set at 0.01* ppm, in grapes at 0.7 ppm, in cranberries at 5 ppm, and in peanuts at 0.5 ppm. * Indicates lower limit of determination. EU: Pesticide Renewal The European Commission has notified the World Trade Organization of the Draft Commission Implementing Regulation concerning renewing the approval of the active substance cypermethrin as a candidate for substitution in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011.   The new expiration of approval is January 31, 2029. It is expected to be published during the fourth quarter of 2021 and it shall apply from February 1, 2022.   The WTO notification can be found here. EU: Pesticide Withdrawals The European Commission notified the World Trade Organization of the Draft Commission Implementing Regulation concerning the non-renewal of approval of the active substance indoxacarb, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011.   The Draft provides that the approval of the active substance indoxacarb is not renewed and, therefore, existing authorized plant protection products containing this substance will be withdrawn from the market. This decision does not affect the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for residues of these pesticides. However, following the non-approval, separate action may be taken on the MRLs.   The deadline for comments is October 1, 2021.   Currently, the MRL for indoxacarb in tree nuts, dates, figs and peanuts is 0.02* ppm; in apricots, plums and cranberries is 1 ppm; and in grapes is 2 ppm.   *Indicates lower limit of determination.   The WTO notification can be found here. Japan: MRLs Update The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan notified the World Trade Organization of the Revision of the Standards and Specifications for Foods and Food Additives under the Food Sanitation Act (revision of agricultural chemical residue standards).   The MRL for benzovindiflupyr in peanuts is increased from 0.02 ppm to 0.04 ppm.   The WTO notification can be found here. USA: MRLs Update The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established tolerances for residues of zeta-cypermethrin in or on multiple commodities.   Among others, the tolerance of zeta-cypermethrin in Nut, tree, group 14-12 and in peanut is set at 0.05 ppm, in Caneberry subgroup 13-07A at 0.8 ppm, and in Fruit, stone, group 12-12 at 2 ppm. This regulation is effective since August 4, 2021. Objections and requests must be received on or before October 4, 2021.   Federal Register Vol. 86, No. 147. Wednesday, August 4, 2021. Pages 41895-41906 https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-august-2021Food Safety Update: August 2021Codex: Total Aflatoxins in Ready to Eat Peanuts, Call for Data The latest annual session of the Codex Committee on Contaminants in Foods (CCCF) agreed to establish an electronic working group (EWG) led by India to establish maximum levels (MLS) for total aflatoxins in ready to eat peanuts for consideration in the next CCCF meeting in 2022.   On July 20, 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a call for data on total aflatoxins in ready-to-eat peanuts for the EWG. Data should cover the last 10 years.   Submissions should be sent in via the GEMS/Food database before October 15, 2021. This should allow time for data analysis and drafting of the paper by the EWG.   More information EU: New ML for Cadmium As previously announced, the European Commission has set new maximum levels of cadmium in tree nuts and peanuts.   Maximum level (mg/kg wet weight): Tree nuts, except pine nuts: 0.20 Pine nuts: 0.30 Peanuts: 0.20 This Regulation will enter into force on August 31, 2021. Foodstuffs that were lawfully placed on the market before the entry into force may remain on the market until  February 28, 2022.   Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/1323 of 10 August 2021 amending Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 as regards maximum levels of cadmium in certain foodstuffs EFSA: Food Additives Re-evaluation The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been requested by the European Commission (EC) to provide an updated scientific opinion as regards the safety of the food additives sulphur dioxide–sulphites (E 220–228).   Specifically, the EC asked EFSA to re-evaluate the database and the temporary group ADI (Acceptable Daily Intake) for the food additives sulphur dioxide (E 220), sodium sulphite (E 221), sodium bisulphite (E 222), sodium metabisulphite (E 223), potassium metabisulphite (E 224), calcium sulphite (E 226), calcium bisulphite (E 227) and potassium bisulphite (E 228), as well as to refine the exposure assessment for them, taking into account the latest data submitted by business operators.   EFSA’s scientific opinion should be delivered by February 2022.   FAO: Guidance for Preventing Transmission of COVID-19 The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) published the COVID-19: Guidance for preventing transmission of COVID-19 within Food Businesses.   Updated with new evidence, this guidance highlights additional measures that food businesses and authorities regulating the sector can take to protect workers from person-to-person spread of COVID-19. The guidelines are to help ensure that the integrity of the food chain is maintained and adequate, and safe food supplies are available for consumers.   While COVID-19 may pose an occupational safety risk for workers in any type of business or industry where individuals work in close proximity to one another, coronavirus itself is not considered a direct food safety hazard. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-august-2021Sustainability Update: July 28, 2021EU: Certificate of Organic Production On June 22, 2021, the European Commission published the Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2021/1006 of 12 April 2021 amending Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the model of the certificate attesting compliance with the rules on organic production.   This Regulation replaces the model of the certificate to be issued to any operator or group of operators that have notified its activity to the competent authorities. To ensure a harmonized implementation, the model of the certificate contains common elements, which are mandatory in all Member States, such as the name and address, the activities of operators and categories of products.   It shall apply from January 1, 2022. EU: Code of Conduct On July 5, the European Commission officially launched the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices with the aim of increasing the availability and affordability of healthy and sustainable food options that help reduce our overall environmental footprint.    This Code is one of the first deliverables of the Farm to Fork Strategy and an integral part of its action plan. It contains voluntary commitments for action together with a monitoring and evaluation framework to measure progress. EU associations and companies in the food sector are invited to join the Code. At its launching, 65 signatories (26 food manufacturers, 14 food retailers, 1 from the food service sector, 24 associations) voluntarily commit to the sustainability goals of the Code.   EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Food Business and Marketing Practices EU: Climate Neutrality On July 9, the European Commission (EC) published the Regulation (EU) 2021/1119 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 June 2021 establishing the framework for achieving climate neutrality and amending Regulations (EC) No 401/2009 and (EU) 2018/1999.   This Regulation establishes a framework for the reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and enhancement of removals by sinks regulated in Union law. It sets out a binding objective of climate neutrality in the Union by 2050 –reducing emission to net zero. As intermediate climate targets, by 2030, the domestic reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions (emissions after deduction of removals) should be by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels.   This Regulation will enter into force on 29 July.   To achieve the reduction of net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030, the EC adopted a package of proposals on July 14. These proposals are the legislative tools to deliver on the targets agreed in the European Climate Law.   They combine: application of emissions trading to new sectors and a tightening of the existing EU Emissions Trading System; increased use of renewable energy; greater energy efficiency; a faster roll-out of low emission transport modes and the infrastructure and fuels to support them; an alignment of taxation policies with the European Green Deal objectives; measures to prevent carbon leakage; and tools to preserve and grow natural carbon sinks.   With the same objective, the New EU Forest Strategy for 2030 was adopted on July 16. The strategy contributes to the package of measures proposed to achieve greenhouse gas emission reductions of at least 55% by 2030 and climate neutrality in 2050. It will also help the EU deliver on its commitment to enhance carbon removals by natural sinks as per the Climate Law.   The Forest Strategy sets concrete actions for increasing the quantity and quality of forests in the EU and strengthening their protection, restoration and resilience. It also foresees the development of payment schemes to forest owners and managers, and proposes to step up forest monitoring, reporting and data collection in the EU (more information).   To that end, the Strategy includes a roadmap outlining how the Commission will help to achieve the 3 billion additional trees pledge. To achieve this target, the additional trees need to be planted and grown in full respect of ecological principles –the right tree, right place and right purpose. EU: Due Diligence On July 13, the European Commission (EC) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) published a Guidance on due diligence to help companies to address the risk of forced labor in their operations and supply chains, in line with international standards.   This document is intended to provide European companies with practical guidance to implement effective human rights due diligence practices to address the risk of forced labor in their supply chains. In particular, the guidance explains the practical aspects of due diligence and provides an overview of international standards on responsible business conduct and due diligence that are relevant for combatting forced labor. The EC is expected to publish a legislative proposal on supply chain due diligence during the fourth quarter of 2021. This upcoming legislation should introduce a mandatory due diligence duty requiring EU companies to identify, prevent, mitigate and account for sustainability impacts in their operations and supply chains.   See the press release here. UN: Food Systems Pre-Summit In partnership with the Government of Italy, the Pre-Summit of the United Nations (UN) Food Systems Summit is taking place in Rome from July 26-28, 2021. This event will consolidate the progress that has been achieved through the Summit’s wide-ranging process of diverse public engagement, consultations and data gathering that began in 2020, setting the stage for an ambitious and productive Summit in September 2021 in New York.   The Pre-Submit will bring together youth, farmers, indigenous peoples, civil society, researchers, private sector, policy leaders and ministers of agriculture, environment, health, nutrition and finance, among other participants, with the broad aim of accelerating food systems transformation.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-july-28-2021Pesticides Update: July 2021Australia: MRLS Update Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) issued a proposal to amend Schedule 20 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (July 13, 2021).   Among other changes, the table to section S20-3 in Schedule 20 is amended as follows: The maximum residue limit (MRL) for Benzyladenine in pistachio nut at T*0.05 ppm is omitted. The MRL for Benzyladenine in all other foods (except animal food commodities) at 0.01 ppm and walnut at T*0.005 ppm is inserted. The MRL for Pyroxasulfone in all other foods (except animal food commodities) at 0.01 ppm is inserted. * indicates that the maximum residue limit is set at the limit of determination. ‘T’ indicates that the maximum residue limit is a temporary maximum residue limit.   The deadline for comments is August 10, 2021.   The proposal can be found here (pp. 23-27). EU: MRLs Update The European Commission published the Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/1098 of 2 July 2021 amending Annexes II, III and IV to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for 24-epibrassinolide, Allium cepa L. bulb extract, cyflumetofen, fludioxonil, fluroxypyr, sodium 5-nitroguaiacolate, sodium o-nitrophenolate and sodium p-nitrophenolate in or on certain products.   The MRL for cyflumetofen is set at 0.3 ppm in apricots.   This Regulation entered into force on July 26, 2021.   In addition, the EC published the Commission Regulation (EU 2021/1110) of 6 July 2021 amending Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for ametoctradin, bixafen, fenazaquin, spinetoram, tefluthrin and thiencarbazone-methyl in or on certain products.   As previously announced, the Regulation establishes the following MRLs: The MRL for fenazaquin is lowered from 0.2 to 0.01* ppm in grapes. The MRL for spinetoram is lowered from 0.05* to 0.02* ppm in tree nuts, plums, dates, figs and peanuts; and from 0.5 to 0.4 ppm in grapes. The MRL for tefluthrin is lowered from 0.05 to 0.01* ppm in tree nuts, apricots, plums, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs, and peanuts. The MRL for thiencarbazone-methyl is set at 0.01* ppm in tree nuts, apricots, plums, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs, and peanuts. This Regulation shall apply from January 27, 2022. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-july-2021Latest Trade News and Agreements: July 2021Argentina: Export Duties Reduction The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries of Argentina has eliminated the export duties of 17 agro-industrial products from regional economies (Decree 410/2021). The measure covers peanuts among other food items.   The process of reducing Export Duties of Regional Economies began in December 2019 and there are now 67 items with zero fiscal cost.   More information Australia-UK: Free Trade Agreement Australia and UK reached an agreement in principle, being the first major bilateral free trade agreement by the UK since it left the European Union. They commit to establishing mechanisms that will provide for the liberalization of tariffs on each other’s goods and that will address non-tariff barriers to trade between our two countries. China: Yantian Port Yantian Port, the third busiest port in China, reopened at the end of June after an outbreak of COVID-19 caused it to shutdown earlier in June. The port’s capacity since then had been reduced to about 30% of its normal levels. EU: Suspension of Tariffs on US Goods The European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/1123 of 8 July 2021 suspending commercial policy measures concerning certain products from the United States of America imposed by Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1646 following the adjudication of a trade dispute under the Dispute Settlement Understanding of the World Trade Organization.   The application of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1646 is hereby suspended for a period of five years from July 11, 2021. The 25% duty on peanuts inshell (1202 41) and shelled (1202 42) is removed. EU: WCO Modernization The European Commission published its proposal for a reform of the World Custom’s Organization (WCO). The reform would have the following objectives: make the Organization a more effective and efficient actor for the promotion of safe, secure and licit trade, support customs policies worldwide that address global issues, contribute to sustainable development, remain fit for purpose in the digital world. The first step will be to define the WCO’s longer-term priorities and thus go far beyond the three years cycle of the Strategic Plan. In addition, a three-step approach is proposed: Greater focus and clarity of the Organization’s strategic priorities. Good governance methods in the management of the Organization. Sustainable funding for the functioning of the Organization. Towards WCO modernization: Reforming the World Customs Organization Turkey-Ukraine: Draft Free Trade Agreement Ministers of Turkey and Ukraine are discussing an action plan to work on a draft Free Trade Agreement between the two countries.   More information Turkey-Malaysia: Free Trade Agreement Expansion Turkey and Malaysia signed a joint declaration to expand the existing Trade Agreement between the two countries on July 13. It is expected that the discussions start in September. The current FTA came into effect in 2015.   More information UK-Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein: Free Trade Agreement The United Kingdom has signed a free trade deal with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein on July 8. The agreement is expected to boost trading relationships and critical sectors like digital, financial, and professional business services. It will remove tariffs and offer new duty-free quotas on exports of UK food and farm products.   Free Trade Agreement between Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Kingdom of Norway and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland UK: Trade Preferences On July 19, the UK Department for International Trade launched a consultation on the Developing Countries Trading Scheme (UK preferences scheme) to know opinions about proposed changes. The consultation will be open for eight weeks to businesses, the public, civil society groups, consumers, associations, partner governments, and any other interested stakeholders.   In particular, they are asking views on: rules of origin requirements for least developed countries (LDCs) reducing tariffs for low income and lower-middle-income countries the approach to goods graduation, which suspends reduced rates on some goods the conditions and reporting requirements for low or lower-middle-income countries The new UK preferences scheme will take effect in 2022. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-july-2021Food Safety Update: July 2021Chile: Peanut Import Requirements The Agriculture and Livestock Service of Chile notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the Resolution No 4026/2021, amending the Resolution No 4143/2018, as regards the import requirements for peanuts (Arachis hypogaea L.).   Chile has approved the treatments in origin with methyl bromide and phosphine to control certain insects.   This resolution entered into force on July 8, 2021.   Please see the WTO notification here. ECHA: SO2 Re-classification According to the European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit, Edible Nuts, Processed Fruit & Vegetables, Processed Fishery Products (FRUCOM), the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is revising the classification of the active substance sulfur dioxide (SO2). An additional classification of germ-cell mutagenicity cat. 2, as well as skin sensitization, is proposed. If adopted, this would have a significant impact on the food production industry since it is used in several food production processes such as in dried apricots. UK: Official Controls, Temporary Measures The UK has extended the period of application of existing easements in official controls in operation in Great Britain, in order to contain risks of serious disruption to the system caused by COVID-19. The deadline for application is substituted by December 31, 2021 (instead of July 1, 2021).   2021 No. 681. Official Controls (Temporary Measures) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2021. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-july-2021Brief COVID-19 Update: July 28, 2021The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now exceeds 194.6 million and the number of deaths is over 4.1 million. The global number of new cases reported last week increased by 8% as compared to the previous week. America reported the largest increase in case incidence, followed by the Western Pacific Region. The number of deaths also increased sharply, a 21% increase when compared to the previous week. The number of new deaths increased in all regions except Europe where it remained similar to the previous week.   According to Bloomberg, more than 3.93 billion doses have been administered across 180 countries, which should be enough to fully vaccinate 25.6% of the world population, but inequitable vaccination is still present. “More than three-and-a-half billion vaccine doses have now been administered globally, and more than one in four people have received at least one vaccine dose. 75% of vaccines have been administered in just 10 countries. In low income countries, only 1% of people have received at least one dose, compared with more than half of people in high-income countries”, stated Dr. Tedros Adhanom, head of the WHO, during his speech at the 138th International Olympic Committee Session on July 21.   In some countries, lawmakers are encouraging vaccine uptake. France approved a law requiring special virus passes for all restaurants and domestic travel, and mandating vaccinations for all health workers. Italians will need to show a certificate known as the “Green Pass” if they want to partake in indoor activities (restaurants, museums, gyms and other public venues) from August 6. Greece also imposed mandatory inoculations for some workers, such as healthcare and nursing staff. The US made vaccines mandatory for certain federal workers and is looking for further steps to immunize the country. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-july-28-2021Italy: Samurai Wasp Authorized to Combat Halyomorpha halysThe new "Biological Control of the Asian stink bug through the release of its antagonist, the small Samurai wasp (Trissolcus japonicus)" Program was developed by the Council for Research in Agriculture and Analysis of the Agricultural Economy (CREA).   The use of the Samurai wasp was authorized in the regions of Marche, Campania, Liguria, Sardegna, Lazio and Umbria.   In the region of Campania, the first releases of the wasp started on July 27. According to the agricultural cooperative CERERE, technicians from the National Research Council of Italy (CNR) carried out the first launches of the wasp in the upper Caserta area (Teano). For each farm, about 230 individuals between males and females were released. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/italy-samurai-wasp-authorized-to-combat-halyomorpha-halysAlmond 2021/2022 Crop Forecast  Almonds USA According to the Almond Board of California June 2021 Position Report, published on July 9, receipts through June 30 added up to 3.1 billion lbs. (1.4 million metric tons). Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 uncertainties, tariffs and global logistics issues, demand performance has been the highlight this season. Overall shipments through June 30 amounted to 2.7 B lbs. (1.2 MM MT), up by 22% from 2019/20, with significant international shipments of 1.9 B lbs. (876,000 MT), increased by 30%. A phenomenal growth was observed in all regions. Asia-Pacific led the increment (42%), being India and China the two fastest-growing markets. Up by 31%, the Middle East/Africa continues to be very strong. Increment in Europe (20%) is led by strong snacking and domestic demand.   As per the USDA NASS 2021 California Almond Objective Measurement Report (released July 12), the objective crop forecast stands at 2.8 B lbs. (1.3 MM MT), 13% down from May’s subjective forecast and based on 1.3 MM bearing acres (538,200 hectares). Although bloom conditions were excellent, the lack of spring rainfall and record high temperatures in June resulted in lower than initially expected output. Almonds Australia The 2021 harvest was completed after a slow start in the eastern growing region because of rain. Based on hulling and shelling results, quality and kernel yield are better than last year. The first six months shipments are expected to be well above last year’s slow start to the marketing year, provided shipping containers are available.   Regarding the outlook for the 2022 crop, chill hours are adequate with bloom to commence in July. Water storages continue to fill with good recent rain events. Nursery sales indicate that new plantings have significantly slowed down, to around 1,000 hectares in 2020. This slowing is likely to continue due to lack of water security and reduced grower returns from a stronger Australian dollar and lower world prices.   Despite the large Californian crop and market disruptions related to COVID-19, exports of 76,710 MT were very similar to the previous year (up 0.2% from 2019). In 2019, 73% of the crop was shipped in the first 6 months, from March to August, while in 2020, only 50% of the crop was shipped within the first six months. This resulted in a larger than normal overlap of the southern hemisphere crop being marketed at a similar time to the northern hemisphere crop. Domestic demand was up 7%, led by the pandemic lockdown. Almonds Spain The final 2020/21 crop is estimated at over 115, 000 MT based on 587,000 ha. Carry out is larger than last year, due to the decrease in domestic demand caused by the lack of tourists entering and consuming within the country. It is estimated that an average of 80 million (pre-pandemic) visitors a year consume around 10-15,000 MT of almonds. Total shipment demand in 2020/21 amounted to 96,633 MT, up 16% from 2019/20, from which 57% were international shipments and the remaining 43% were domestic sales.   Although bearing hectares in 2021/22 (607,600 ha) increased by 4% from last year, the crop is expected to be 6% down, as a very severe frost in mid-March affected the production.   Based on a yearly cultivation of around 15 million trees and 100,000 non-bearing hectares, Spanish almond production is projected to reach 185,000 by 2025. Although around 85% of the planted area in Spain is rainfed, the 15% planted under irrigation is already producing 50% of the total crop. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/almond-2021-2022-crop-forecastPistachio 2021/2022 Crop Forecast Pistachios USA Next crop weather conditions were favorable, with enough chill hours from November to February and a good bloom period, so expectations are that the 2021/22 is going to be a large off year. There is a relatively large carry-over into 2021/22, which is going to help to stabilize supply.   Although there are some ongoing water issues in California, water availability is expected to be sufficient for this season. Besides, sustainable farming is on the rise, more and more growers are using agronomical practices to improve water penetration. There is also increased use of cover crops and compost, which leads to reduce water needs. Pistachio quality has also improved in recent years, primarily, due to farmers harvesting early and shaking twice, undergoing winter sanitation and utilizing mating disruption pest control.   There are new plantings going in every year, at an approximate rate of 5-7% increase per year. And some of these new plantings entering into production will reflect in the 2021 crop. It is anticipated that the industry will continue to grow, the demand has been strong, and at least in the near term, it will meet the growing supply. Some of the pandemic-related habits, that led to around a 10% consumption increase in the snacking category, are expected to continue in the long term. Additionally, the kernel market has grown dramatically during this last year. The biggest challenge for the California pistachio industry is the ongoing tariffs into the Chinese market and the trade barriers that have put the US product at disadvantage. Pistachios Iran As reported by the Iran Pistachio Association, the current crop is expected to be around 150,000 metric tons (in-shell basis) due to severe frost and heat damages. Preliminary, the 2021/22 crop will be composed of 36% Ahmad Aghaei, 32% Fandoghi, 17% Jumbo and 15% is Akbari. The small percentage of Akbari is due to the frost damage, that impacted more this particular cultivar than the others.   Out of the 31 states in Iran, 27 of them cultivate pistachio, with some new plantings. All together they add up to 340,000 ha of bearing pistachio orchards. Although productivity is very variable, from 100 to 4,000 kg/ha, the geographical diversity is likely to reduce production fluctuations and the Iranian crop is expected to reach around 200,000 MT on average during the next 4-5 years. New plantings consist mostly of long varieties (AA and Akbari), so this kind of cultivar is foreseen to dominate the production. Pistachios Turkey For the 2021/22 season, a strong off-year is expected, weather conditions were adequate, with average rainfall, but with lower-than-average chilling hours and really exhausted trees from last year's record crop. Based on 540,000 bearing acres (218,000 hectares), the new crop is forecasted to yield about 500 pounds per acre (560 kg/ha), which is very low, and around 89,000 MT in-shell.   In Turkey, new plantings have been increasing over the previous ten years. Around 380,000 acres (153,000 ha) of the total planted area are yet not bearing. Growing regions are expanding towards the South East of the country, and new plantings are under irrigation and applying modern agronomical practices, which will noticeably improve yield per unit land area compared to the national average. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pistachio-2021-2022-crop-forecastCOVID-19 Update: July 21, 2021The latest WHO COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update estimates that the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next three weeks. Last week, Western Pacific Region recorded the largest increase in case incidence as compared to the previous week, followed by the European Region (30% and 21%, respectively). The number of deaths increased in the South-East Asia and the Western Pacific Regions by 12% and 10%, respectively. After a sustained decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths, the WHO is alerting that the Delta variant’s spread, along with increased social mobility and inconsistent use of public health measures, is driving an increase in both case numbers and deaths. Delta is present in more than 124 countries (13 new countries) and WHO expects it to be the dominant COVID-19 strain circulating worldwide very soon.   WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated his concern that inequity has created a two-track pandemic. The WHO goal is to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of every country by September, at least 40% by the end of 2021, and at least 70% by mid-2022.   Deaths in Africa have risen steeply for the past weeks. Hospital admissions are increasing rapidly while countries face shortages in oxygen and intensive care beds. “This is a clear warning sign that hospitals in the most impacted countries are reaching a breaking point,” said Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. With less than 2% of the population vaccinated, Africa is experiencing its worst surge of cases since the pandemic began.   Asian countries are also battling their worse surge of COVID-19 infections. Vietnam, Thailand and South Korea have all imposed new lockdown restrictions. Only a small part of the population is vaccinated due to the shortage of vaccines. In Thailand, only about 15% of people have had at least one shot, and in Vietnam only about 4% have. In Indonesia, about 14% of its population has at least one dose. Indonesia has become the new COVID-19 epicenter in Asia, surpassing India and Brazil in daily case numbers as the Delta variant drives up infections.    The effectiveness of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine against the Delta variant has been reported by the company. Although the vaccine showed a small drop in potency against the Delta variant, it is more effective than against the Beta variant. UN The COVID pandemic has had a negative impact on health and well-being; employment, businesses, incomes, education; and human rights. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) and Chair of the UN Sustainable Development Group, said that the pandemic has reversed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) progress during the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. She remarked that there can be no pandemic recovery without “international solidarity and cooperation”.   On July 14, the WHO and the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, reported that the pandemic has caused a major backsliding in childhood vaccinations, with South East Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean most affected. As a consequence, the number of children not receiving vital first vaccine doses has increased. Australia The Australian state of Victoria entered snap lockdown from July 15 until July 20, after detecting 18 positive cases. This is its fifth lockdown since the pandemic began. However, the lockdown was extended beyond July 20 despite a slight drop in new infections. New South Wales is also in a five-week lockdown, which will last until the end of the month. Only around 10% of Australia's adult population is fully vaccinated. China Dr. Adhanom urged China to be more cooperative with the WHO's second phase of the investigation into the origins of COVID-19. The first phase of WHO's investigation ended in February.   China has administered more than 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The government has increased COVID-19 controls on the border with Myanmar, in the southwestern province of Yunnan, amid Delta variant fears. EU The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control predicts a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, with nearly five times last week's level by August 1. The number of hospitalizations and deaths is expected to increase at a much slower pace.   The EU Digital COVID Certificate is available for European citizens with the aim of facilitating safe and free movement in the EU during the pandemic as it exempts holders from restrictions such as quarantine. In addition, the European Commission (EC) updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted: Rwanda and Thailand were removed from the list and Ukraine was added to the list.   The EC continues to support the recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences with financing. In the last days, the EC has adopted a positive assessment of the recovery and resilience plan (under the Recovery and Resilience Facility) for Slovenia (€2.5 billion), Lithuania (€2.2 billion), Cyprus (€1.2 billion) and Czechia (€7 billion). In addition, under the State aid, Italy will receive financing to support self-employed and healthcare professionals in the context of coronavirus outbreak, Germany to reimburse travelers in case of insolvency of package travel organizers, and Spain to support companies affected. Alitalia, a major network airline operating in Italy, will be also compensated for the damages suffered with €39.7 million.   Team Europe, one of the leading donors of the COVAX Facility, and the Republic of Senegal have agreed to build a manufacturing plant to produce vaccines against COVID-19 and other endemic diseases. The new manufacturing plant should reduce Africa's 99% dependence on vaccine imports and strengthen future pandemic resilience on the continent. Construction of the new plant is expected to start later this year, with 25 million vaccine doses being produced each month by the end of 2022.  Belgium Belgium set new rules for travelers returning from “high-risk” areas who are not fully vaccinated. They will be required to take a PCR test on the first and seventh day after arrival. However, the day-one test is not necessary if the person took a PCR test in the 72 hours preceding their arrival. If the result is positive, they will be required to quarantine for 10 days. France On July 12, France announced that health workers must get COVID-19 jabs. In September, those workers not vaccinated could be sanctioned for non-compliance. Furthermore, anyone wanting access to the most public places (cinemas, theaters, museums, long-distance trains, shopping centers, hospitals…) will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. These measures aim to boost vaccination rates and fight against the new Delta variant. Germany Germany reclassified the Netherlands and Greece, two of the most popular vacation destinations, as coronavirus risk areas. People returning from these spots are expected to provide a negative test if they are not vaccinated or recently recovered from COVID-19. Italy With more than 62 million doses administered, over half of Italy is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Spain Amid an explosion of new COVID-19 cases, especially among young people, a new nightly curfew has been imposed in some areas. In addition, the Balearic and Canary Islands are no longer classed as safe travel areas for UK tourists. The Netherlands also moved Spain to its amber list of destinations. India According to a study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), 86% of vaccinated Indians (among 677 participants) who got COVID-19 were infected by the Delta variant. However, the death rate among vaccinated individuals was found to be very low. Out of these 677 positive participants, 71 were vaccinated with Covaxin, 604 with Covishield, and two with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.  Japan Five days before the start of the Olympic Games, two positive cases for coronavirus have been detected in the athletes’ village. The two South African footballers, as well as 21 close contacts (players and officials) are confined to their rooms. In addition, a US gymnast also tested positive and a team member has been identified as a close contact. Both athletes have been transferred to a hotel to quarantine. In addition, six athletes and two staff members from Team GB's athletics team are self-isolating after being identified as close contacts of an individual who tested positive after they arrived in Tokyo on July 16.  In Japan, just over 29% of the country's population has been vaccinated with at least one dose and about 18% is fully vaccinated. South Africa Amid the third wave of COVID-19 driven by the Delta variant, South Africa has reported records in new daily infections surpassing the highest in previous waves. In addition, some hospitals are at full capacity and have had to cancel elective surgeries to free up beds. Vaccinations are facing delays after pharmacy lootings. Only over 4.2 million of the country’s 59 million people have been immunized. The government is targeting administering a quarter of million jabs per day. Turkey Turkey started a new normalization phase on July 1, eliminating practically all virus-related restrictions, owing to a national decline in infections and an expedited vaccination effort –over 62.74% of the adult population has received at least one vaccine dose. The country continues its intensive vaccination campaign as all residents 18 and over are eligible for vaccine shots. UK The UK tightened rules for travelers from France who will have to quarantine for 10 days even if they have been fully vaccinated. This new rule, announced on July 16, entered into force on Monday, July 19. The restriction comes amid UK fears that the Beta variant, firstly identified in South Africa, could spread from France.   The UK is not yet recognizing EU COVID vaccine certificates. According to EUROACTIV, there are talks ongoing at a technical level with the UK, which are ”progressing well and going in the right direction”, a Commission spokesperson told EURACTIV.   On July 19, England removed most of its COVID-19 restrictions. Among others, the use of face masks is no longer compulsory and there are no limits on how many people can meet or attend events. As more than 68% of UK adults are fully vaccinated, it is expected that serious illness and deaths from COVID-19 will be at a lower level than in earlier peaks.   In Scotland, although the restrictions will be eased, the mandatory use of face coverings will remain in place for "some time", First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said. USA COVID-19 cases and deaths are rising again after months of decline, driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant, lagging vaccination rates and Fourth of July gatherings. Cases of COVID-19 have tripled over the past three weeks, and hospitalizations and deaths are rising among unvaccinated people.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 55.8% of Americans have received at least one COVID-19 shot. About 48.3% of the total population has been fully vaccinated. The latest report highlights differences in the COVID-19 cumulative death rate and vaccination between urban and rural areas. The cumulative death rate in rural areas is higher than in urban areas, whereas vaccination coverage was lower in rural counties compared to urban counties.   The United States is reviewing whether it can lift restrictions that ban most-non US citizens from traveling to the US from much of Europe. The ban was imposed in March 2020.     The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-july-21-2021Summary of COVID-19 UpdatesJuly 21, 2021, COVID-19 Update - The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now exceeds 188.6 million (12% of increase as compared to the previous week) and the number of deaths has surpassed 4 million, according to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) figures. A total of about 3.4 billion vaccine doses have been administered.  June 30, 2021, COVID-19 Update - Data from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now exceeds 180.8 million and the number of deaths is close to 4 million. June 16, 2021, COVID-19 Update - Last Monday, June 14, there were more than 175 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally and almost 3.8 million deaths. The number of new cases reported has declined for seven weeks in a row, being “the longest sequence of weekly declines during the pandemic so far”. May 20, 2021, COVID-19 Update - More than 160 million confirmed cases and around 3.4 million deaths due to COVID-19 have been recorded worldwide. However, new cases and deaths have been slowing down recently, thanks to the progress of the vaccination campaigns and containment measures. May 5, 2021, COVID-19 Update - Continuing with the upward trend of new infections, global COVID-19 cases surpassed 150 million. Last week, around 80,000 new deaths were recorded worldwide, a stark reminder that the pandemic is far from over. To date, more than 1.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, at a ratio of 19 million jabs given each day.  April 21, 2021, COVID-19 Update - The COVID-19 pandemic continues with its rising trend. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global new cases have been rising for nearly two consecutive months, reaching a total of 141 million reported cases and causing more than 3 million deaths. India, the US and Brazil have experienced high caseloads, accounting for around 40% of last week’s total infections worldwide. April 7, 2021, COVID-19 Update - It’s been another week marked by rising infection rates and deaths worldwide, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Europe and the Americas continue to account for the majority of the new infections. So far, more than 127 million cases and nearly 2.8 million deaths have been recorded. March 24, 2021, COVID-19 Update - With more than 126 million confirmed cases and 2.7 million deaths, the COVID-19 pandemic is still sweeping throughout the world. Several countries, especially in the EU, have strengthened restrictive measures, in an attempt to curb rising infection rates. March 10, 2021, COVID-19 Update  - The coronavirus pandemic continues, having infected more than 115 million people and killed 2.5 million worldwide, while the global vaccine rollout attempts to curb the spread of the virus. Lockdowns and restrictions set to minimize the infection rates around the globe continue to have a substantial impact on international trade and travel. Febraury 24, 2021, COVID-19 Update - The world is currently withstanding a new wave of COVID-19 infections, as the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 111 million people and killed more than 2.4 million globally since late January 2020. The efforts taken by many countries to mitigate the pandemic led to entire nations enforcing lockdowns, widespread halts of international travel, interruptions in trade and supply chain disruptions. February 10, 2021, COVID-19 Update - About a year ago, the WHO declared public health emergency of international concern over the outbreak of the COVID-19. So far, the pandemic has infected more than 105 million people worldwide. As per the latest IMF World Economic Outlook, vaccine approvals have raised hopes of a turnaround in the pandemic. However, the surge of new variants of the virus, as well as new waves of the pandemic, pose concerns for the outlook. Under this uncertain scenario, the global economy is projected to grow 5.5% in 2021. January 27, 2021, COVID-19 Update - The global number of new COVID-19 cases is rapidly increasing. Despite the negative statistics of both infected people and those who died because of the pandemic, mass vaccination campaigns continue worldwide. Several countries imposed or toughened restrictions in order to curb down new infections, which may be caused by new COVID-19 strains.   Shipping costs have risen alarmingly due to delays and lack of containers, presenting a serious risk to the ability of economic recovery. January 13, 2021 COIVD-19 Update - Several countries began mass vaccination campaigns against COVID-19 in December. The WHO announced that vaccines give real hope of bringing the pandemic under control by the end of 2021. However, strict lockdowns and other containment measures are still in place, as several regions reported an increase of COVID-19 cases. December 16, 2020, COVID-19 Update - Despite the recent approval of COVID-19 vaccines in the UK and in the US, the pandemic is far from over: Most countries are reporting spikes of new cases, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. Some European countries have tightened restrictions in order to avoid the spread of the virus. Consequently, the upcoming holidays are expected to include restrictions in several regions. December 3, 2020, COVID-19 Update - The G20 Leaders’ Summit highlighted the impact of the pandemic as well as possible coordinated solutions to mitigate its negative consequences. Several nations reported a rising number of new infections, which have seen countries around the world impose new restrictions in recent weeks. However, the significant progress on vaccine development, together with other public health measures, raises hopes of ending the pandemic. November 12, 2020, COVID-19 Update - Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 50 million, and the worldwide death toll is over 1.25 million people. The worst hit regions are the Americas, with over 21.7 million cases, Europe, with over 13.3 million, and South-East Asia, with over 9.5 million confirmed cases. October 28, 2020, COVID-19 Update - Global COVID-19 cases have recently surpassed 40 million. The worst affected countries are the US, India and Brazil. Several nations in the northern hemisphere, such as the US and most EU countries are reporting further containment measures amid an escalation of new cases. However, Australia, South Korea and Singapore are expected to ease some restrictions. October 14, 2020, COVID-19 Update - The WTO reduced the size of global trade contraction in 2020, as lockdowns are globally easing and economies reopening. However, several countries such as China, France, India, South Korea, Spain or the United States are reporting an increase of new COVID-19 cases, and some countries announced further measures to contain the spread of the pandemic. October 1, 2020, COVID-19 Update - Several countries are opting for local restrictions in the most hit areas, as opposed of strict lockdowns nationwide. The IMF has urged countries to enhance global cooperation and multilateral coordination as the most effective tools to beat the pandemic and its economic impact. September 16, 2020, COVID-19 Update - Several countries are facing spikes of COVID-19 cases, although it looks like the number of new infections has decreased globally. There are still travel restrictions in place and, to ease them, the United Nations has urged G20 countries to agree on a common criteria in their removal and to boost coordination in preventive measures, among other recommendations. September 3, 2020, COVID-19 Update - Curfews, travel limitations and other restrictions are still in place in many countries in order to contain the spread of COVID-19. The top priorities of governments and international institutions are: finding a cure, mitigating the effects of the disease while ensuring people’s livelihoods, and avoiding harder socioeconomic impacts. August 4, 2020, COVID-19 Update - The COVID-19 is still dominating headlines every day, and amidst all the uncertainty it seems that the challenge will not be disappearing soon. The World Health Organization states that the outbreak still constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. July 20, 2020, COVID-19 Update - Despite certain improvements to the public health situation in some regions, there is concern as COVID-19 cases spike in certain countries. The economic and social situation is still uncertain. July 9, 2020, COVID-19 Update - The COVID-19 seems to be under control in some countries, despite certain spikes in infections in some regions or states, while other countries are reporting rises in the number of coronavirus cases. June 25, 2020, COVID-19 Update - Lockdown and curfew measures have been globally de-escalating and most international borders are gradually reopening. However, new waves of infections have been detected in some countries. According to OECD, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the most severe economic recession in nearly a century. June 10, 2020, COVID-19 Update - The unprecedented recovery plans announced by several countries are expected to mitigate the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, a few countries have lifted almost all restrictions due to the improvement of the public health situation. However, the WHO has highlighted the importance of food safety amid the outbreak. May 28, 2020, COVID-19 Update - As the public health situation improves globally, several countries continue to relax lockdown and social distancing rules. Consequently, the economy is slowly recovering from disruptions and losses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, FAO warned that famine could be a serious concern in several regions. May 14, 2020, COVID-19 Update - The challenges faced worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic are still visible, as well as the measures in order to adapt or re-adapt in the fast-changing environment of the pandemic. The efforts made by different governments, communities, companies, and people are significant to mitigate the effects of the disease. April 30, 2020, COVID-19 Update - The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still noticeable in the global economy and disrupting agricultural trade due to measures such as border closures and export bans, as well as because of restrictions of movements of people and workers. However, some countries are easing the measures in order to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.  April 17, 2020, COVID-19 Update  - As the COVID-19 situation continues to develop, this update highlights governmental actions taken to alleviate the pressure of COVID-19. This update also includes news on subjects ranging from IMF Global Growth projections to the importance of worker safety in the food industry. April 9, 2020, COVID-19 Update - Although restrictions are becoming stricter in many countries, governments have prioritized the food supply chain as part of emergency measures. Fortunately, the agri-food sector is recognized as an essential sector and efforts are focused on ensuring food security. This update contains measures taken by individual countries as well as the European Commission. The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources and international organizations. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/measures-to-mitigate-covid-19-1INC Co-sponsors Session at the 38th International Symposium on Diabetes and NutritionThe 38th International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition (ISDN) was held virtually from June 21-24, 2021, and was attended by more than 470 participants from more than 30 countries. The INC co-sponsored the session ‘Nuts, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome’, along with the NREF. The session, co-chaired by Dr. Cyril Kendall (University of Toronto, Canada) and Prof. Jordi Salas-Salvadó (Rovira i Virgili University, Spain), discussed the most relevant studies highlighting the beneficial effects of nut consumption on diabetes, including an INC-funded study on nuts, gut microbiota, and cognition. The INC’s co-sponsored session took place on June 24 and featured four guest speakers who covered some of the most pertinent and recent scientific studies which examine how nut consumption can be beneficial for diabetes and the metabolic system.   Dr. Zhaoping Li from the University of California in the US presented various epidemiologic studies and clinical trials that examined nut consumption and Metabolic Syndrome (MetS). The results from the studies suggest that including nuts in your diet may significantly decrease risks for MetS, which is a cluster of cardiometabolic risk factors like type 2 diabetes, abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, and hypertriglyceridemia. The protective effects of nuts could be explained by the modulation of inflammation and oxidation.   Prof. Anoop Misra from Fortis C-DOC Healthcare Ltd in India discussed how nuts assist in the management of diabetes. In a review of recent studies, data shows that nut consumption may have beneficial effects on glucose-insulin metabolism and decrease hepatic fat. The data also suggests there is an inverse relation between nut intake and type 2 diabetes and MetS, especially in women. In short-term intervention studies, it was noted that intake of nuts decreased blood glucose levels, triglycerides and inflammatory markers, and increased glucagon-like peptide-1 levels.   Next, Dr. Crystal Haskell-Ramsey from Northumbria University in the UK talked about the potential effects of daily tree nut consumption on cognitive function, metabolomics and intestinal microbiota. Studies have shown cognitive benefits of nut consumption. These benefits may be important because a number of studies have shown cognitive impairments in diabetes, which are also linked with alterations in gut microbiota.   Dr. Jagmeet Madan from Sir Vithaldas Thackersey College of Home Sciences, SNDT Women’s University in India presented the oral abstract “Effect of Almond Consumption on Glucose Metabolism, Hyperinsulinemia and Selected Markers of Inflammation: A randomized Controlled Trial in Adolescents and Young Adults in Mumbai, India.” Almonds have the potential to reduce hyperinsulinemia and thus improve insulin resistance at a fairly early stage that even precedes prediabetes, in addition to having beneficial effects on HbAIC and some lipid and inflammatory markers. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-co-sponsors-session-at-the-38th-international-symposium-on-diabetes-and-nutritionFunctional Benefits of Raisins in Sweet Baked Goods as Substitute to Animal FatA recent white paper released by the California Raisin Marketing Board examined the functionality of using California raisins, more specifically, raisin paste as a substitute for fat and sugar in sweet baked goods. The research, conducted by food consulting firm CuliNex involved using a basic fudge brownie and then gradually replacing the percentage of total fat from egg yolks and butter with raisin paste.  The research started with a base brownie where 100% of the fat content came from egg yolks and butter and then gradually increased the amount of raisin paste used, using 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. Furthermore, throughout the experiment, they reduced sugar and increased the bitter chocolate to account for the sweetness of the raisin paste. It was noted that at each level of raisin paste usage, the visible crumb and texture of the brownies was relatively unaffected; additionally, the moisture was found to be consistent with the base brownie. At higher percentages of raisin paste usage, the brownies became slightly stickier, but this was considered positive as a slightly undercooked or gooey brownie is naturally considered better. Considering these findings, the researchers concluded that raisin paste was shown to be a viable alternative to animal fats in this brownie.   Other findings from the study showed that the raisin flavor was not noticeable until at least 75% of the fat content was from the raisin paste; at 75% and 100% raisin paste, the fruity notes from the raisins were found to be complementary of the chocolate. Moreover, on a nutritional level, a decrease in overall calories, total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol was observed as more and more of the fat was derived from the raisin paste. At 100% usage of the raisin paste, the level of cholesterol was zero. More Information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/functional-benefits-of-raisins-in-sweet-baked-goods-as-substitute-to-animal-fatBrief COVID-19 Update: July 14, 2021Europe recorded a strong increase in incidence (20%) whereas America is the only region where new cases have declined. The largest increase in new deaths was observed in Africa. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases now exceeds 187 million and the number of deaths has surpassed 4 million.   The Delta variant continues its expansion, being found in a total of 111 countries (15 new countries). Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Head of the WHO, alerted “Variants are currently winning the race against vaccines because of inequitable vaccine production and distribution, which also threatens the global economic recovery.” Although the number of doses administered is increasing every day, reaching almost 3.5 billion, the disparity between countries is notable –the highest-income countries are getting vaccinated more than 30 times faster.   Sinopharm and Sinovac, China’s two major COVID-19 vaccine makers, have signed agreements to provide up to 550 million vaccines to the COVAX program. The deals include up to 170 million doses of the Sinopharm shot and up to 380 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, through to the middle of 2022.   The debate about the administration of a third dose of the COVID-19 Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is on the table. Pfizer and partner BioNTech are seeking the US and European authorization, based on evidence of greater risk of infection six months after inoculation and the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant.   Finally, as a consequence of the rising of new COVID-19 infections, the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not have spectators due to the state of emergency announced by the government. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-july-14-2021Dried Grapes 2021/2022 Early Forecast As discussed during the latest INC Online Conference, held during May 25-27, total dried grape (raisins, Sultanas and currants) supply in 2021/2022 is forecasted to remain fairly stable (3% up from 2020/21), as planted areas are not expanding in the top production origins. The beginning stock in 2020 was around 203,400 metric tons and it is estimated to be roughly the same in 2021 (203,000 MT). Carry out for the 2021/22 season, preliminary forecasted 7% below compared to 2021/22, at 189,500 MT, is optimistic from a sales standpoint. There is not a big shift in supply expected for any of the major suppliers.   On the demand side, although 2020 did see a big raise in retail consumption, it was traded off by the drop in HORECA sales. Due to normalizing and opening up after the pandemic, a slight increase in demand is projected for the incoming months. Turkey  The production size for the world's top dried grape producer, Turkey, is expected to reach 300,000 MT, similar to the prior season. Weather conditions were favorable, apart from some local incidence of frosts, which did not impact the crop size to a significant extent. Provided there are no major disruptions until harvesting time, production should amount to similar volumes to last year, considering acreage is fairly stable in Turkey.   According to the Turkish Statistical Institute data, international shipments from January to April were reduced from 77,388 MT in 2020 to 63,240 in 2021, about 18%. This could be partly due to the COVID-19 aftermath as well as the shipping disruptions. However, most of the 60,000 MT of carry-over is mainly composed of the fruit bought by TMO. USA The weather has been pretty stable and the acreage also seems to be stabilizing, after overcoming a period of some vines coming out of the ground. Production for the 2021/2022 season is preliminarily forecasted at 209,000 MT, up by 6.6% from the previous season.   As per the USDA Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS) database, international shipments out of California year to date (January-April, 2021) were slightly reduced by 8% to 26,083 MT from the 28,398 MT exported during the same period in 2020. However, exports to Taiwan (1,593 MT), the Philippines (1,508 MT) and South Korea (1,158 MT), were significantly increased by 71%, 53%, and 51%, respectively from the last year. China Production in China is very stable year on year and 2021/2022 is expected to be a normal crop, forecasted 10% up from 2020/21, at 110,000 MT. The biggest export market for China raisins remains Europe and South East Asia. South Africa  As reported by Raisins South Africa, the 2020/2021 supply is estimated at 10,000 MT of opening stock, 71,000 MT of farmer stock production, from which, 64,000 MT are marketable product.   Due to the smaller-than-average crop in 2020, the total stock inventory is expected to be almost fully sold out, so, opening stock for the 2021/22 season is currently estimated at 3,000 MT. The early production guestimates for this season place the farmer stock production at around 86,000 MT, with 78,000 MT of marketable product, as production is expected to come back to normal volumes. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/dried-grapes-2021-2022-early-forecastBrief COVID-19 Update: July 7, 2021The rate in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) continued to decrease for 12 weeks in a row, yet Spain observed an increase in test positivity compared with the previous week, and Cyprus and Portugal reported an increment in notification rates.   The Delta variant is capturing much of the attention. Cases of the Delta variant have been reported in 98 countries and “is spreading quickly in countries with low and high vaccination coverage”, warned Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Head of the World Health Organization (WHO). Fortunately, vaccines from Pfizer Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc have shown high effectiveness after two doses at preventing hospitalization of those infected with the Delta variant. The Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot vaccine has also shown strong neutralizing antibody activity against the Delta variant.   According to Bloomberg, the 3.22 million doses administered to date should be enough to fully vaccinate 21% of the global population, but inequitable vaccination is a reality. In the EU/EEA, the median cumulative uptake of at least one vaccine dose among adults aged 18 years and above is 62% and 39% for full vaccination. In the US, 54.6% of the population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.   Travel restrictions are constantly being updated to prevent COVID-19 new cases and variants. On July 1, the European Council added 10 countries and one entity/territorial authority to the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Jordan, Montenegro, Qatar, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia and Kosovo. The UK also updated the red, amber and green list rules for entering England on June 30. Among others, the Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Haiti, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda moved from amber to the red list. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-july-7-2021Cashew Crop 2021/2022 Forecast The total crop for the 2020/2021 season is estimated at 3.8 million metric tons, and the 2021/22 crop, is expected to be very similar to the previous season. The difference is about a 2% reduction in the crop size, primarily on account of the lower estimated crops in West Africa (down 6% from 2020/21) and in Vietnam (down 11%), which are being compensated, to some extent, with a good crop in Cambodia (up 32%). The main decreases in West Africa are forecasted for Côte d’Ivoire (7%), mainly due to drought, Nigeria (8%), Ghana (9%), and Benin (13%). No changes are anticipated for the rest of the origins.   The main challenges that the industry was facing, at the time of writing this report, were related to the logistic issues affecting the whole goods transportation industry. In Africa, containers and vessels availability were hampering the raw material flow towards the Asian processors, while kernels shipments from Asia to Europe were also slowed down since October last year. At this time, shipping rates started to raise and kept following that trend towards the first semester of 2021. The availability of kernels almost stopped in Europe and was very limited in the US.   In spite of the disruption in the movement of raw material into India and Vietnam, due to the domestic crop's harvest, there was not yet a shortage of raw cashew at the processing facilities. However, once the nuts got processed, the availability of empty containers was low, getting a booking extremely difficult, the freight rate was excessive and the transit times had expanded. Even upon arrival, there were difficulties to transport the containers to warehouses as trucking rates, in the US and Europe, had gone through the roof.   On the demand side, during the first quarter of 2021, imports into Europe and the US were increased between 3 to 7%, as the demand for cashews was still going up. Due to the lesser kernel availability from Asia, prices are likely to at least stabilize, or even go up. The price trend seems to show the beginning of a price recovery in 2021 after a stiff decline in 2019 and 2020. In India, demand, which has been heavily affected by COVID-19 last year, is anticipated to improve in the second half of this year. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/cashew-crop-2021-2022-forecastPesticides Update: June 30, 2021Australia: MRLS Update Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) issued a proposal to amend Schedule 20 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (June 1, 2021). Among other changes, the table to section S20-3 in Schedule 20 is amended as follows: The maximum residue limit (MRL) for isopyrazam in almonds at 0.01* ppm is inserted. * indicates that the maximum residue limit is set at the limit of determination.   The deadline for comments was June 29, 2021. The proposal can be found here. EU: MRLs Update On June 18, the European Commission published the Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/976 of 4 June 2021 amending Annexes II, III and IV to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for cycloxydim, mepiquat, Metschnikowia fructicola strain NRRL Y-27328 and prohexadione in or on certain products.   This regulation sets the following MRLs, among others: The MRL for prohexadione in tree nuts, apricots, grapes, cranberries, dates and figs is set at 0.01* ppm; in plums at 0.05 ppm; and in peanuts at 0.9 ppm. The MRL for cycloxydim in tree nuts, cranberries, dates and figs is set at 0.05* ppm; in apricots and peanuts at 0.2 ppm; in plums at 0.09 ppm; and in grapes at 0.5 ppm. The MRL for mepiquat in tree nuts and peanuts is set at 0.05* ppm; and in apricots, plums, grapes, cranberries, dates and figs at 0.02* ppm. It will enter into force on July 8, 2021, but the MRLs for mepiquat shall apply from July 1, 2021.   Commission Regulation (EU) 2021/976 of 4 June 2021   The Regulation (EU) No 2021/618 of 15 April 2021 amending Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for diclofop, fluopyram, ipconazole and terbuthylazine in or on certain products has entered into force.   This regulation sets, i.a., the following MRLs: The MRL for diclofop in tree nuts, apricots, prunes, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs and peanuts is set at 0.02* ppm. The MRL for fluopyram in tree nuts is set at 0.03 ppm, in prunes at 0.6 ppm, in grapes at 2 ppm, in cranberries at 4 ppm, and in peanuts at 0.02 ppm. The MRL for terbuthylazine in tree nuts, apricots, prunes, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs and peanuts is set at 0.01* ppm. * Indicates lower limit of determination.   It shall apply from November 6, 2021.   Regulation (EU) No 2021/618 of 15 April 2021 EU: Phosmet Withdrawal The European Commission notified the World Trade Organization of the Draft Commission Implementing Regulation concerning the non-renewal of the approval of the active substance phosmet, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011.   The Draft provides that the approval of the active substance phosmet is not renewed and, therefore, existing authorized plant protection products containing this substance will be withdrawn from the market. This decision does not affect the Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for residues of the concerned pesticide. However, following non-approval, separate actions may be taken on MRLs. No comments are applicable and the adoption is expected in the second quarter of 2021.   Currently, the MRLs for phosmet in tree nuts (except almonds, pistachios and walnuts at 2 ppm and hazelnuts at 0.1 ppm), apricots, grapes and dates is 0.05* ppm; in plums is 0.6 ppm; in cranberries is 10 ppm; and in figs is 2 ppm.   * Indicates lower limit of determination.   The WTO notification can be found here. USA: Applications for New Uses for Pesticides The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency received an application to register the active ingredient Novaluron as insecticide for Tree nuts, nutmeat (Crop Group 14-12) and Almond, hulls. Federal Register Vol. 86, No. 118. Wednesday, June 23, 2021. Pages 32920-32921 https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-june-30-2021Latest Trade News and Agreements: June 30, 2021EU-Australia: Free Trade Agreement Negotiations On June 1-11, 2021, the 11th round of negotiations for a trade agreement between the European Union and Australia took place. Negotiators discussed the proposals of the different negotiating areas, such as trade in goods, rules of origin, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and geographical indications, among others.   Report of the 11th round of negotiations for a trade agreement between the European Union and Australia here.  UK: CPTPP Trade Agreement On June 2, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) nations agreed to the UK’s accession process to join the CPTPP. In addition, on June 15, the UK reached an agreement with Australia and negotiations are ongoing with New Zealand.   The CPTPP is a trade agreement between 11 countries (Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam). On February 1, 2021, the UK Government formally applied to join the CPTPP.   See more information here. US-Japan: Trade Agreement, Third Year of Implementation On April 1, 2021, the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA), ratified in 2019, entered “Year 3” of ratification. According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) GAIN report, the following tariffs are applying for several US dried fruits exported to Japan from Year 3 (2021) to Year 5 (2023).   Product Name Japan Customs HS Code Base Rate Year 3 (2021) Year 4 (2022) Year 5 (2023) Prunes 081320000 2.4% Free Free Free Dried figs 080420090 6.0% 2.0% 1.0% Free Mixtures of nuts or dried fruits 081350090 12.0% Free Free Free   Link to the USDA GAIN report can be found here. USA: Senators Ask Administration’s Assistance on EU Peanut Trade Barriers In a letter sent to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai, nineteen U.S. Senators have requested assistance from the Administration on EU non-tariff trade barriers affecting the peanut industry –aflatoxin testing requirements in particular.   “In recent years, the U.S. industry estimates they have lost approximately $170 million in sales into the E.U. due to difficulties presented by these burdensome testing requirements,” the letter says.   Senators urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative to joint efforts to engage with their EU counterparts to reduce existing non-tariff barriers on peanut exports.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-june-30-2021Food Safety Update: June 30, 2021Australia: Import Certificate Requirements Due to COVID-19 The Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is extending the interim changes to import certification requirements for fresh produce, cut flowers, plants and other imported plant-based commodities until June 30, 2022.   This measure is an alternative to the use of original paper phytosanitary certificates and health certificates due to the impacts of COVID-19 on airfreight and courier mail.   Link to the notice here. China: Decrees 248 and 249, Facilities Registration and Food Safety Measures The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published an update on China’s regulations for the Registration and Administration of Overseas Producers of Imported Food (Degree 248) and the Administrative Measures on Import and Export Food Safety (Degree 249). Decree 248 will require that all overseas food manufacturers, processors, and storage facilities be registered with the Chinese authorities to export product to China. Decree 249 covers requirements on food exports to China, including overseas facilities registration, record filing by importers and exporters, quarantine and inspection, and product labeling among others. The report provides clarifications from the General Administration of Customs of China on issues such as product scope and transition period. Both decrees will enter into force on January 1, 2022.   More information EU: Control Systems Due to COVID-19 The European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU 2021/984 of 17 June 2021 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/466 as regards the period of application of temporary measures due to COVID-19.   This regulation extends the period of application of Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/466 until September 1, 2021, with the aim of addressing the disruptions in the functioning of the control systems, in particular due to difficulties to perform official controls and other official activities.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/984 of 17 June 2021 WHO: Foodborne Disease Burden On June 7, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a handbook for countries to measure their foodborne disease burden. It gives a complete picture of the requirements, enabling factors, challenges and opportunities involved, and the steps in the process. The handbook is particularly intended for use at national level. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-june-30-2021COVID-19 Update: June 30, 2021Although the data reported showing fewer new coronavirus infections, the pandemic is far from over. The Delta variant is presenting a new COVID-19 pandemic challenge. Originally found in India, the Delta variant, more transmissible than the alpha variant, is now present in more than 80 countries. In the US, it represents 20% of infections, and health officials say it could become the country’s dominant type. In Europe, the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned that the Delta variant could account for 90% of new coronavirus infections by the end of August. The UK is seeing COVID-19 cases rise despite vaccinations, since more than 90% of new cases are from this variant. Germany is also wary about another wave spurred by the Delta variant, which now makes up about 15% of new cases. WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed his concern on Twitter: “There's a lot of concern about the #COVID19 Delta variant –the most transmissible one identified so far.”   The pace of the vaccination effort is increasing, being the latest rate roughly 45.6 million doses per day. According to Bloomberg, more than 2.97 billion doses have been administered so far worldwide.   The WHO, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) underscored their commitment to universal, equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics, and other health technologies. It has been agreed, within the existing WHO-WIPO-WTO Trilateral Cooperation framework, that the three agencies will promote two specific initiatives: (1) the organization of practical, capacity-building workshops to enhance the flow of updated information on current developments in the pandemic and responses; and (2) the implementation of a joint platform for tripartite technical assistance to countries relating to their needs for COVID-19 medical technologies, providing a one-stop-shop that will make available the full range of expertise on access, IP and trade matters, in a coordinated and systematic manner.  UN The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released the 2021 World Drug Report on June 24, according to which the social impact of the pandemic could push more people into drug use. Moreover, while the impact of COVID-19 on drug issues is not fully known, the analysis implies that the pandemic has resulted in increased economic hardship, making illicit drug cultivation more tempting to vulnerable rural communities. WHO The WHO and its COVAX partners are collaborating with Biovac, Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines, a network of universities, and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish their first COVID mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub. The goal of this initiative is to increase vaccine access throughout Africa. “COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of local production to address health emergencies, strengthen regional health security and expand sustainable access to health products,” noted Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. Australia Seven cities in Australia are in lockdown after a jump in cases: Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast Perth, Darwin, Townsville and Alice Springs. This is Sydney's first lockdown since December. COVID-19 transmission rates had been continuously low throughout the country, but the Delta variant has managed to reach five of its eight states and territories. Central and eastern Sydney went into lockdown on Sunday. The two-week lockdown will affect the city center and inner-city suburbs, as well as beachside suburbs in the east. Residents of these areas will have to stay at home except for essential reasons. China Shipments from Yantian, which is the third-largest container port in the world, are suffering delays after the terminal was closed for a week as a coronavirus outbreak in late May. “Around 50 container ships remain backed up around the Yantian port in Southern China” and “some 350,000 loaded containers are stacked up on docks,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Western retailers such as Walmart Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., who have been scrambling to restock after a year of supply-chain disruptions caused by the pandemic, are driving demand for boxships. EU To support Europe’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and its consequences, on June 15, the European Commission (EC) raised €20 billion in its first NextGenerationEU transaction. To date, the EC has adopted a positive assessment of the recovery and resilience plan (grants) for the following countries: Spain (€69.5 billion), Italy (€68.9 billion), France (€39.4 billion), Greece (€30.5 billion), Germany (€25.6 billion), Portugal (€16.6 billion), Slovakia (€6.3 billion), Belgium (€5.9 billion), Austria (€3.5 billion), Latvia (€1.8 billion), Denmark (€1.5 billion) and Luxembourg (€93 million).   On June 18, the Court of First Instance of Brussels decided to grant interim measures in the case brought against AstraZeneca by the European Commission and the EU-27 Member States. AstraZeneca should deliver 50 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine by September 27, 2021, and in the event of non-compliance with the schedule, it will have to pay a penalty of €10 per dose no delivered.   That same day, the European Council approved the conclusions on Intellectual Property (IP) in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic. The conclusions address the role of IP in helping to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and outline the importance of IP for SMEs and their economic recovery, as well as for green and digital transitions. The Council welcomes the action plan and initiatives announced on better protection of IP, on promoting an effective use and deployment of IP, on easier access to and sharing of IP-protected assets, and on fighting IP rights infringements.   During the European Council Meeting held on June 24-25, EU leaders acknowledged the importance of the agreements reached on the EU digital COVID certificate and the revision of the two Council recommendations on travel: within the EU and into the EU. In addition, the Council reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to helping boost global production of and universal access to COVID-19 vaccines. Germany Since June 29, only German citizens and residents are allowed to travel into Germany from Portugal and Russia, classified as ‘variant countries’ due to the increment of Delta variant cases. Those allowed to enter from Russia and Portugal will be subject to a two-week quarantine, regardless of whether they can provide a negative COVID-19 test.   The German Government announced it expects a surplus of shots in the next few weeks. Health Minister Jens Spahn said that the country needs to fast-forward its vaccination rollout as the Delta variant spreads throughout Europe, reported Reuters. Italy All Italian regions are now in the low-restriction ‘white area’ and mask-free outdoors, except for gatherings.   By ordinance of June 18, Italy allows the use of the COVID-19 Green Certificate for entry into Italy from countries of the EU, as well as Japan, Canada and the USA. For those coming from the UK and Northern Ireland, Italy introduced a 5-day quarantine with mandatory swab testing. The new ordinance extended until July 30 the measures in force for people coming from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, or who have been in these countries in the preceding fourteen days.   To control the Delta variant, Italy decided to enforce stricter controls and tracking procedures on those traveling from abroad. Among different measures that will be implemented, a higher number of daily swabs and increased tracking of single cases will be included. Spain Spain is tightening access requirements for travelers from the UK amid the growing concern over the Delta variant. From July 2, UK travelers will have to show a negative PCR test or proof of being fully vaccinated. The conditions will particularly affect travelers to the Balearic Islands, which are going on the UK’s green travel list on June 30. India On June 29, India recorded the lowest single-day spike since March 17 with 37,566 new COVID-19 cases in 24 hours.   Moderna's vaccine has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India –becoming the fourth COVID-19 jab to get approval in India. In addition, Moderna has agreed to donate a certain number of doses through COVAX to the Government of India.   A second wave of stimulus was announced on June 28, including a credit guarantee scheme of Rs 50,000 crore to ramp up the health sector. Japan Being Tokyo and other six prefectures under the quasi-emergency status, the Economic Revitalization Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura affirmed on June 27 that another state of emergency could be declared due to the resurgence in infections.   Japan is administering 1 million doses a day and is prioritizing the full vaccination of elderly people by the end of July. The Olympics will start in less than a month and only a small portion of the country (10.3%) is fully vaccinated.   Vaccine certificates, which will include information such as the date of vaccination and its manufacturer, will be issued in July. Japan will ask other countries to ease entry requirements for holders of its COVID-19 vaccination certificate. Turkey Due to new variants of the coronavirus, Turkey has halted flights and all direct travel from Bangladesh, Brazil, South Africa, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Those who arrive from other origins but have been in the countries listed within the last 14 days will need to show a negative PCR and will need to quarantine for 14 days. UK In the UK, over 60% of adults have been vaccinated with a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Besides, more than 82.5% of people have been vaccinated with a single dose. A recent analysis by Public Health England (PHE) shows that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalization from the Delta variant.   A new study suggests that over 2 million people in the UK would have had one or more COVID-19 symptoms lasting at least 12 weeks.  USA According to The Associated Press, nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the US are now among people who have not been vaccinated. In May, infections in fully vaccinated people were about 0.1% and only about 0.8% of COVID-19 deaths were in fully vaccinated people, showing the effectiveness of the vaccination strategy.   President Joe Biden has set a goal to have 70% of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.   The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-june-30-2021Sustainability Update: June 30, 2021EU: Organic Imports The European Commission notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of a draft Commission Delegated Regulation on official controls on consignments of organic products and in-conversion products intended for import into the EU, and on the certificate of inspection.   This draft regulation sets out the rules for the certificate of inspection and the official controls to be carried out by Member States. In addition, the draft establishes the information that must be provided in the event that consignments are found to be non-compliant. The notification can be found here.   In addition, the European Commission also notified the WTO of a draft Commission Implementing Regulation laying down rules on documents and notifications required for organic and in-conversion products intended for import into the EU.   This draft sets the rules for specific operators in respect to the entry and the release for free circulation into the EU of organic products originating in third countries. This act complements the draft mentioned above. The notification can be found here.   The final date for comments is August 15. The proposed date of adoption is September 2021 and the provisions will apply from January 1, 2022. EU: Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste On June 22, the European Commission launched a public call for applications for private sector organizations with expertise and proven track record in food waste prevention to join the EU Platform on Food Losses and Food Waste for its second mandate (2022-2026).   The Platform will contribute to key deliverables foreseen by the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy, such as the future Commission proposals to establish legally binding targets to reduce food waste across the EU and the revision of EU date marking rules.   The deadline for sending applications is July 23, 2021.   See the news here. EU: Open Dialogue on Sustainability Food Systems The European Commission is organizing an online dialogue with Europeans on July 12-13, 2021, to prepare inputs for the United Nations Secretary-General’s Food Systems Summit, which will take place in September 2021.   The topics for the discussion will be the following: Green claims and sustainable food labeling Sustainable production Sustainable and healthy diet Prevention and reduction of food waste Antimicrobial resistance See the news here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-june-30-2021EU-US Suspension of Tariffs Over Aircraft DisputeFollowing the European Union - United States Summit held on June 15, the EU and the US agreed to suspend the application of tariffs for a period of five years, being the most significant step towards resolving the longest trade dispute in the history of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The disputes on Large Civil Aircraft (LCA; also known as the Airbus-Boeing Dispute) started in 2004.   The EU list of US origin products that had been considered for additional import duties included: fresh or dried hazelnuts or filberts "corylus spp.", shelled (CN: 08022200) fresh or dried pistachios, shelled (CN: 08025200) nuts, fresh or dried, whether or not shelled or peeled (excl. coconuts, brazil nuts, cashew nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, chestnuts "castania spp.", pistachios, pecans, areca "betel" nuts, cola nuts, pine nuts and macadamia nuts) (CN: 08029085) fresh or dried dates (CN: 08041000) sultanas (CN: 08062030) dried grapes (excl. currants and sultanas) (CN: 08062090) dried prunes (CN: 08132000) groundnuts, in shell (excl. seed for sowing, roasted or otherwise cooked) (CN: 12024100) groundnuts, shelled, whether or not broken (excl. seed for sowing, roasted or otherwise cooked) (CN: 12024200)   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/eu-us-suspension-of-tariffs-over-aircraft-disputeBrief COVID-19 Update: June 23, 2021Latest WHO’s figures confirm the downward trend of new COVID-19 cases and deaths. Declines in the number of new weekly cases (June 15) were reported across all regions except for Africa. The highest numbers of new cases were reported in India, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and the United States of America. The number of new deaths decreased across all the regions except for Africa and South-East Asia.   The global vaccination campaign is underway with a rate of roughly 39.7 million doses a day. More than 2,412 million vaccine doses have been administered and it is estimated that 17.1% of the global population is fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg, but inequitable vaccination is still a threat.   WHO’s global targets are to vaccinate at least 10% of the population of every country by September, at least 40% by the end of 2021, and 70% by the middle of next year. “The global failure to share vaccines equitably is fueling a two-track pandemic that is now taking its toll on some of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people” claimed Dr. Tedros Adhanom, WHO Director General during a media briefing on June 18. In addition, he thanked the vaccine donations announced by the G7 and countries, and urged others to follow suit. “Vaccines donated next year will be far too late for those who are dying today, or being infected today, or at risk today” he added.   In the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 52% of the total population have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 42.6% have been fully vaccinated (June 10).   In Europe, the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted has been updated. Member States should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries: Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, Republic of North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, United States of America and China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity). https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-june-22-2021COVID-19 Update: June 16, 2021Data as of June 6 shows that global case and death incidences continued to decrease, a 15% and an 8% decrease respectively, compared to the previous week. Marked declines in the number of new cases were observed in the European and South-East Asia Regions, whereas the African Region experienced an increase. The number of new deaths reported increased in the Western Pacific Region.   There is a general consensus that vaccination is the long-term solution to the COVID-19 crisis, therefore increasing the speed of the production of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a global priority. However, swift action has not followed to aid equal access across all countries and regions. “Inequitable vaccination is a threat to all nations, not just those with the fewest vaccines”, warned Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO).   More than 2.3 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed globally, enough to fully vaccinate 15.4% of the global population —but the distribution has been lopsided. WHO is calling for a global push to reach the objective of at least 30% of the world’s population be vaccinated by December. António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, acknowledged that vaccines should be considered “global public goods” because there is no other way of defeating a virus that spreads across developing countries “like wildfire” and risks mutating. Shots need to be “available and affordable to all”, he added.   During the last days and previous to the G7 Summit (June 11-13), the world’s predominant global financing, health and trade agencies had urged government leaders to accelerate the equitable distribution of health tools to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. The leaders of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO) said in a statement that governments must act without further delay or risk continued waves and explosive outbreaks of COVID-19 undermining the global recovery.     At the G7 summit, leaders promised to supply one billion COVID vaccine doses for low-income countries either directly or through the World Health Organization's Covax global vaccine sharing program. UN On June 9, United Nations (UN) experts called for G7 leaders to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines for people in low-income countries. They stressed that it is time for “international solidarity and cooperation” to assist all governments in vaccinating people and saving lives. UN experts also urged pharmaceutical companies to join WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) for sharing know-how, data and intellectual property.   According to a new UN report on child labor issued on June 8, “for the first time in two decades, the number of children being put to work has risen –to 160 million worldwide, representing an increase of 8.4 million over four years– while millions of other are at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic”. The report also warns that nine million additional children are at risk of being pushed into child labor by the end of 2022 as a result of the pandemic. UNICEF On June 8, UNICEF Ambassadors and supporters signed an open letter addressed to the G7 leaders highlighting the urgency of supplying vaccine donations. “Covax is 190 million doses short of where it needs to be, which leaves vulnerable people dangerously unprotected”, the letter states. WHO The Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use was validated by the WHO on June 1. The agency recommends the vaccine for use in adults 18 years and older, in a two-dose schedule with a spacing of two to four weeks. Results showed that the vaccine prevented symptomatic disease in 51% and prevented severe COVID-19 and hospitalization in 100% of the studied population. WHO has already listed Pfizer/BioNTech, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India, Astra Zeneca EU, Janssen, Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines for emergency use.  WTO On June 7, the WTO received a petition signed by over 2.7 million people from around the world calling for universal access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines. The petition brings together the work of more than 40 organizations worldwide. Australia Melbourne's strict lockdown was lifted on June 10 after two weeks of strict lockdown that forced people to remain home except for essential business. Australian’s borders are closed and the only people who can travel to Australia are: Australian citizens, permanent residents, immediate family members, and travelers who have been in New Zealand for at least 14 days before the date of departure. All people traveling to Australia must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) result at the time of check-in (tested 72 hours or less prior to the departure). In addition, travelers may need to go into government approved mandatory quarantine for 14 days from arrival. Exceptions include travelers who are either traveling from a green zone (New Zealand) or in an exemption category (some industry workers such as airline, medevac and air ambulance crew). Brazil Brazil has surpassed the 17 million confirmed cases, however, the trend is downward. Similarly, deaths recorded are steadily decreasing since the March peak. Nearly 65.9 million vaccine doses had been administered by June 4.   According to The Wall Street Journal, Brazil’s economy has recovered to pre-pandemic levels. The economy grew 1.2% from the fourth quarter, boosted by agricultural exports. In addition, Brazil’s government spent the equivalent of 8.3% of its annual economic output last year on stimulus, being one of the world’s biggest stimulus packages. Chile On June 3, Chilean health authorities decided to stop the second dose of AstraZeneca vaccine of people under 45 years old, as a preventive measure, due to a case of thrombosis detected.   Chile announced a lockdown in the capital Santiago from June 12 due to a COVID surge, despite nearly 60% of the country being fully vaccinated. EU On June 4, the EU submitted a proposal seeking a strong multilateral trade response to the COVID-19 pandemic to expand the production of vaccines and treatments, and ensure universal and fair access. The proposal is intended to ensure that vaccines and treatments can cross borders freely, to encourage producers to expand their production and to facilitate the use of compulsory licensing within the WTO's existing Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).   Until the EU Digital COVID Certificate enters into application (July 1), Member States are applying different policies as regards traveling restrictions. Although they agreed on recommendations to allow fully vaccinated tourists from abroad back into the EU, the situation may vary from country to country.   The Regulation on the EU Digital COVID Certificate, signed on June 14, is expected to facilitate safe and free movement inside the EU during the pandemic. It will apply for 12 months as of 1 July 2021. The Certificate, accessible for everyone, will cover COVID-19 vaccination, test and recovery; it will be free of charge; available in digital and paper-based format; and it will include a digitally signed QR code. The leaders of the EU and the US held a summit on June 15. One of the main pillars of the discussion was the ending of the COVID-19 pandemic and driving forward a sustainable global economic recovery. They committed to continuing to support the Covax Facility and encourage more donors to make 2 billion vaccine doses available worldwide by late 2021 –the goal is to vaccinate at least two-thirds of the world’s population by the end of 2022. In addition, it was established a Joint EU–US COVID Manufacturing and Supply Chain Taskforce in order to deepen cooperation and identify and resolve issues around expanding vaccine and therapeutics production capacity. To ensure global mobility, they agreed to establish a joint EU-US Experts’ Working Group to exchange information and expertise to reinitiate travel between the EU and the United States.   India India is under the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, the country has recorded over 29.4 million confirmed cases and more than 370,300 deaths. The country will receive a share of 80 million COVID-19 vaccines from the USA through the Covax global vaccine sharing program. Nearly 238.8 million vaccine doses had been administered by June 8.   The Indian Government published a guideline regarding food and lifestyle habits that can be helpful in boosting the immunity of COVID patients. The general measures suggest including foods like fruits, vegetables, dark cholate (at least 70% cocoa), turmeric milk, whole grains, good sources of proteins (chicken, fish, eggs, soy, nuts, seeds) and healthy fats (walnuts, almonds, olive oil, and mustard oil), as well as regular physical activity and breathing exercise. Japan On June 8, the Japanese Prime Minister said that vaccinations for all residents will be completed by November.   In the meantime, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games are still on and organizers insist the event can be held safely thanks to the protocols in place.  Turkey On June 1, Turkey eased coronavirus measures, including a partial lifting of weekend curfews and the reopening of food venues to a limited number of customers (from 7 am to 9 pm). A curfew is imposed from 10 pm to 5 am on weekdays and Saturdays, but a full lockdown is still in force on Sundays.   On June 13, Turkey reported 5,012 new coronavirus cases over the last 24 hours, totaling 5.33 million confirmed cases. Vaccination efforts are being intensified (33.3 million doses administered) and the vaccine eligibility age has been lowered to 40. United Kingdom Public Health England (PHE) released the latest weekly COVID-19 vaccine surveillance report on June 10. It is estimated that 42,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths have been prevented thanks to the COVID-19 vaccine.   The latest national influenza and COVID-19 surveillance report (June 10) shows that, according to surveillance indicators, COVID-19 activity increased and case rates increased in most age groups, but most notably in younger age groups.   UK infections continued to rise because of the Delta variant. PHE data indicates that over 90% of new COVID-19 cases are now the Delta variant, which continues to show a significantly higher rate of growth compared to the Alpha variant. United States The United States intends to buy 500 million doses of Pfizer Inc.’s coronavirus vaccine to share internationally. It will distribute about 200 million doses through Covax, and about 300 million doses in the first half of next year.   A recent paper published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Has Global Agricultural Trade been Resilient under COVID-19? Findings from an Econometric Assessment, estimates the effects of COVID-19 incidence rates, policy restrictions, and the reduction in human mobility/lockdown effect on global agriculture trade. The study did not find any significant impact in neither tree nut nor peanut trade. The entry into the United States is suspended for noncitizens who have been physically present within the following countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry into the US: China, Iran, European Schengen area, United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and India. However, citizens and lawful permanent residents of the US, certain family members, and other individuals who meet specified exceptions, who have been in one of the countries listed above in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter.   All air passengers arriving to the US from a foreign country are required to get tested no more than three days before departure with a negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 before boarding the flight.   The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-june-16-2021Brief COVID-19 Update: June 9, 2021By regions, Europe and South-East Asia reported the largest decline, whereas the African and Western Pacific Regions reported increases. In the Americas and Mediterranean Regions, the cases reported were similar to those reported in the previous week.     The vaccination campaign increased the rate, being the latest around 38 million doses per day. It is estimated that around 14.1% of the global population is fully vaccinated, however, the differences between high and low-income countries remain –highest incomes countries are vaccinating more than 30 times faster than those with the lowest. Therefore, to reduce the “equity gap”, the leaders of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank Group (WBG), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued a joint statement urging government leaders to finance a new $50 billion roadmap. They warned that access to vaccination is key to end the health crisis. On June 2, President Joe Biden announced that the US will donate 75% of its unused coronavirus vaccines to the COVAX alliance.   Latest data of the WTO’s Goods Barometer (May 28) showed that global merchandise trade is continuing to recover in 2021 following a steep but brief pandemic-induced drop in the second quarter of last year.   The European Commission proposed that Member States gradually ease travel measures, including most importantly for the holders of the EU Digital COVID Certificate (previously called the Digital Green Certificate) which will enter into application on July 1. The key updates proposed are built on the colour-coded map published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). In addition, on June 1, the NextGenerationEU recovery plan started after the approval of the own resources decision from all 27 Member States. Pre-financing of 13% of the total amount allocated to each Member State will be made available to national governments after the approval of their recovery and resilience plans. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-june-9-2021INC Releases 2021/2022 Preliminary Production ForecastsTree nut production in 2021/2022 is forecasted to reach similar levels to the previous season: global production is estimated at 5.2 million metric tons (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, and walnuts in kernel basis; pistachios in-shell basis), with expected annual increments between 16% and 3% in pine nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, walnuts and almonds, mainly backed by increased planted areas and/or yields. Climate change, mostly droughts and frosts, might impact some crop outcomes.   Similarly, forecasted at 47.8 million MT (in-shell basis), global peanut production is also anticipated to remain within the previous season range. The outlook on overall volumes and quality is optimistic. Driven by the healthy and plant-based diet trends, snacking and new product consumption has been on the rise in Europe as well as in Argentina, although the export market, remains this origin's main focus. Chinese domestic market, traditionally dominated by oil consumption, is also seeing some growth in snacking and ingredients.   Mainly due to a 34% and 11% expected increment in global prune and table date production respectively, total dried fruit production (table dates, dried apricots, sweetened dried cranberries, dried figs, prunes, raisins, Sultanas and currants) for 2021/22 is forecasted at 3.1 million metric tons, up by 7% compared to 2020/21. Cary-over stocks are expected to be reduced by 7% from 2021/22 and overall supply and demand in balance. Retail sales were increased during 2020 as a result of lockdowns.   https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-releases-2021-2022-preliminary-production-forecastsSustainability Update: June, 2021 EU, Circular Economy: Guidance for Single-Use Plastic rules On May 31, the European Commission provided guidance on the EU rules on single-use plastics in order to reduce marine plastic litter and promote the transition to a circular economy.   The Commission Guidelines on single-use plastic products help with the interpretation and implementation of Directive (EU) 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. The Guidelines provide key definitions of the Directive and examples of products to be considered as falling within or outside its scope. Nuts are used as an example of “Foodstuffs generally suitable for immediate consumption”.   According to the Directive 2019/904, by July 3, 2021, Member States have to ensure that certain single-use plastic products (such as cotton bud sticks, cutlery, plates, and straws, among others) are no longer placed on the EU market. For other plastic products (such as single-use plastic bags, bottles, beverage and food containers for immediate consumption, and packets and wrappers, among others) different measures apply. These include limiting their use, reducing their consumption and preventing littering through labeling requirements, extended producer responsibility schemes (“polluter pays principle”), awareness campaigns and product design requirements. EU, Green Deal: New Chemicals Strategy Towards a Toxic-Free Environment On May 12, the European Commission adopted the EU Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability, which paves the way towards a zero pollution ambition for a toxic-free environment announced in the European Green Deal. The Strategy aims to significantly increase the protection of human health and the environment from harmful chemicals, paying particular attention to vulnerable population groups.   Flagship initiatives include: Phasing out from consumer products the most harmful substances, such as endocrine disruptors, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), unless their use is proven essential for society. Minimizing and substituting as far as possible the presence of substances of concern in all products. Addressing the combination effect of chemicals (cocktail effect) by taking better account of the risk that is posed to human health and the environment by daily exposure to a wide mix of chemicals from different sources. Ensuring that producers and consumers have access to information on chemical content and safe use, by introducing information requirements in the context of the Sustainable Product Policy Initiative. EU, Farm to Fork Strategy: Meeting Pesticide Targets The European Commission has published the first update showing progress towards meeting the two pesticide targets under the Farm to Fork strategy: 50% reduction in the use and risk of chemical pesticides and a 50% reduction in the use of more hazardous pesticides.   There was an 8% reduction in the use and risk of chemical pesticides in the EU in 2018, and a further 5% reduction in 2019, compared to the 2015-2017 baseline period. The results indicate that the use and risk of chemical pesticides in the Member States continue to decline. In addition, there was a 12% reduction in the use of more hazardous pesticides (mainly candidates for substitution) in 2019 compared to the 2015-2017 baseline period.   Link to the report here. EU: Certificates for Organic Products The European Commission notified the WTO of the Draft Commission Implementing Regulation laying down certain rules concerning the certificate issued to operators, groups of operators and exporters in third countries involved in the imports of organic products into the EU.   The Draft sets the model of the certificate and the provisions for its issuance. In addition, a list of control authorities and control bodies that are recognized under Article 46 (1) of Regulation (EU) 2018/848 in order to carry out controls and to issue organic certificates in third countries is established.   The WTO notification can be found here. US: USDA Releases 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry On May 20, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry. The report contains recommendations for a climate-smart agriculture and forestry (CSAF) strategy, considering topics such as practices that decrease wildfire risk fueled by climate change, source sustainable bio-products and fuels, and result in conservation actions that provide measurable carbon reductions and sequestration.   Link to the Report can be found here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-june-2021Pesticides Update: June 2021EU: Pesticide Update, Terbuthylazine The EU Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/824 amending Implementing Regulations (EU) No 540/2011 (list of approved active substances) and (EU) No 820/2011 regarding the conditions of approval of the active substance terbuthylazine, has been published in the Official Journal of the European Commission.   According to this regulation, the use of terbuthylazine will be restricted to every third year on the same field at a maximum rate of 850 g/ha. Member States shall withdraw or amend authorizations for plant protection products containing terbuthylazine as an active substance by December 14, 2021. A grace period will apply until June 14, 2022.   Link to the Regulation can be found here. EU: Pesticides, Extension of Approval Periods, Cyazofamid On May 27, the European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation 2021/843 of 26 May 2021 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 as regards the extension of the approval periods of the active substance cyazofamid. The approval period of this active substance is extended until July 31, 2036.   This regulation entered into force on June 16, 2021, and shall apply from August 1, 2021. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-june2021Latest Trade News and Agreements: June 2021China: Suspension of China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue On May 6, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) announced it will indefinitely suspend all activities under the framework of the China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue jointly held by the NDRC and the Australian Commonwealth Government. EU-India: Free Trade Negotiations Following EU-India leaders' meeting held on May 8, representatives of the two delegations released a joint statement announcing a resume of free trade negotiations between the EU countries and India. Specifically, the leaders agreed to: resume negotiations on a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial free trade agreement find quick solutions to long-standing market access issues launch negotiations on a stand-alone investment protection agreement start negotiations on an agreement on geographical indicators Moreover, a new connectivity partnership was established, aimed at supporting sustainable digital, transport and energy networks, and the flow of people, goods, services, data and capital and centered on the principles of equity and inclusivity EU-US: EU Suspends Additional Duties on Cranberries until November On May 31, the European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/866 of 28 May 2021 suspending commercial policy measures concerning certain products originating in the USA imposed by Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/886.   Under this Regulation, the EU suspends the application of additional ad valorem duty of 25% on imports of US dried cranberries (20089391) until November 30, 2021.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/866 of 28 May 2021 US-Japan: Trade Agreement, Third Year of Implementation According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) GAIN report, the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement (USJTA), ratified in 2019, entered “Year 3” of ratification on April 1, 2021. Consequently, the following tariffs are now applying for several US nuts and nut products exported to Japan.   Product Name Japan Customs HS Code Base Rate Year 3 (2021) Almonds (fresh or dried/roasted, no sugar) 080211200, 080212200/200819222 2.4% / 5.0% Free Walnuts (shelled, fresh or dried) 80232000 10.0% Free Pecans (fresh or dried/roasted, no sugar) 080290300, 200819223 4.5% / 5.0% Free Hazelnuts or filberts (shelled, fresh or dried) 80222000 6.0% Free Peanuts (shelled, other than seed) 120242091 10.0% Free Flour, meal and powder of fruit and nuts (excl. bananas) 110630200 15.0% 5.0% Peanut butter (contain sugar/no sugar) 200811110/200811210 12.0%/10.0% 4.0%/3.3% Other nuts (roasted, no sugar) 200819228 5.0% Free Cashew nuts (prep. or preserved, contain sugar) and other roasted nuts (contain sugar) 200819191, 200819192 11.0% 3.6% Ground nuts (excl. peanut butter, prep./preserved, contains sugar) 200811120 23.8% 7.9% Ground nuts (shelled, roasted/prepared or preserved), no sugar 200811292/200811299 21.3% Free Macadamia nuts (fresh/dried, prep./preserved, no sugar) 080262000, 200819221 5.0% Free Other nuts (prepared or preserved, no sugar) 200819229 12.0% 4.0% Cashew nuts (prepared or preserved, no sugar) 200819225 10.0% Free Preserved nuts (contain sugar) 200819199 16.8% 5.6% Coconuts, brazil nuts, paradise nuts and hazelnuts (prepared or preserved, no sugar) 200819224 10.0% Free   Link to the USDA GAIN report can be found here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-june-2021Food Safety Update: June 2021 EU: Feedback on Regulation 1793/2019, Contaminants, Increased Controls and Emergency Measures In recent news from the European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit, Edible Nuts, Processed Fruit & Vegetables, Processed Fishery Products (FRUCOM), the European Commission offered an update regarding the proposed changes of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 1793/2019 on the temporary increase of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the Union of certain goods from certain third countries.   For Ochratoxin A, the European Commission and Member States consider appropriate the following limits: 8 ppb for dried vine fruit (currants, raisins and sultanas) and dried figs, 2 ppb for other dried fruit (including dates), 5 ppb for pistachios, the latter being approved in mid-June. For hydrocyanic acid, the discussion is still ongoing. A maximum level of 35 ppm is provisionally concluded for almonds, however, no final decisions have been made. India: Prunes Not Subject to non-GM cum GM-Free Status Certificate Requirement On April 13, 2021, the FAS New Delhi\Office of Agricultural Affairs secured confirmation from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI) Director of Imports, Dr. Amit Sharma, that prunes from plums (Prunus domestica) are a processed food product (dried fruit). As such, prunes are not subject to the non-Genetically Modified (GM) cum GM-Free status certificate requirement.   According to FSSAI, the requirement to obtain a non-GM cum GM-Free status certificate for all food import consignments containing any of 24 specific foods (including fruits, vegetables, and grains) does not apply to processed food products in general. Link to the USDA GAIN Report can be found here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-june-2021EU-US: EU Suspends Additional Duties on Cranberries until NovemberOn May 31, the European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/866 of 28 May 2021 suspending commercial policy measures concerning certain products originating in the USA imposed by Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/886.   Under this Regulation, the EU suspends the application of additional ad valorem duty of 25% on imports of US dried cranberries (20089391) until November 30, 2021.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/866 of 28 May 2021 https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/eu-us-eu-suspends-additional-duties-on-cranberries-until-novemberBrief COVID-19 Update: June 2, 2021The European Region reported the largest decline, followed by South East Asia, mainly driven by a consistent drop of India’s caseload. However, the report warns that the incidence of COVID-19 cases and deaths remain high, and substantial increases have been observed in many countries throughout the world, particularly in the Americas.   With nearly 1.8 billion vaccine doses administered, the global immunization campaign continues at a rhythm of around 30 million jabs per day. However, despite the staggering numbers, the majority of the wealthiest countries account for a large part of these inoculations, while Africa and South East Asia currently account for a small fraction of the world’s vaccinations. In a recent message to the World Health Assembly, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, António Guterres called for a global plan for equitable access to “COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments”.   World trade’s recovery from the COVID-19 crisis hit a record high in the first quarter of 2021, increasing by 10% year-over-year and 4% quarter-over-quarter, according to UNCTAD’s Global Trade Update released on May 19. According to UNCTAD, the impressive rebound in Q1 2021 continued to be driven by the strong export performance of East Asian economies, whose early success in pandemic mitigation allowed them to rebound faster and to capitalize on booming global demand for COVID-19 related products.   WTO’s Goods Barometer, an indicator for world trade, provides real-time information on the trajectory of merchandise trade relative to recent trends. The barometer's recent reading of 109.7 is nearly 10 points above the baseline value of 100 for the index and up 21.6 points year on year, reflecting both the strength of the current recovery and the depth of the COVID-19 shock last year.   In the last month, all of the barometer's component indices were above trend and rising, highlighting the broad-based nature of the recovery and signaling an accelerating pace of trade expansion. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-june-2-2021More Than 1,300 in the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry Come Together for the INC 3D Online ConferenceJune 2, 2021. The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC), has just concluded their 2021 INC 3D Online Conference which took place May 25-27. The conference brought together more than 1,300 industry professionals in the nut and dried fruit industry from over 70 countries around the world.   The conference featured highly informative working group sessions for each product under the INC umbrella and they covered the next crop forecasts, supply and demand, consumption, and many more of the hottest topics like sustainability, tariffs, and the impact of COVID-19 on the nut and dried fruit industry. Demand across the entire industry continues to climb and there is an increase in efforts to maintain the growing consumption. Despite the many challenges presented by COVID-19, there have also been opportunities, like increased snacking, ingredient-based usage, home baking, and an increased focus on health foods. The working groups also elaborated on the growing importance of sustainability and efforts being taken by the sector to increase sustainable activities. The industry experts also addressed the shipping and logistic challenges, along with the impact of climate change on crops.   Tree nut production in 2021/2022 is forecasted to reach similar levels to the previous season: global production is estimated at 5.2 million metric tons (almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, pine nuts, and walnuts in kernel basis; pistachios in-shell basis), with expected annual increments between 16% and 3% in pine nuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, pecans, walnuts and almonds, mainly backed by increased planted areas and/or yields. Climate change, mostly droughts and frosts, might impact some crop outcomes.   Similarly, forecasted at 47.8 million MT (in-shell basis), global peanut production is also anticipated to remain within the previous season range. The outlook on overall volumes and quality is optimistic. Driven by the healthy and plant-based diets trends, snacking and new product consumption has been on the rise in Europe as well as in Argentina, although the export market remains this origin's main focus. Chinese domestic market, traditionally dominated by oil consumption, is also seeing some growth in snacking and ingredients.   Mainly due to a 34% and 11% expected increment in global prune and table date production respectively, total dried fruit production (table dates, dried apricots, sweetened dried cranberries, dried figs, prunes and dried grapes –raisins, Sultanas and currants) for 2021/22 is forecasted at 3.1 million metric tons, up by 7% compared to 2020/21. Carry-over stocks are expected to be reduced by 7% from 2021/22 and overall supply and demand in balance. Retail sales were increased during 2020 as a result of lockdowns.   Moreover, participants were able to watch the on-demand sessions of Nutfruit & Immunity, covering the health benefits of nuts and dried fruit in the context of COVID-19, Nutfruit & Sustainability, covering how the nut and dried fruit industry can help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Industry Marketing Programs Update, highlighting the amazing marketing campaigns currently underway around the world which promote the consumption of nuts and dried fruits. The conference also offered sponsor sessions and an exhibition hall providing the event’s sponsors with a direct connection to the attendees to present business solutions. All of the sessions were available in Nutflix, which served as a one-stop place to watch every session from the conference. Download the press release here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/more-than-1-300-in-the-nut-and-dried-fruit-industry-come-together-for-the-inc-3d-online-conferenceCOVID-19 Update: May 20, 2021To date, around 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, at a ratio of nearly 24 million jabs given each day. Despite the large number of doses given, the majority have been distributed in a few western countries. In a recent media briefing, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged wealthier countries to donate vaccine doses to the COVAX scheme, pointing out that currently, low-income nations only receive 0.3 % of the coronavirus vaccines supply.   The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently published a report showing that the OECD area unemployment rate declined slightly in March 2021 to 6.5%, a 0.1% decrease compared to the previous month. However, the unemployment rate is still 1.2% higher than in February 2020, just before the beginning of the pandemic. UN On May 6, the United Nations (UN) published a set of guidelines aimed at helping the maritime industry protect seafarers’ human rights. The guidelines, co-developed by the UN, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), were developed following reports of around 400,000 seafarers being stranded at sea as a result of COVID-19 restrictions on travel and transit.   On May 11, the UN published the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) mid-year update. According to the report, although the outlook for global growth has improved, the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in many poorer countries, as well as their lack of access to vaccination programs, are putting such recovery at risk.   The report also highlights that, while a strong rebound in global trade was observed for economies heavily reliant on manufacturing, countries that depend on tourism are unlikely to experience a quick recovery. UNECE In a recent online Forum event presented by the UNECE’s UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), the agency presented a series of recommendations and e-business standards aimed to help boost trade and e-commerce and to promote recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.   The Forum highlighted how digital information systems (such as trade information portals, supply chain track and trace systems) can have a positive impact on collaboration between stakeholders, as well as promoting the transition towards a digital economy. WHO The World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent epidemiology update reported that new COVID-19 cases slightly decreased in the past week. Increased caseloads were instead observed in South East Asia and Western Pacific regions, with India accounting for around 50% of the global cases and 30% of global deaths.   On May 7, the WHO approved China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, therefore paving the way for its inclusion in the COVAX program. The vaccine, produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Co Ltd, is recommended for adults 18 and older, with a two-dose schedule spaced over a period of three to four weeks. On May 10, the WHO announced that the B.1.617 coronavirus variant, first sequenced in India (the so-called “Indian variant”) was now being classified as a “variant of concern”. The new classification is based on early evidence that B.1.617 showed higher transmissibility. WTO In a recent meeting of the World Economic Forum, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that a more equal vaccine distribution worldwide was necessary to stimulate the economic recovery from the pandemic. Moreover, due to the developing countries’ poor access to jabs, foreign direct investments and trade will struggle to recover to pre-pandemic values. Australia The vaccination campaign in Australia is progressing, with nearly 3 million doses administered so far. According to a recent press release by ABC News, the Australian government has agreed to a deal with the vaccine producer Moderna for a supply of 25 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine. Brazil On May 8, Brazil surpassed the 15 million cases recorded. New infections are declining compared to the March peak, however around 2,000 daily deaths are currently being reported. According to Reuters, the Brazilian government has pledged around $1 billion of federal spending towards the production, supply and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Chile New COVID-19 cases and deaths in Chile are finally decreasing. On May 13, the government lifted the lockdown in the capital city of Santiago, although restrictions will still apply during the weekends. EU On May 13, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its latest weekly surveillance report. Based on the data collected by the agency, the 14-day case notification rate for the EU/EEA was 277 per 100,000 population, decreasing for five weeks in a row. Hospitalization rates in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are still at high levels or have been increasing in most EU/EEA countries, whereas the mortality rate has been decreasing for the past two weeks.   On May 12, the European Commission published its Spring 2021 Economic Forecast. According to the report, the EU economy is set to expand by 4.2% in 2021 and by 4.4% in 2022, a 0.4% increase compared to the previous winter assessment. The latest forecast indicates that EU economies should recover to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, as vaccination rates increased and restrictions are eased. Unemployment levels however are predicted to remain higher than pre-crisis levels for the next two years.   “The shadow of COVID-19 is beginning to lift from Europe's economy”, said the EU Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni.   In a recent press release by the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm urged Member States to jointly restrict travel to and from India temporarily, aiming to limit the potential spread of the coronavirus Variant of Concern (VOC) B.1.617.2 (also known as “Indian variant”). For people traveling for essential reasons, the Commission called on Member States to apply additional restricting measures such as additional testing and quarantine arrangements, regardless of whether travelers have been vaccinated. Belgium In recent news by Euractiv, the Belgian government announced a five-step gradual easing of its COVID-19 restriction, starting from June 9. From the next month, hospitality venues will be allowed to reopen indoor activities between 8 am and 10 pm. Entertainment and sporting venues will also reopen, while weddings and funerals will be allowed with up to 100 participants indoors or 200 people outdoors. Germany Since the beginning of the pandemic, Germany has recorded around 3.4 million cases and more than 84,000 deaths. New COVID-19 infections have been steadily decreasing for three weeks: the current national 7-day incidence has decreased to 129 cases per 100,000 population. According to a recent report by the Robert Koch Institute, nearly one-third of Germany’s population received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine.   On May 14, the German newspaper Die Welle published a press release stating that the country’s government included the UK in the list of countries considered at “high risk” for coronavirus infection, due to the increased incidence in the British isles of the variant of concern, “Indian variant”, recently reported by the UK government. Italy Currently, every Italian region (except for Valle d’Aosta) is classified as a low-risk “yellow area”, thus allowing free movement between regions from 5 am to 10 pm. Hospitality venues are allowed to open outdoor terraces only until June 1, when bars and restaurants will be also allowed to reopen indoor.   According to Reuters, a recent study carried out by Italy's National Institute of Health (ISS) and the country’s ministry of health, highlighted that the COVID-19 vaccines currently administered in Italy were able to prevent around 80% of COVID-19 infections in adults five weeks after the first dose was administered. Moreover, a further 90% reduction in hospitalizations and 95% reduction in deaths were observed. Netherlands COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in the Netherlands are decreasing, although the pressure on the healthcare system remains elevated. Despite this, the Dutch government is set to announce further relaxation measures, which would allow for longer opening hours for the hospitality sector and the reopening of sport venues. Spain On May 9, the Spanish government ended the country’s state of alarm, thus allowing for the first time in months free movement between autonomous communities. Several communities, however, are currently debating the introduction of local measures to avoid a possible resurgence in cases.   Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign is progressing: nearly 7 million people, accounting for around 15% of Spain’s population, are now fully vaccinated. Moreover, the government reportedly announced plans to extend the vaccination offered to people under 50 years of age. India India’s second wave continues, with around 350,000 cases and 4,000 deaths being reported daily. New infections are increasing outside the urban areas, thus posing additional strain to the healthcare in the countryside.   In recent news, from Reuters, rating agency Moody's highlighted that the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in India will hinder the economic recovery for the year and potentially curb long-term growth. Moreover, the agency predicts a wider fiscal deficit and increased public debt for the next two years, compared to previous estimations. Japan The country is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases, with 7 prefectures reporting record daily highs. As result, on May 14, the Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga reportedly announced the prorogation of the containment measures currently in place until May 31. Moreover, the state of emergency has been extended to the prefectures of Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima.  South Korea New cases have been rising in the past week, bringing the total caseload to more than 130,000. The vaccination campaign is also ramping up: on May 13, a shipment of 850,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine was delivered.   According to The Korea Times, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) reported that more than one in four COVID-19 patients recently screened were infected with a coronavirus variant. Turkey New COVID-19 cases have been steadily dropping for the past four weeks: on May 14, the country recorded around 13,000 new cases, down from 63,000 at the start of the April wave. As cases decrease, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly announced on May 12 that the coronavirus restriction would be gradually eased by the end of Eid al-Fitr holiday on May 17. United Kingdom COVID-19 cases and deaths in the UK are at their lowest since last August. However, local spikes in new infections have been reported in northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the 14-day incidence as high as 199.9.   On May 3, Public Health England announced that more than 50 million vaccine doses have been administered: around 34 million people have received at least one dose, whereas 15 million are now fully vaccinated.   Since May 17, international travel to and from the UK restarted, following an announcement made by the British Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps. However, different levels of restriction will be applied to individuals returning to England from countries based on a “traffic light system”. Currently, only 12 countries are on the “green list”: passengers who have visited or transited through one of these nations will not be required to quarantine on arrival in England. United States With COVID-19 cases continuing to fall and around 100 million people already fully vaccinated, coronavirus restrictions are loosening for fully immunized Americans. According to the most recent guidance published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting.   On May 10, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published a news release announcing that it had expanded the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to include adolescents 12 through 15 years of age. The US is the second country to authorize the Pfizer/BioNTech jab for an underage group, after Canada’s approval on May 5.   The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-may-20-2021INC Launches the 11th Edition of the Statistical YearbookAccording to the data analyzed, both nut and dried fruit supply and consumption are on the rise. The publication first summarizes the world dynamics in production and consumption of each nut and dried fruit over the last decade, and then analyzes them in detail. These studies cover the following topics: Trends in production and country share: 10-years series, current season and 5-year average. Export, import and market share of leading players: 10-years series, current season and 5-year average. Variations in estimated consumption: 5-year series. The data analysis indicates that the total production of tree nuts (kernel basis, except pistachios in-shell) has continuously risen in the last decade, reaching over 5.3 million metric tons in 2020/21, up by 65% from 10 years ago and 15% from the previous season. Last season largest crops were almonds with 31% of the world share, followed by walnuts and pistachios (19% each), cashews (16%) and hazelnuts (10%), respectively. Pecans, macadamias, Brazil nuts and pine nuts represented the remaining 5%. Concomitantly, tree nut exports (shelled, with exception of in-shell pistachios), also reflected a positive trajectory with an average growth of 103,000 MT per year, hitting over 2.9 million MT in 2019. Global consumption, estimated at 4.6 million MT, showed an annual growing trend of 181,000 MT/year, on average.   World peanut production in 2020/21 totaled over 47.5 million MT, a 7% increase over the previous season and a 33% increase over 2011/12, continuing the positive trend observed over the previous ten years. China accounted for 37% of the world crop, with India accounting for 14%. Nigeria (8%), the US (6%), Senegal, and Argentina (3% each) were the next leading producers. In 2019, total shelled peanut exports reached 2.4 million MT, and grew by an average annual rate of 136,000 MT over the last decade. Global demand, estimated at 42 million MT, increased at an average rate of 1 million MT per year between 2010 and 2019.   Similarly, dried fruit production has increased over the last decade, reaching 2.9 million MT in 2020/21, 22% above 2011/12. Dried grape production (raisins, Sultanas, and currants) accounted for 42% of global production, with table dates accounting for 35%. The remaining 23% was split into dried cranberries (7%), dried apricots (6%), prunes and figs (5% each). Dried fruit exports totaled approximately 2.8 million MT in 2019, increasing at a steady rate of about 130,000 MT/year. On average, overall consumption has risen by 80,000 MT per year. Read the Statistical Yearbook here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-launches-the-11th-edition-of-the-statistical-yearbookLatest INC Trade Map SeriesThe 2021 issue of the bi-annual World Nut and Dried Fruit Trade Maps is available through the INC website featuring 6 separate maps: Tree Nut Trade Flows (Kernel Basis and Pistachios In-Shell) In-Shell Tree Nut Trade Flows Intra-European Tree Nut Trade Flows Peanut Trade Flows Dried Fruit Trade Flows Intra-European Dried Fruit Trade Flows This publication's goal is to make it simple to visualize the major global nut and dried fruit trade flows between the top origins and destinations, as well as the traded volumes of each nut and dried fruit among them. See the INC Trade Maps here.https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-inc-trade-map-seriesNut Intake May Increase Cognitive Performance of Older AdultsMay 19, 2021. A team of researchers from the Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), Deakin University, Australia have studied the impact of consuming nuts on cognitive performance among older adults in the US.   The study included 1,814 participants all above the age of 60 from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) 2011-2012 and 2014-2014 cohorts. Researchers monitored the participants’ nut intake and diet quality with two 24-hour diet recalls and split them into four groups considering their nut intake: non-consumers (0 g/d), low intake (0.1-15 g/d), moderate intake (15.1-30.0 g/d) or met recommendation (>30 g/d).   The Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer’s Disease or CERAD test was used to evaluate the cognitive function of each participant. This included immediate and delayed recall, verbal fluency, and processing speed and attention.   The results of the study showed a consistent difference in cognitive performance between older adults who were in the non-consumers group and those in the moderate nut intake group. The lowest cognitive performance was found in older adults who did not consume any nuts and the highest scores were found in those who consumed 15.1 g/d and 30.0 g/d. It was noted that increasing consumption to over 30.0 g/d did not lead to higher cognitive performance compared to the moderate intake group.   In conclusion, the study suggests that moderate intake of nuts, equivalent to half to a serving of nuts, may aid and increase cognitive performance among older adults.   Lead investigator, Dr. Sze-Yen Tan, said the findings confirmed the benefits of adhering to the current nut intake recommendation of 30g a day.   “Eating a handful of nuts each day is a simple dietary strategy that improves cognitive performance in for older adults, among many other already well-established health benefits,” he said.   This study was funded by the INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council. Download the press release here. Tan, S. Y., Georgousopoulou, E. N., Cardoso, B. R., Daly, R. M., & George, E. S. (2021). Associations between nut intake, cognitive function and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in older adults in the United States: NHANES 2011-14. BMC geriatrics, 21(1), 313. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12877-021-02239-1 https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/nut-intake-may-increase-cognitive-performance-of-older-adultsThe Nut and Dried Fruit Industry Virtually Unites for the INC 3D Online ConferenceMay 13, 2021. More than 1,300 attendees from over 85 countries are expected to join the INC 3D Online Conference from May 25-27, 2021. The event will be held using a virtual platform in which participants can customize an avatar to explore all that the conference has to offer. The online conference will feature live nut and dried fruit working group webinars led by industry leaders from around the world, giving insights and updates on topics such as production, trade, consumption, consumer trends, and other topics relevant to each product. Moreover, the event will include on-demand sessions which participants can watch on their own time. Apart from each product working group being available on-demand, attendees can also watch Nutfruit & Immunity, which will focus on nutrition and scientific research examining the health benefits of nuts and dried fruits, Nutfruit & Sustainability, which will highlight the sustainable activities of the sector, and Industry Marketing Programs Update, where participants can hear about the latest promotional activities from nut and dried fruit associations around the world. In addition, on-demand videos will feature sponsor videos and the Innovation Award Applicants. All of the live sessions will be recorded and published in Nutflix, so participants can re-watch the conference’s sessions or view them at a time that best suits them. Nutflix will also host all of the on-demand videos, making it the one-stop spot to catch all of the conference’s sessions. Brand new to this event is an interactive 3D virtual exhibition area where sponsors who have a booth can expose their brand, product, and services to the entire industry. Furthermore, attendees’ customizable avatars can explore the virtual platform to network by visiting the Nutfruit Cafe Corners where they will be able to foster existing and new business relationships, and enjoy all the conference has to offer. Additionally, the INC will give out this year’s Innovation Award, which recognizes some of the brightest and most innovative products in the nut and dried fruit industry. Visit the INC 3D Online Conference website to register for the event, see the preliminary program, sponsorship opportunities, Innovation Award information, and discover who is already attending Download the press release here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/the-nut-and-dried-fruit-industry-virtually-unites-for-the-inc-3d-online-conferenceBrief COVID-19 Update: May 12, 2021India continues to account for nearly half of new infections and one in four deaths worldwide. Case incidences are instead decreasing in Europe and the Americas, where a mix of containment measures and increasingly successful vaccination campaigns seem to contribute to the downward trend. In Europe, as new cases are decreasing and vaccination campaigns are speeding up, the relaxation of travel restrictions is being debated. On May 3, the European Commission published a recommendation to the Member States to gradually ease the current restrictions on non-essential travel for foreign tourists that are fully vaccinated, or come from countries with a positive epidemiological situation. Moreover, the Commission is pushing for the introduction of the green digital certificate –a COVID-19 certification system that would allow free travel within the Union– as early as the end of June 2021. In the United States, the epidemiological situation is gradually improving: new cases and deaths have been falling for the past two weeks. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one third of  Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. On May 6, Associated Press reported that the United States President Joe Biden set a further vaccination goal to cover 70% of the US adult population with at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. India continues to report record numbers of daily new infections and deaths, a clear sign that the latest wave is far from over. The country’s COVID-19 cases recently surpassed 21 million, while reported deaths have passed 220,000. On May 5, the Reserve Bank of India announced it would make available around $6.7 billion in loans for vaccine makers, hospitals and other health firms currently battling the ongoing coronavirus crisis. In recent news from the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed the announcement of the U.S. administration’s decision to support the waiving of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines, intended to help stimulate global vaccines supplies and distribution worldwide. Dr. Ghebreyesus described it as “a powerful example of leadership to address global health challenges”. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-may-12-2021Become a Sponsor and Exhibitor for the INC 3D Online ConferenceFrom May 25-27, 2021, the INC is hosting a 3D Online Conference meant to unite the entire nut and dried fruit industry. The event will provide a space to conduct business, network, and learn about the latest updates from the sector. One of the most anticipated features of the conference is the brand-new 3D platform which will host a virtual exhibition hall, allowing sponsors and exhibitors to showcase their company, products, and services, expanding their reach within the nut and dried fruit industry. This exhibition area invites all participants to explore other businesses within the sector, make connections, and foster existing and new business relationships. These 3D virtual booths and platform will provide attendees with an almost real-life experience by being able to walk around, interact in real time with other avatars, and explore other company's products in the exhibition area! To have a virtual interactive booth during the INC 3D Online Conference, there are two options with different price levels and varying benefits, meaning you can find the best option for your company. For €6,000 you can become a General Sponsor which includes the following benefits:   1 complimentary INC Congress delegates (to be used within 5 years). Sponsor session of 20-25 minutes, you can choose to deliver a pre-recorded presentation or an interview to be broadcasted between Nuts and Dried Fruits Working Groups. Use your sponsor session to reach an international audience. 1 customizable and interactive booth. Half-page advertorial in the July 2021 issue of the Nutfruit Magazine, which reaches a potential audience of over 6000. Company videos broadcasted on the Nut & Dried Fruit “Nutflix”, the platform’s integrated video area hosting all of the conference’s sessions and much more. Company logo on all online graphic materials and INC publications: website, 3D platform, INC newsletters, and Nutfruit Magazine. The second option is to become a Virtual Exhibitor for just €2,000 which includes the following benefits:   1 customizable and interactive booth. Company Videos broadcasted on your virtual booth. Company logo on all online graphic materials and INC publications: website, 3D platform, INC newsletters, and Nutfruit Magazine.   Moreover, the INC also offers the opportunity to become a Working Group Sponsor for only €4,000! While the working group sponsors don’t have a virtual booth, this sponsorship puts your brand in front the of the entire conference. The benefits include:   Video advertisement of 30 seconds to be broadcasted before and after 2 working groups to be chosen by the sponsor. Company videos broadcasted on the Nut & Dried Fruit “Nutflix”, the platform’s integrated video area hosting all of the conference’s sessions and much more. Company logo on all online graphic materials and INC publications: website, 3D platform, INC newsletters, and Nutfruit Magazine. Don’t waste any more time, go visit the INC 3D Online Conference website and discover all of the great benefits and options to become a sponsor and exhibitor! Thank You to Our Sponsors  https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/become-a-sponsor-and-exhibitor-for-the-inc-3d-online-conference2021 Online International Peanut Forum: Peanut Supply and Demand PanelsThe INC attended both the Peanut Supply and demand Panels for The Americas and Asia, where the supply and demand state of affairs was discussed for each region. South and Central America. Peanut Supply and Demand Panel – The Americas Representatives of South, Central and North America peanut industry discussed on current production and expectations for the incoming season year-to-date, domestic and international demand for American origins as well as quality and regulations. The panel was moderated by Ryan Lepicier (Senior, Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer, National Peanut Board) and the speakers were:   Edoardo Fracanzani (Executive Director of the Argentina Peanut Chamber, Argentina) Robson Fonseca (Foreign Trade Manager, Coplana, Brazil) Joaquin Zavala (General Manager, Comasa, Nicaragua) Bob Parker (President & CEO, National Peanut Board, USA) Argentina most recent survey among producers estimates a 2020/2021 yield of 2.36 metric tons per hectare (kernel basis, around 3.37 in-shell basis), lower than last year, which was a particularly good season with a very high yield (2.78 MT/ha kernel basis), but still an average yield for Argentina. With 386,000 ha planted, and the harvesting operation just starting for the shorter cycle varieties, a production of around 1.3 million MT in-shell basis/910,000 MT kernel basis is anticipated. Quality is expected to be fairly good.   In Brazil, in spite of having started planting later –planting took place during November at December, while it usually starts in October– 2020/21 planted area planted area was increased by 5-6% from the previous season and it amounted to 240,000 ha. This trend is expected to continue in the next 3 years. Brazil has already harvested 95% of its peanut crop; and while weather was good during December and January, droughts from February onwards, have impacted big calibers and quality for the remaining harvest. However, 70% of the early harvest was of very good quality, meeting EU standards.   The next growing season in Nicaragua will start around mid-June and both planted area and production are expected to be similar to 2020. For the US, the National Peanut Board expects planted area this year to be at least the same as last year, or even slightly higher.   Growers’ decision regarding planting peanuts or other competing crops, such as cotton or corn in the US; sugar cane or soybean in Brazil, sugar cane in Nicaragua or grains in Argentina, are affected by different variables in each origin. While planting intentions in the US, Brazil and Nicaragua seem to be mostly related to competing crop prices, in Argentina, where planted areas are steady in general, planting intentions might be more affected by the taxes rates applied to agricultural commodity exports.   As for demand, Argentina, Brazil and Nicaragua are focused mainly on exports markets. Although production is three time bigger than local consumption, domestic demand in Brazil is growing year o year; 2020 has seen a big increase due to the pandemic-induced consumer behavior. Main markets for Nicaraguan edible peanuts are currently the EU and Mexico, Central America is a mature market and oil is mainly exported to China.   The year 2020 has also set a record for peanut consumption in the US. For the current marketing year, ending in July 31, there was already an increase of 2.9%, which is significant considering the US is a very mature market. Product innovation has surely been a huge driver for peanut local consumption. In terms of international demand, Canada and Mexico are strong markets, as there are no tariffs limitations and China is still a very solid buyer of US peanuts.  Peanut Supply and Demand Panel – Asia Representatives of the Chinese and Indian peanut industry recapped on 2020 observed trends on supply, exports and demand, and discussed on expectations for 2021. The panel was moderated by Jason Chen (Senior Sourcing Manager, Asia Nuts Mars Wrigley, China) and the speakers were:   Charlie Jia (Chairman, Qingdao Foodlink Co Ltd., China) Kobe He (Business Manager, Sinopharm Group, China) Kishore Tanna (Indian Oilseeds & Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC), India) Khushwant Jain (Chairman, Indian Oilseeds & Produce Export Promotion Council (IOPEPC), India). On the supply side, is still early to anticipate the planted area in China (planting starts in late April-early May). However, two approaches were discussed: i) considering that last year wheat and corn prices increased by over 40%, peanut planted area might be slightly reduced in favor of the cereal, as peanut is a commonly rotated with these two crops. ii) On the other hand, due to the increased domestic demand seen last year, high prices (the highest over the last 5 years), along with local policies supporting peanut planting, sowing area is expected to increased compared to last year. In India, this year’s planting is expected to be at least similar to the previous season, or even higher, as peanut production areas has recently expanded to two new provinces. Prices are good and the crop forecast is looking promising.   Regarding exports, Indian international shipments last year amounted to around 679,000 metric tons of raw peanuts, and a similar volume is expected to be reached this year. The biggest market remains oil, but peanut paste, blanched peanuts and domestic markets are also increasing. China expects the European market to remain stable throughout 2021.   Finally, domestic demand for peanut oil in China has increased significantly as a result of COVID19 restrictions, particularly in major cities. In India, however, the pandemic had a significant impact on the HORECA sector, with demand falling by 40% and not being offset by household demand. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/2021-online-international-peanut-forum-peanut-supply-and-demand-panelsCOVID-19 Update: May 5, 2021To date, more than 1.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, at a ratio of 19 million jabs given each day. In the US and the UK, more than half of the adults have received at least one dose. In Europe, the number of vaccinated people recently surpassed that of the infected. Moreover, new cases and hospitalizations are finally declining.   The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recently published a report indicating that the pandemic has determined the largest decrease in taxes on wages since the global financial crisis of 2008-09 across the OECD countries. According to the analysis, the fall is due to declining household incomes, as well as tax reforms linked to COVID-19 support measures. UN In recent news from the United Nations (UN), a report developed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) found that 7,000 health workers have died since the outbreak of the crisis, while 136 million health and social care workers are currently at risk of contracting COVID-19 through work.   The report indicates that International labour standards (ILS) can offer specific guidance on how to develop a more robust occupational safety and health environment, so to reduce the risk of virus transmission in the workplace. UNCTAD A recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) analyzed the causes behind the surge in container freight rates worldwide. The document highlights that changes in consumption and shopping patterns triggered by the pandemic, capacity management by carriers at the beginning of the crisis, and ongoing COVID-19-related delays in transport connection points (such as ports) are the main drivers of these price increases.   The report includes suggestions on how to reduce the likelihood of a similar situation in the future with actions such as advancing trade facilitation reforms, improving maritime trade tracking and forecasting, and strengthening national competition authorities UNECE On April 26, a press release published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) stated that the UNECE’s UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), in partnership with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), are developing and offering technical specifications on air cargo digitalization.   The agencies are developing technical specifications on the digitalization of multimodal transport data and document exchange to Member States and other stakeholders as international public goods, at a time when the pandemic is causing major disruptions on trade. According to UNECE, implementation of these digital trade tools and policies ‘could make an important contribution to countries’ socio-economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.’  WHO The World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent epidemiology update reported that new COVID-19 cases rose for the ninth consecutive week. Increased caseloads are observed in South East Asia and Western Pacific regions, with India accounting for nearly 40% of the global new infections last week.   According to a press release published by the UN, the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are mobilizing medical supplies and other resources to assist India’s emergency situation. Moreover, the WHO is helping India to scale-up additional hospital beds by procuring mobile field hospitals which could be set up in the most affected areas.  WTO The World Trade Organization (WTO) has published a report highlighting that the participation of landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) in world trade has been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic. The document points at LLDCs' export competitiveness being negatively affected by a lack of sea access, as well as the distance from international markets and high transit costs.   Trade-restrictive measures imposed by governments in response to the crisis have led to increased trading costs, delays for traded goods and additional technical barriers to trade, negatively impacting LLDC’s economies. Proposed WTO-sponsored initiatives, such as Aid for Trade, may help these countries to build the trade infrastructure necessary to facilitate commercial exchanges. Australia On April 27, Australia announced a travel ban for direct flights arriving from India. This measure is scheduled to remain in place until May 15. Brazil New COVID-19 cases in Brazil have been slightly decreasing following late March’s peak, however fatalities are still ranging in the thousands every week. So far, the country reported a total of around 14 million cases and nearly 400,000 deaths. Containment measures vary from city to city, from mandatory face masks to localized lockdowns. Chile On April 26, the Chilean government announced that the country’s borders will remain closed throughout May. Chile’s COVID-19 cases are starting to fall, however most of the country is still experiencing restrictions on movement. EU On April 30, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its latest weekly surveillance report. Based on the data collected by the agency, the 14-day case notification rate for the EU/EEA was 396 per 100,000 population, decreasing for three weeks in a row. However, hospitalizations have been increasing in most EU/EEA countries, while the mortality rate has been stable for eight weeks.   According to a study conducted by the ECDC in collaboration with 7 EU countries, the three COVID-19 variants of concern (VOC), first identified in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), and Brazil (P.1) can determine higher risk for hospitalization and intensive care admission. “The findings underline the increased risk for severe disease associated with VOC, and further emphasise the necessity to rapidly reach high levels of vaccine coverage together with continued adherence to public health measures to reduce SARS-CoV-2 incidence and severe cases”, concludes the report.   According to a recent press release, the ECDC and the European Medicine Agency (EMA) agreed to a joint initiative aimed at strengthening the post-marketing surveillance of COVID-19 vaccines. The two agencies will conduct observational studies to monitor how these novel vaccines perform in real-life.   On April 27, the European Commission announced that EU countries will offer support to India via the EU Civil Protection Mechanism. Under the initiative, oxygen, medicine and equipment will be delivered to support the alarming epidemiological situation in India. The Commission indicated that further contributions will be expected by other Member States.   “Our Emergency Response Coordination Centre is facilitating the logistical arrangements and the EU will cover the brunt of the transport costs,” said in a statement Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management. France After peaking at the beginning of April, the epidemiological situation in France is showing signs of improvement. Restriction measures are also beginning to ease, with schools being allowed to reopen since April 26. However, new travel restrictions were introduced, with border controls being reinforced for arrivals from Brazil, India, South Africa and Chile. Germany Since the beginning of the pandemic, Germany has recorded around 3.3 million cases and more than 83,000 deaths. Despite a reported decrease of new cases, the current national 7-day incidence of 155 cases per 100,000 population is still considered to be of ‘high risk’ by the German Government. According to the Robert Koch Institute, the incidence shows that there is still ongoing community transmission of COVID-19, particularly in households, day-care facilities for children and increasingly in schools, as well as in occupational settings. Italy Emerging from a month of strict containment measures, the majority of Italy’s regions finally moved into the low-risk “yellow” category on April 26. The hospitality sector is allowed to reopen to the public, while entertainment venues can operate at 50% capacity. To date, more than 19 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. Around 5.7 million people are now fully vaccinated.   On April 27, the Italian Parliament approved a € 222 billion EU-funded recovery plan. The funding is expected to promote Italy’s digital and ecological transitions, infrastructure modernization, research and development, and employment. Netherlands The country has been recording an average of 8,000 daily new infections in the past two weeks. The positivity rate is increasing, currently around 10%, while the reproduction value (Rt) remains stable slightly above 1. Since last week, non-essential shops are allowed to open. Moreover, outdoor seating areas at restaurants and cafés can be open between 12:00 and 6:00 pm. Spain After an initial increase in mid-April, new infections are now declining in Spain. However, according to the country’s health ministry, the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants is still above the threshold of ‘maximum risk’. Intensive care units (ICUs) occupancy rates by COVID-19 patients have been stable at around 20% of capacity.   According to Euractiv, the Spanish Government has started distributing the coronavirus recovery funds to the country’s autonomous regions. €2.1 billion have been distributed so far, with further €26 billion expected by the end of the year. India India continues reporting record numbers of daily new infections, bringing the total at more than 18 million cases. Overall deaths recently surpassed 200,000, with daily casualties topping more than 3,000 on April 29.    In an attempt to ramp up vaccination rates, on April 28 all Indian adults were made eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, however shortages of doses have been reported. Lack of medical supplies and oxygen shortage are also contributing to the already difficult situation, although several countries around the world have pledged to send assistance. Japan In the last few days, several prefectures in Japan are reporting increasing positivity rates. In an attempt to curb new infections, the Government has declared a state of emergency for Tokyo and other populous prefectures, ordering hospitality and entertainment venues to close to the public. South Africa After having endured a large spike of infections at the beginning of this year, the epidemiological situation in South Africa is currently stable. The country recently resumed its vaccination campaign with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with healthcare workers designated as a priority group. According to Bloomberg, the country’s health ministry announced that it had secured enough doses to vaccinate 45 million people. South Korea According to Reuters, South Korea announced on April 28 that it will offer some exemptions to mandatory quarantine measures for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The measure will be applied from May 5 and will allow vaccinated residents to avoid the two-weeks quarantine for people who have been in contact with a confirmed patient or have returned from overseas travel.   However, these measures will not apply to people coming from countries where the incidence of COVID-19 variants (such as the Brazilian and South African) is high, as well as to people who are vaccinated in foreign countries. Turkey Since the beginning of the pandemic, Turkey has recorded more than 4.6 million cases and nearly 40,000 deaths. The country is currently facing a third wave of new infections, however new cases have been decreasing in the last few days. Despite this, fatalities are still considerably higher than in previous waves.   On April 29, Turkey entered into a new lockdown, which is expected to last until May 17. Citizens are required to stay indoors except for essential reasons, and movement within the country is restricted.  United Kingdom In the UK, weekly new cases and deaths have been falling for several weeks. Around 34 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 13 million are now fully vaccinated.   New research conducted by Public Health England (PHE) showed that one dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccine can reduce household transmission of the virus by up to 50%. Protection was seen from around 14 days after vaccination, with no distinction of age.   Since April 23, India has been added to the ‘red list’ of countries banned from entry to the UK. Nationals and residents are still allowed to enter the country; however, they will need to spend 10 days quarantine in a government-approved hotel.  United States In the US, the 7-day average of new cases has been decreasing for nearly three weeks. Deaths are decreasing too, albeit at a smaller pace. A slight decrease in hospitalizations is also being reported, as well as a nearly 10% decrease in new hospital admissions.   According to a press release published by CNN, the number of fully vaccinated people in the US has surpassed those who are getting their first dose. However, according to experts interviewed by the network, this could be reflecting a lower demand for jabs, possibly due to ‘vaccine hesitancy’.    A recent CDC assessment found that fully vaccinated adults 65 years and older were 94% less likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 than people of the same age who were not vaccinated. The data was collected on people who received one of the two mRNA-based vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna), and are the first real-world findings in the United States confirming previous clinical trial data showing the ability of these vaccines to prevent severe COVID-19 illness. The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-may-5-2021Sustainability Update: April, 2021Sustainability Impact Assessment, EU-Mercosur Trade Agreement On March 29, the European Commission (EC) published the final version of the Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) on the potential economic, social, environmental and human rights impact of the trade part of the association agreement between the European Union and the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay). A position paper, with comments on the main findings and recommendations of the report, was also presented.   According to the SIA, the EU-Mercosur agreement would have a positive impact on the economies of both blocs and could contribute to the recovery from the economic crisis caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the report states that the EU agricultural sector will also benefit from the agreement, with reduction of non-tariff barriers and protection of EU geographical indications in the American countries.   The report also highlights concerns about the agreement's potential impact on environment and human rights, noting that an adequate legal framework could help addressing these issues.   The final report can be found here.   The Position Paper can be found in the following link. Uzbekistan Accepted into EU GSP+ Arrangement On April 9, the European Commission published a press release informing that the Republic of Uzbekistan has joined the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+) under the unilateral Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP). Following the approval, the EU started applying preferential tariffs for products imported from Uzbekistan. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/agricultural-quality-standards-update-april-2021Pesticides Update: April 2021MRLs Update, Chlorantraniliprole The European Commission has notified the WTO of the ratification of a draft amending Annexes to the Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 on Maximum Residue Limits (MRLs). For tree nuts, the new MRL value for chlorantraniliprole will be set to 0.03 mg/kg.   The WTO notification can be found here. Pesticide Update, Abamacetin The European Commission has notified the WTO about a draft Commission Implementing Regulation renewing the approval of the active substance abamectin with restriction to uses in permanent greenhouses. EU Member States shall amend/withdraw authorizations for plant protection products containing abamectin as an active substance. The deadline for comments on the draft is on May 14, 2021.   The WTO notification can be found here. MRLs Update, Flupyradifurone and Difluoroacetic Acid The European Commission has notified the WTO about the draft Regulation reviewing existing MRLs for flupyradifurone and difluoroacetic acid in foodstuff. The levels of difluoroacetic acid in tree nuts are increased from 0.02 to 0.04 mg/kg, while the proposed new levels for flupyradifurone (in tree nuts) are increased to 0.02 mg/kg. Moreover, an increase of MRL for flupyradifurone in table grapes is proposed in the draft, from 0.8 mg/kg to 3 mg/kg. The deadline for comments on the draft is on May 18, 2021.   The WTO notification can be found here. Pesticide Update, Phosmet Non-Renewal The European Commission has notified the WTO about a draft Commission Implementing Regulation, which provides that the approval of the active substance phosmet is not renewed in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009. EU Member States shall withdraw authorizations for plant protection products containing phosmet as an active substance. Member States can allow products treated with phosmet a grace period of 6 months from the entry into force of the draft. The deadline for comments on the draft is on May 24, 2021.   The WTO notification can be found here. MRLs Update, Propineb The European Commission has notified the WTO about a draft amending Annexes to the Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 on MRLs. For tree nuts, the MRL value will be set to 0.2 mg/kg. The draft regulation also proposes changes to MRLs for flubendiamide, among others. The deadline for comments on the draft is on May 30, 2021.   The WTO notification can be found here. MRLs Update, Japan In a recent United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) GAIN report, Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) announced revisions to Japan’s MRLs for 13 agricultural chemicals (Tolfenpyrad, Fenquinotrione, Flazasulfuron, Cypermethrin, Isometamidium, Eugenol, Chlorhexidine, Decoquinate, Nafcillin, Nitroxinil, Virginiamycin, Mecillinam, and Menbutone) for various agricultural commodities.   Link to the USDA GAIN report can be found here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-april-2021Latest Trade News and Agreements: April 2021Serbia and UK Sign Partnership, Trade and Cooperation Agreement According to a recent press release published by Euractiv, Serbian Trade Minister Tatjana Matić and the British Ambassador to Serbia, Sian MacLeod, signed an agreement to support bilateral partnership, trade and cooperation.   According to Ms. Matić, the agreement would maintain the level of bilateral cooperation that existed prior to Brexit, which will allow British businesses to trade as they did before January 1, 2021. Trade between the two countries is valued at around £682m. UN Initiative to Enhance Agricultural Trade Between African Nations The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), together with the African Union (AU) Commission, have developed an initiative aiming to boost the agricultural sector to contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth across the African continent. Formally known as the “Framework for Boosting Intra-African Trade in Agricultural Commodities and Services”, the initiative covers topics such as infrastructure development, trade policies and market integration, among others. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-april-2021Food Safety Update: April 2021FAO Report: Organic Label Not a Guarantee of Food Safety According to a recent report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the organic label is not a guarantee of food safety. The report argues that the organic certification refers only to a product that has been produced in accordance with certain standards throughout the production, handling, processing and marketing stages; it does not refer to the characteristics and properties of the finished product.   Moreover, the agency says that with the adoption of proper agricultural practices, both conventional and organic farming systems have the potential to produce safe food.   The full report can be found here. EU Import Controls and Emergency Measures: New Provisions for Brazil, China, India and Turkey On April 21, the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2021/608, amending the Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 on the temporary increase of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the Union of certain goods from certain third countries, entered into force. The following provisions may affect nut and dried fruit imports: For peanuts (groundnuts) from Brazil and from China, the frequency of identity and physical checks are decreased at 10%; For peanuts (groundnuts) from India, the frequency of identity and physical checks to be performed are increased from 10% to 50%; For dried grapes from Turkey, previously listed in Annex I due to the risk of contamination by ochratoxin A, an increased level of official controls is no longer justified, the entry in the Annex should be deleted; For hazelnuts from Turkey, the frequency of non-compliance has decreased: they are deleted from Annex II, and included instead in Annex I, with the frequency of identity and physical checks at 5%. The link to the regulation can be found here. EFSA Publishes Pesticides in Food Report On April 7, the European Food Safety Authority published its latest report on pesticide residues in food in the European Union. According to the data collected (96,302 samples analyzed in 2019), more than 95% of the samples tested contained pesticide residue levels within the permitted levels.   Furthermore, a dietary risk assessment was carried out, suggesting that the food commodities analyzed in 2019 were unlikely to pose a concern for consumer health. The report concludes with recommendations aiming to increase the efficiency of European control systems. Feedback on Regulation 1793/2019, Increased Controls and Emergency Measures In recent news from the European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit, Edible Nuts, Processed Fruit & Vegetables, Processed Fishery Products (FRUCOM), the European Commission offered an update regarding the proposed changes of the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 1793/2019 on the temporary increase of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the Union of certain goods from certain third countries. For Ochratoxin A, the European Commission and Member States consider appropriate the following limits: 8 ppb for dried vine fruit (currants, raisins and sultanas) and dried figs, 2 ppb for other dried fruit (including dates), 5 ppb for pistachios. For hydrocyanic acid, the discussion is still ongoing. A maximum level of 35 ppm is provisionally concluded for almonds, however this limit may still be changed in further rounds of discussions that should take place next month. Chile Introduces Risk Assessment of Plant Products Chile’s Agriculture and Livestock Service (Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero, SAG) notified the WTO the Resolution No. 1284/2021, establishing the categorization of four groups of plant products according to their pest risk, taking into account the method and level of processing applied, and their intended use. The products include goods entering the country for use as animal feed. The text also covers verification of compliance with the certification requirements for imported organic products.   Roasted and/or salted nuts are placed in the lowest, category one of the new risk profile due to processing. The regulation entered into force on March 16, 2021.   Link to the WTO notification can be found here.           South Korea, Revision on Imported Food Safety Controls South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has notified the WTO of a proposed revision of the "Special Act on Imported Food Safety Control". The revisions proposed include authorization requirements, inspection procedures and increased fines for failing to carry out hygiene inspection for the processing company.   Link to the WTO notification can be found here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-april-2021Promotions Update: April 2021Public Consultation on Promotion of EU Farm and Food Products The European Commission is currently performing a review of the EU agricultural promotion policy, an initiative that aims to increase the awareness of the qualities of EU food products, as well as to enhance the competitiveness of the EU’s agricultural sector.   Since March 31, the Commission is asking for feedback by carrying out a public consultation on the policy, with a view to “enhancing its contribution to sustainable production and consumption, and in line with the shift to a more plant-based diet, with less red and processed meat and more fruit and vegetables.”   Any feedback will be accepted until June 23, 2021 (midnight Brussels time).   A link to the consultation can be found here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/promotions-update-april-2021Brief COVID-19 Update: April 28, 2021Increases in caseloads have been observed in all continents except for Europe. The largest increase continues to be reported by the South-East Asia Region, largely driven by India, which has registered a 50% increase in new infections compared to the previous week.   Last week, an important landmark in the vaccination campaign was reached: more than 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered. In the US, one in three people over the age of 18 years are fully vaccinated and more than half of US adults have received at least one dose of vaccine. In the EU, vaccination programs are finally ramping up inoculation rates. Moreover, several European countries are beginning to loosen restrictions on movement and economic activities.   A recent survey carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) highlighted that, over a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, 90% of countries are still reporting some degree of disruptions to their essential health services, therefore negatively affecting access to care for other health issues. Such disruptions are also having repercussions on mass vaccination campaigns against preventable diseases, putting around 228 million people –mostly children– at risk for diseases such as measles, yellow fever and polio. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-april-28-2021Speakers for the INC's Latest Webinar on the State of the IndustryThe INC will be hosting a webinar on April 26, 2021, 4:00 - 5:00pm CEST. The webinar, titled “Industry Leaders’ Outlook for Nuts & Dried Fruits: A Year Since COVID-19”, will have expert opinions and you will want to be there for the discussion! Lasting a total of one hour, the webinar plans to cover the current state of the nut and dried fruit industry, the demand and prospect for products under the INC umbrella. The panel, consisting of industry leaders from the Americas, Europe, and Asia will analyze key changes that have been brought about as a result of COVID-19 and how these changes will affect the coming years and the future of the sector. Register now! We hope you see you there on April 26, 2021 at 7:00 - 8:00am PDT | 4:00 - 5:00pm CEST | 7:30 - 8:30pm IST | 10:00 - 11:00pm HKT | April 27, 12:00 - 1:00am AEST. Webinar Speakers Webinar Chairman: Mike Hohmann, Executive Vice President and CFO, Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds, USA Mike Hohmann is Executive Vice President and CFO at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds, LLC. A wholly-owned operating company of The Wonderful Company Global, Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds is the world’s largest grower, processor, and marketer of pistachios and almonds. As Executive Vice President, Mike is responsible for leading the company’s strategic planning, industrial and international sales, along with the finance function. During Mike’s tenure at Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds, the business has grown rapidly as the company has focused on building the Wonderful Brand it the US market and focusing resources on the major international markets of China, Europe and the Middle East. Ranjeet Wallia, President, Chi Commodities, Canada Ranjeet Wallia, Founder and President/CEO of CHI was introduced to the Nut trade in 1976 by Indian walnut and cashew exporters whilst studying in India. He joined Gibbs Nathaniel Canada in 1979 and then oversaw their UK operations from 1983 to 1987. For the last 35 years, CHI Commodities Handlers Inc. have supplied North American nut salters, confectioners, bakers, box stores and chocolatiers with nuts and dried fruits. They are amongst the top 10 importers of cashews to the USA and Canada. Ranjeet is the Canadian Ambassador of the INC, a strategic advisor to VINACAS, and a member of other industry associations. José Eduardo Mendes Camargo, Co-Founder and Director, QueenNut Macadamia, Brazil José Eduardo Mendes Camargo is Director and Shareholder of QueenNut Macadamia. He has been President of the Brazilian Macadamia Association and serves now as President of the Brazilian Nuts Association (Associação Brasileira de Nozes, Castanhas e Frutas Secas, ABNC) and as the Vice President of the São Paulo State Industries Federation (Federação das Indústrias do Estado de São Paulo, FIESP). QueenNut Macadamia has been a member of the INC for 23 years. Mr. Camargo is the Brazilian Ambassador of the INC since 2013. Toño Pons, President, Importaco, Spain Toño Pons is President of Importaco, an international food company specialized in the commercialization of nuts and mineral water. He holds a degree in Economic and Business Sciences from the University of Valencia, MBA from the Business Institute, ADECA Program in San Telmo. During his career at Importaco, he has held positions of Commercial Director and General Director of the nut and dried fruit business. Committed to excellence and quality, since his appointment as President in 2018, he is leading the plans to consolidate the growth of the company based on health, sustainability and specialization. Mirko Rybin, Senior Director Global Partner Management, Bösch Boden Spies, Germany Mirko Rybin started his career with a Degree in Foreign Trade 2001 working since 1998 in dried fruit and nut business in different roles. Since 2003 he works for Bösch Boden Spies leading the Dried Fruit and Nut Ingredient Sales Team as a Director from 2011 on. Since January of this year he is Senior Director Global Partner. He is responsible for the exclusive supply partners of Bösch Boden Spies together with his team on a strategic and operational level. Bösch Boden Spies is one of Europe's leading full-service B2B suppliers of high-quality ingredients for the European trade and food industry. Vittavat (Prince) Phonphaisan, Executive Vice President, Heritage Group, Thailand Vittavat (Prince) Phonphaisan is Executive Vice President at Heritage Group, Thailand’s leading premium natural food producer, wholesaler, and exporter of healthy food and beverages. Vittavat drives brand expansion across the globe, with the company exporting to over 60 countries. Winner of the Prestige Thailand's New Generation Entrepreneur Award, Vittavat was named one of Forbes Thailand's Thriving 30s in 2014. Overseeing Heritage Group's strategic manufacturing bases, in Thailand, China, and the US, Vittavat's mission is to offer products that improve health and wellbeing, while creating positive changes within the industry. Qi (Christina) Chen, VP and Director, ChaCha Food, China Qi (Christina) Chen is Vice President and Board Director at ChaCha Food. She has held a number of senior positions and has broad experience in fast moving consumer goods, E-commerce, and equity investment. Chacha Food Company, Ltd. is a food production company based out of Hefei, AH, China. The company’s main products include traditional roasted products, including sunflower seeds, and high-end nut products, among others. The company not only sells its products in provinces and cities across China, but also exports to nearly 50 countries and regions in Southeast Asia, Europe and the United States. Ms. Chen is a member of the Board of Trustees of the INC since 2019. Thanks to all our sponsors. The INC would like to say thank you to all of our sponsors for making this event possible and continuously supporting our industry!                        https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/speakers-for-the-inc-s-latest-webinar-are-confirmedINC’s Real Power for Real People Campaign Shows the “Real Power” of Nuts and Dried Fruits to Millions Around the WorldApril 22, 2021.  Launched on October 27, 2020, the Real Power for Real People messaging focused on the concept that consuming nuts and dried fruits provides your body with the “real power” needed to face everyday challenges and be immune to everything. The campaign will be expanded during 2021/2022 to reach new audiences and build on the Real Power for Real People concept.   The campaign’s main video, which encourages consumers to add nuts and dried fruits to their daily diet, received over 1,750,000 views on YouTube. The INC also partnered with 30 social media influencers from 17 countries around the world, utilizing their more than 7,000,000 combined followers to further spread the message. In total, influencer posts garnered over 1,500,000 interactions and the campaign’s hashtag #ShareYourNutfruitPower gained over 330 publications. Moreover, the INC developed a toolkit which enabled INC members to join in and share the Real Power for Real People concept in their own markets. Over 80 INC members signed up to help to spread the goodness of nuts and dried fruits. INC Executive Director, Goretti Guasch said of the campaign, “Immunity has been pushed to the forefront of all conversations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and I am thrilled to see the success this campaign has had in positioning nuts and dried fruits as a healthy option for consumers. We are looking forward to what next year will bring and how we can expand on this message.” Download the Press Release. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-s-real-power-for-real-people-campaign-shows-the-real-power-of-nuts-and-dried-fruits-to-millions-around-the-worldUSDA FAS 2020 US Agricultural Export YearbookAccording to this report, although the value of global tree nut exports from the US, which reached $8.4 billion in 2020, was down by 7% compared to 2019, tree nuts remained the third export commodity for US farmers.   Export value to China-mainland, India and Canada was increased by 23%, 11% and 6% from 2019, respectively. However, this was offset by lower sales to China Hong Kong (-61%), the United Arab Emirates (-30%), Turkey (-27%) and the European Union + the United Kingdom (-8%).   In spite of record crops putting downward pressure on unit values, particularly for almonds (the unit value of almonds dropped around 20%), disruptions due to retaliatory tariffs and restrictive phytosanitary requirements, US exports continue to dominate the global almond, pistachio and walnut markets and they are expected to maintain its share worldwide. Exports to India keep increasing due to strong consumer demand for almonds, and to a lesser extent, walnuts, while Central and South America are potentially growing markets. More information. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/usda-fas-2020-us-agricultural-export-yearbookIranian Pistachio YTD Shipment ReportTotal monthly international shipments accounted for over 22,400 metric tons (open in-shell, closed shell, natural kernels, green peeled and split kernels and others), up 55% compared to 2019 crop year. Year-to-date exports have reached a peak of around 144,400 metric tons, the second highest since the record crop year of 2007. Considering a total production of 190,000 MT (in-shell basis), around 75% of the crop has already been shipped during the first half of the marketing year.   The Far East has been the largest market through March, accounting for 69,400 MT, almost three times over the previous year for the same period. Exports bounded for the Indian subcontinent were also increased by 64%, reaching 17,700 MT.   Although open in-shell pistachios account for around 80% of Iranian international exports, demand for natural kernel is increasing: year-to-date kernel shipments have reached 12,900 MT (in-shell equivalent), 41% above the previous 4 years average. More information. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/iranian-pistachio-ytd-shipment-reportMonitoring EU Agri-food Trade: Developments January-December 2020The European Commission has recently released its "Monitoring EU agri-food trade" analysis highlighting the latest statistics relating to EU trading relationships and product categories, and identifying notable developments. Results showed that, despite the difficult environment, from January to December 2020, the value of agri-food trade (exports + imports) reached €306.5 billion, 1% up from 2019.   In 2020 compared to 2019, the categories i) Fruit, fresh or dried (excluding citrus and tropical fruit) and ii) Preparations of vegetables, fruit or nuts reported gains of €491 million, 8.8% and €218 million, 6.4%, respectively.   One of the top origins, for which the value of EU27 agri-food imports increased in 2020, was Turkey (+€456 million, an 11% from 2019 - nuts and citrus fruits, preparations of vegetables and fruit). More information. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/monitoring-eu-agri-food-trade-developments-january-december-2020COVID-19 Update: April 21, 2021The COVID-19 pandemic continues with its rising trend. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global new cases have been rising for nearly two consecutive months, reaching a total of 141 million reported cases and causing more than 3 million deaths. India, the US and Brazil have experienced high caseloads, accounting for around 40% of last week’s total infections worldwide.   The vaccination efforts so far have allowed more than 900 million vaccine doses across 156 countries to be administered, with an estimated rate of 16.1 million jabs per day. So far, the number of doses given is enough to immunize around 5% of the global population. However, the distribution has been rather unequal, with the world’s wealthiest economies accounting for nearly 40% of the global vaccinations.   In a recent summit organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that “Vaccine equity is the challenge of our time”, however, the “dramatic” inequity in vaccine coverage, among others, have led to an alarming spike in new cases and deaths. Moreover, the WHO chief urged countries possessing large quantities of vaccines to make immediate donations to COVAX. UN In a recent speech at the Financing for Development (FfD) Forum, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres said that “An enormous push at the highest political level” is needed to address the challenges posed by COVID-19. Mr. Guterres indicated that an equitable global response to recover from the pandemic was needed, such as closing the funding gap of the UN-backed vaccine initiative, COVAX, and actions aimed to address the debt crises. UNCTAD A recent publication by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported that investment flows from the private sectors to developing and transition economies in sectors relevant for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), fell by one-third in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.   Compared to developed economies, the decline in SDG-relevant investment was much larger in developing and transition economies, most notably in infrastructure development and in the food and agriculture sector. UNECE According to a press release published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on April 13, the UNECE Task Force set up under the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP), has developed a set of key recommendations for green and healthy sustainable transport to assist Member States in the post-COVID-19 recovery. The recommendations range from supporting active mobility, by improving infrastructures and promoting activities such as cycling, to increasing investment for eco-friendly public transports. WHO In a recent press release, the WHO Chief Dr. Ghebreyesus reportedly said that the COVID-19 pandemic is “a long way from over”. The remark came after a further increase in infections worldwide was reported by the agency. However, the WHO Chief added that the pandemic could be brought under control in a few months with more consistent public health measures and a more equitable vaccination program.   Under the ongoing COVAX vaccination program, the WHO recently announced that more than 38 million doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and COVISHIELD COVID-19 vaccines have been transported globally so far. According to its latest supply forecast, COVAX expects to deliver at least 2 billion doses of vaccines in 2021.   On April 12, the WHO and partners published an interim guidance with proposals for a ban on sales of live wild mammals in traditional food markets, also known as “wet markets”, in efforts to prevent the emergence of new deadly diseases, such as COVID-19.   In addition to halting sales of wild animals, the guidelines also call for governments to enforce stricter food safety, hygiene and environmental standards in traditional food markets to reduce transmission of zoonotic diseases.  WTO On April 12, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has issued a call for proposals for this year’s Public Forum, “Trade beyond COVID-19: Building Resilience”, which is expected to be held from 28 to 30 September 2021. The Forum will revolve around the effects of the pandemic on trade and how countries can build resilience against future crises.   Following a recent meeting with the United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the WTO Director-General Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic could only be achieved with equitable access to vaccines, especially in developing and least-developed countries. Australia Australia keeps maintaining a low number of new cases, thanks to rapid response to emerging new clusters of infections and strict quarantine measures imposed on arrivals. The country’s vaccination campaign, however, has recently suffered a setback due to the decision to restrict the inoculations of the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged 50 or more. The new recommendation followed after European regulators indicated the possibility of links between the AstraZeneca shot and reports of rare cases of blood clots. Moreover, last week the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that plans to provide at least one vaccine dose to all the country’s population by year-end will inevitably be postponed. Brazil The country is still reporting a very high number of new cases and record deaths, topping more than 4,000 casualties on April 10. According to a recent news release from Reuters, the populous state of Sao Paulo has warned that its healthcare system is on the verge of collapsing, due to shortages of medications and a very high occupancy rate of the hospital’s intensive care units.   Moreover, research conducted by the public health institute Fiocruz into the variants circulating in Brazil found that the P1 coronavirus variant (commonly known as the Brazil variant) is still mutating. The researchers believe this could make the virus more resistant to vaccines. China China is currently ramping up its vaccination efforts: according to Associated Press, the Government has recently announced that it’s aiming to reach the goal of vaccinating 560 million people by June.   On April 19, a news release published by Reuters reported that Chinese researchers are testing the mixing of COVID-19 vaccine doses with the aim of boosting their efficacy. Moreover, the Chinese pharmaceutical company CanSino has recently announced it is starting clinical trials for a new COVID-19 vaccine that can be administered by inhalation.  EU On April 16, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its latest weekly situation report. Based on the data collected by the agency, the 14-day case notification rate for the EU/EEA was 464 per 100,000 population, slightly decreasing compared to last week. Hospitalizations have been increasing in most EU/EEA countries, while the mortality rate has been stable in the past six weeks. However, recent increases have been observed in nine countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Poland and Slovakia).   On April 9, the European Council approved additional funding from the EU budget, amounting to €121.5 million, to address urgent needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds, drawn from the Solidarity and Emergency Aid Reserve, will support actions such as the development of new assays to better detect coronavirus variants and improved monitoring. These funds will also support preparatory work for digital green certificates to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic.   On April 12, the European Commission announced its proposition to exempt from Value Added Tax (VAT) goods and services made available by the European Commission, EU bodies and agencies to Member States and citizens during times of crisis.   “The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that these kinds of crises are multifaceted and have a wide-ranging impact on our societies. A rapid and efficient response is essential, and we need to provide the best response now in order to prepare for the future. Today's proposal supports the EU's goal to react to crises and emergencies in the EU. It will also ensure that the financial impact of EU-level relief efforts to fight the pandemic and support the recovery is maximized,” said the EU Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni.   According to a recent press release, the European Council agreed on a mandate for negotiations with the European Parliament on the proposal for a Digital Green Certificate. This certificate would facilitate free movement during the pandemic by providing proof that a person has either been vaccinated against COVID-19, received a negative test result or recovered from the disease. Two legislations have been proposed, one concerning EU citizens, the other applying to third-country nationals legally staying or legally residing in the territory of a Member State. France Currently under lockdown, France reported an average of more than 30,000 daily infections last week. The country plans to vaccinate the majority of the adults by the end of summer. On April 9, the French national health authority announced that people below 55 who received their first AstraZeneca dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will receive a different vaccine for their second dose.   On April 14, Euronews reported that France has suspended all flights to and from Brazil, citing the decision to suspend as an attempt to limit the introduction of the Brazil coronavirus variant.  Germany On April 12, Germany surpassed 3 million reported COVID-19 cases. With more than 100,000 weekly new infections and high numbers of hospitalizations, the German Health Minister Jens Spahn recently urged federal states to impose further restrictions to try to slow down a third wave of the coronavirus.   Following the country’s decision to no longer offer the AstraZeneca vaccine to people aged under 60, people in the younger age group who had already received a first AstraZeneca dose will be offered either the Pfizer/BioNTech or the Moderna jabs for their second dose. Italy According to Reuters, the Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza recently announced that the country will aim to vaccinate every person above 60 years of age by the end of June. The announcement was made after Italy suspended the inoculation of the newly received doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on April 14, following reports of blood clotting events in the US.  Netherlands On April 13, the number of COVID-19 vaccine jabs administered in the Netherlands reached 4 million. So far, more than 21% of the adult population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. New cases and deaths around the country are slowly falling compared to the last weeks, following a steep surge last March.   The Dutch Government recently announced it had suspended the administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, pending the outcome of the European Medicine Agency’s (EMA) investigation.  Spain Following the Easter holidays, new COVID-19 cases are increasing in several of Spain’s autonomous communities. According to the latest Health Ministry report, the 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants now stands at 199, well above the “maximum risk” threshold set by the Government. In most communities, coronavirus restrictions are currently the same as before Easter (such as perimetral lockdowns and nighttime curfews).   Despite this, Spain’s vaccination program is ramping up: nearly all of the people aged over 80 have received at least one vaccine dose. Moreover, around 24% of people in the 60-to-79 age group have received at least one dose as well. Nearly 8% of the country’s population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  India With a record 200,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on April 14, India continues its upward trend in infections, bringing the total tally at 14 million. In New Delhi, weekend lockdowns allow only essential shops to be open, while in Mumbai a new set of lockdown measures determined the closure of most business, public spaces and curbs the movement of people for at least 15 days.   On April 19, New Delhi entered into a week-long lockdown, after reporting more than 25,000 new infections and 191 deaths in one day. According to the newspaper Die Welle, the measure is being introduced as hospitals in the Indian capital start to run out of beds and oxygen supplies.  Japan According to a recent press release, the governors of Tokyo, Kyoto and Okinawa have taken tougher measures in an attempt to curb a fresh surge of infections. The new measures, including shorter operating hours for the hospitality sector, should stay in place until May.  South Korea On April 12, South Korea announced that it plans to begin local production of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Novavax in June. The government reportedly indicated it would support local production of coronavirus vaccines by providing Korean pharmaceutical companies 68.7 billion won ($61.1 million).  Turkey On April 14, Turkey entered into a two weeks “partial” lockdown, coinciding with the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. The measures, imposed after a recent surge in new infections and deaths, include longer curfew hours, travel restrictions and restaurants being able to serve on a “takeaway” only basis.  United Kingdom Throughout March and most of April, UK’s COVID-19 daily cases have been staying well below 10,000. Nearly 40 million  AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccine doses have already been administered. Since April 14, England also began the rollout of the Moderna jab, offering an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine for under-30s.  United States In the US, the 7-day average of new cases showed an increase of infections since the end of March. Hospitalizations have also been rising recently, with more than 45,000 patients in hospitals around the country. However, the vaccination campaign is rapidly progressing, with more than 23% of the population now fully vaccinated.   On April 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called for a pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine following reports of a rare blood clotting disorder emerging in six women.   The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-april-21-2021INC Annual Report 2020/2021Over the past year, the INC has continuously strived to bring its mission, To stimulate and facilitate sustainable growth in the global Nut and Dried Fruit Industry, to reality. Through many virtual events, an educative program, industry and consumer publications, research into sustainability and health, a global marketing campaign, and more, the INC has worked tirelessly to promote the global consumption of our wonderful products. Though 2020 was an exhausting year for everyone, the resilience of the industry has never shone brighter. To see the 2020/2021 Annual Report in its entirety, please download: INC Annual Report  https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-annual-reportBrief COVID-19 Update: April 14, 2021Europe and the Americas are leading this trend, and now the South East of Asia is reporting rapid growth in caseloads. Despite this, progresses in the vaccination campaigns in several countries, most notably in Israel, UAE and UK, have reduced new deaths and hospitalizations. In Europe, several countries –such as France and Germany– are seeing increases in new COVID-19 infections. While France is currently under a strict lockdown, the German government is considering a short, nationwide "bridge lockdown" aimed at easing the congestion on the country’s healthcare sector. On the other hand, the improving epidemiological situation in the UK allowed the country to begin the second phase of de-escalation of its coronavirus restrictions, with non-essential shops and outdoor hospitality venues being allowed to open to the public since April 12. With nearly 500,000 weekly new cases, Brazil continues to be the worst affected country in the Americas since the beginning of the month. The new wave of infections is severely impacting the nation’s hospitals, with intensive care units showing alarming occupancy rates. India is also experiencing a steep surge in new cases, with an all-time record of 168,000 new infections reported on April 12, overtaking Brazil as the second most affected country in the world. Both Mumbai and New Delhi are currently enforcing nighttime curfews, however, no other restrictions are currently in place and, with the ‘Kumbh Mela’ festival currently ongoing, mass gatherings are expected during the period. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-april-14-20212021 Call for Promotion and Dissemination Projects Now OpenWe are pleased to announce that the INC has launched the Call for Promotion and Dissemination Projects for 2021.   The goal of this grant is to fund promotion and dissemination projects aimed at building consumer demand for nuts or dried fruits, whenever such projects are beyond the scope of the INC, i.e. projects that the INC cannot fit within its regular activity, for instance due to language or geographic challenges.   Targeted projects: Activities that provide markets and consumers with information on the properties and qualities of nuts and dried fruits (e.g. marketing campaigns at points-of-sale, education campaigns at schools…). Market research and activities aimed at ensuring that buyers, consumers and health professionals know about nuts and dried fruits and their many positive features (e.g. participation in specialized events). Priorities: Promoting nuts and dried fruits use and consumption in markets where INC headquarters face barriers of entry, for instance due to language or geographic challenges. Projects to be undertaken in developing countries. Multi-collaborative projects and cooperation with INC members and industry-related partners. Project proposals aimed at disseminating the outcomes of the scientific findings that come from INC-funded research (annual Call for Research Projects) or new scientific findings that have been published in high-impact scientific journals. Supporting the development of innovative new products and marketing initiatives. The Evaluating Committee will judge favorably innovative proposals. Up to €100,000 is available for the 2021 Grant. INC will only accept one project per institution, and will fund a maximum of €50,000 per project/institution.   All projects must be submitted using the Application Form. Applications are due by May 7, 2021, 12:00 (noon) CEST. The Guidelines and Application Form are available online. For queries about this grant, please contact Ms. Irene Gironès at irene.girones@nutfruit.org. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/2021-call-for-promotion-and-dissemination-projects-now-openINC Hosts New Webinar on the State of the IndustryThrough the first few months of 2021, the INC has continued to organize virtual events for its members and give insights into some of the topics of interest for the industry. After successful webinars in February and March, the INC will be hosting a third webinar on April 26, 2021, at 4pm CEST. This webinar, titled “Industry Leaders’ Outlook for Nuts & Dried Fruits: A Year Since COVID-19”, will have expert opinions and you will want to be there for the discussion! Lasting a total of one hour, the webinar plans to cover the current state of the nut and dried fruit industry, the demand and prospect for products under the INC umbrella. The panel, consisting of industry leaders from the Americas, Europe, and Asia will analyze key changes that have been brought about as a result of COVID-19 and how these changes will affect the coming years and the future of the sector. Chairing the webinar is Mr. Michael Hohmann, Executive Vice President and CFO of Wonderful Pistachios & Almonds, from the USA. Mr. Hohmann will be joined by the following panelists: Mr. Ranjeet Wallia, President, Chi Commodities, Canada Mr. José Eduardo Mendes Camargo, Co-Founder and Director, QueenNut Macadamia, Brazil Mr. Toño Pons, President, Importaco, Spain Mr. Mirko Rybin, Senior Director Global Partner Management, Bösch Boden Spies, Germany Mr. Vittavatt (Prince) Phonphaisan, Vice President, Heritage Snacks and Food, Thailand Ms. Qi (Christina) Chen, VP and Director, ChaCha Food, China Don’t miss out on the chance to gain a look into the nut and dried fruit sector! Register now! We hope you see you there on April 26, 2021 at 7am PDT | 4pm CEST | 7:30pm IST | 10pm HKT | April 27, 12am AEST. Thanks to all our sponsors. The INC would like to say thank you to all of our sponsors for making this event possible and continuously supporting our industry!                        https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-hosts-new-webinar-on-the-state-of-the-industryCOVID-19 Update: April 7, 2021The global vaccination campaign continues: more than 673 million doses have been administered at a rate of around 16 million doses per day. Chile, Israel, the UAE, UK and the US are leading the vaccination effort, successfully managing to deliver at least one dose to around half of their population.   On April 5, the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres said in a message that the pandemic is highlighting growing inequalities among nations, also pointing out that the vast majority of vaccine doses administered so far have been confined to “a few wealthy countries”, or those producing the shots cleared for distribution.  UN On March 25, the United Nations (UN) published a report warning that COVID-19 could lead to a lost decade for development. The 2021 Financing for Sustainable Development Report (FSDR) of the UN’s Inter-agency Task Force on Financing for Development (IATF) highlights that, due to the pandemic, around 114 million jobs have been lost and 120 million people have been plunged back into extreme poverty.   Moreover, the report says that immediate action is needed to address increasing global inequalities, with countries adopting measures such as reducing harmful tax competition and modernizing the labor market and fiscal policies. Additionally, the report also advocated for a global reporting framework to hold companies accountable for their social and environmental impact and incorporate climate risks into financial regulation.  UNECE The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is launching an online training course directed at Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) on the use of international standards. According to UNECE, International standards provide powerful tools for bolstering economic resilience, while enabling enterprises to improve their productive capacity.   Ms. Olga Algayerova, UNECE Executive Secretary, said: “As COVID-19 continues to spread, its disruptive impact is becoming more pronounced, posing unprecedented challenges for enterprises across the globe. The speed with which the pandemic-induced economic crisis unfolded took MSMEs by surprise, and many did not have crisis response plans. Others realized that their plans were simply too rigid. Standards can play a decisive role in the recovery. This self-paced training course helps MSMEs select and implement international standards that equip them with the required skill sets and production capacities to withstand a crisis and engage with transnational corporations.” UNESCO A recent study conducted by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the number of children lacking basic reading skills amounted to 584 million. This increase −more than 20 percent compared to the previous year− wiped out two decades of education gains, the agency said.   Since the beginning of the pandemic, the complete or partial closures of schools worldwide have disrupted education efforts for an average of 25 weeks, says the report, with the highest learning losses projected to be in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and in Central and Southern Asia.    WHO The World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent epidemiology update reported that new COVID-19 cases and deaths rose for a fifth consecutive week. All regions reported an increase in the number of cases this week, particularly in the Americas and European Regions, that continue to account for nearly 80% of all the cases and deaths.   In a recent joint statement, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the WHO  called on governments to prioritize seafarers and aircrew in their national COVID-19 vaccination programs. WTO On March 31, the World Trade Organization (WTO) published its revised forecast for the volume of world merchandise trade, now expected to increase by 8.0% in 2021. After falling by 5.3% in 2020, the WTO indicated that the rebound from the pandemic-induced collapse would eventually slow down in 2022 to 4.0%.   On a recent meeting of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures, the WTO Secretariat provided updates on COVID-19 and SPS issues, reporting a total of 86 SPS notifications and other communications related to COVID-19 submitted by members. During the meeting, it was pointed out that assessments by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), WHO and other bodies found no evidence that food could be a source of COVID-19.  Australia COVID-19 cases in Australia have stayed relatively low, thanks to a series of snap lockdowns and effective tracking and testing systems. On April 1, the 3-day lockdown imposed over Queensland’s capital Brisbane ended, after only one new case was detected. Brazil With more than 500,000 new cases reported in the last 7 days, the epidemiological situation in Brazil is still concerning. To date, the country recorded around 13 million infections and more than 300,000 deaths since the pandemic began last year.   According to a recent publication by the New Scientist magazine, the Brazilian health system currently is being pressured by high numbers of hospitalizations, as well as a relatively slow vaccination rollout.   On March 30, Reuters reported that producer prices in Brazil rose in February at their fastest rate since 2014, further mounting pressure on the country’s economy. The increase was mainly driven by mining costs, however food price inflation contributed to more than a quarter of the overall rise. Chile Despite achieving high vaccination rates, COVID-19 cases have been on the rise for the past three weeks. The increase in numbers recently prompted the government to impose a new lockdown, affecting nearly 80% of the country’s population.   According to a news release published by the New York Times, on March 28 Chile’s President Sebastián Piñera asked the Congress to delay for five weeks the election of an assembly to write a new constitution. China According to a news release published by the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong will lift its entry ban on Chinese residents coming from the United Kingdom. Moreover, all travelers coming from “low-risk” countries (Australia, New Zealand and Singapore) will be able to enter the city for the first time in over a year.   Since April 1, COVID-19 restrictions were eased with pools and beaches allowed to reopen to the public. Entertainment venues, such as cinemas and amusement parks, will be allowed to fill up to 75% of capacity. EU On April 1, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its latest weekly situation report. Based on the data collected by the agency, the 14-day case notification rate for the EU/EEA was 434 per 100,000 population. The rate has been increasing throughout the month. The mortality rate has been stable in the past three weeks, however recent increases have been observed in nine countries (Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland and Romania).   On March 26, the Regulation (EU) 2021/522, establishing the EU4Health program, entered into force. The program will make available around €5.1 billion to strengthen the resilience of health systems and promote innovation in the health sector. According to a press release published by the Commission, the funding will contribute to the post-COVID-19 recovery.   On March 30, the European Commission reported that it had disbursed €13 billion to six EU Member States in the sixth installment of financial support, under the European instrument for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE). With the latest tranche of loans, 17 EU Member States have received a total of €75.5 billion −out of €100 billion− under the SURE instrument in back-to-back loans.   “The crisis is tough on many workers, who fear for their jobs. This is why we have created SURE, to mobilise €100 billion in loans to finance short-time work schemes across the EU. Today we are disbursing a new tranche of €13 billion under SURE, supporting workers and companies in six Member States. This helps protect jobs and enables economies to recover faster from the crisis,” said the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.   On March 31, the European Commission proposed €4.5 million, from the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), to support tourism workers and self-employed in Estonia who lost their jobs as a consequence of COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, Estonia’s labor market has been heavily impacted. The unemployment rate increased significantly during 2020 to around 7%. In December 2020, some 49,000 people were unemployed in the country. France Since last year, France recorded more than 4.7 million COVID-19 cases and nearly 100,000 deaths. Since mid-March, the country has been experiencing a steep increase in new infections, topping more than 66,000 on April 5.   On March 31, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a nationwide lockdown. New restrictions include an overnight curfew, closure of all schools and non-essential shops, as well as a domestic travel ban between regions, unless motivated by an essential reason.  Italy Italy imposed a strict three-day lockdown over Easter, restricting travel and public gatherings. The country has been recording an average of 20,000 daily new cases since the beginning of March, bringing the overall caseload at more than 3.6 million. Although the 14-day case notification rate is slowly decreasing, hospitalization rates and overall pressure over the healthcare system are still elevated. Netherlands The Netherlands has halted the use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for people under the age of 60 after five new cases of blood clots emerged, affecting women between 25 and 65 years of age. The move followed a previous decision by Germany to suspend inoculations to people under 60 on March 30.  Spain On March 31, the Spanish Government approved a series of new prevention measures such as making mask wearing mandatory in all public spaces across the country, regardless of the distance with others.  India In India, COVID-19 cases have been continuously increasing during the past month, from a few thousand per day to nearly 70,000 on March 29. Around 12 million cases and more than 160,000 deaths have been recorded, the third highest tally worldwide. The western state of Maharashtra accounted for most of the news cases.   On April 1, the country announced it will extend its vaccination program to people above 45. So far, around 64 million jabs have been administered.  Japan On April 1, the Japanese Government announced the imposition of emergency measures in the western region of Osaka following a surge in COVID-19 cases.   For the first time, the new measures will allow local leaders more freedom to enforce targeted measures in specific neighborhoods, towns and districts within their jurisdiction. The new restrictions include shorter business hours and a ban on large gatherings.  South Korea On March 26, South Korea extended its coronavirus distancing rules, as well as reduced business hours for the hospitality sector and ban on gatherings of five or more people. The measures are expected to stay in place for around two weeks. Turkey On March 28, Turkey’s COVID-19 death toll rose above 30,000. The country is currently experiencing a steep surge in new infections, with an all-time record of 37,000 cases recorded on March 31.   So far, Turkey has administered about 13 million vaccine doses. Nearly 8 million people have received a first shot and around 5 million a second dose of the vaccine developed by the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech. United Kingdom According to data published by Public Health England (PHE), the United Kingdom keeps following a downturn trajectory in new cases and deaths. More than 30 million people have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine so far, and around 4 million are fully vaccinated.   Since March 29, the step 1 of the government’s “roadmap out of lockdown” concluded with the end of the “stay at home rule”, thus allowing up to six people or two different households to meet outside.   On March 30, the Office of National Statistic (ONS) published a Coronavirus Infection Survey estimating that around 50% of UK’s population would have tested positive for antibodies against the coronavirus. According to the survey, recent data show a reduction in antibody positivity rates among older individuals, highlighting the positive effects of the vaccination campaign. United States According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overall COVID-19 cases have decreased in the US for the past ten weeks. However, increases have been observed in the 7-day average of new cases. A news release recently published by Reuters reported that health officials have expressed concerns about the increase in travel around the Easter holiday and school spring breaks, at a time when more infectious variants of the coronavirus are circulating.   To date, around one in four Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, at a ratio of more than 2.4 million doses administered every day. More than 46 million people have been fully vaccinated.   The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-april-7-2021Brief COVID-19 Update: March 31, 2021In the EU, high COVID-19 transmission rates have been reported in most countries. Several countries, such as Italy, Germany and Belgium, have imposed strict containment measures in an attempt to curb increasing infections. On March 26, the EU4Health initiative was approved by the European Commission. The program will make available funds up to €5.1 billion to increase the resilience of health systems and promote innovation in the health sector. According to a press release published by the Commission, the funding will contribute to the post-COVID-19 recovery, as well as supporting the fight against cross-border health threats and boosting the EU's preparedness and capability to respond effectively to future health crisis.   In the US, coronavirus cases are also increasing, however less steeply. Around 143 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered, according to data recently published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To date, more than 52 million Americans have been fully vaccinated. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-march-31-2021Labeling Update: March 31, 2021New Protected Designation of Origin for Italian Pistachio “di Raffadali” On March 15, the European Commission authorized the protected geographical indication status for ‘Pistacchio di Raffadali’, a southern Italian pistachio variety cultivated in the region of Sicily. Regulation (EU) 2021/474 will enter into force on April 12, 2021.   The ‘Pistacchio di Raffadali’ denomination will be reserved for the product (in shell, shelled or peeled) of plants of the botanical species ‘Pistacia vera’, ‘Napoletana’ cultivar, also known as ‘Bianca’ or ‘Nostrana’, grafted on to ‘Pistacia terebinthus’, commonly known as ‘Scornabeccu’. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-march-31-2021Food Safety Update: March 31, 2021EU Proposed Levels of Cadmium in Nuts Notified to WTO On March 15, the European Commission submitted to the World Trade Organization (WTO) a draft regulation amending Regulation (EC) 1881/2006 regarding maximum levels of cadmium in certain foods.   The draft regulation sets the following maximum levels of cadmium (mg/kg wet weight): Tree nuts, except pine nuts: 0,20 Pine nuts: 0,30 Peanuts: 0,20 The WTO has set the deadline for comments by WTO members for May 14, 2021. Estimated date of adoption by the EU is June 2021. The Annex with the full list of foodstuff impacted by the regulation can be found here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-march-31-2021Latest Trade News and Agreements: March 31, 2021EU and US Temporally Suspend Tariffs Linked to the Airbus/Boeing Dispute As previously announced, on March 5, the EU and the US agreed to a 4-month suspension on all retaliatory tariffs placed during the longstanding dispute over aircraft subsidies. The suspension period was deemed necessary for the two sides to eventually negotiate a settlement agreement.   Reciprocal tariffs of around $7.5 and $4 billion on European and US exports were imposed during the last two years, impacting a wide range of products as well as foods such as peanuts and dates, among others.   Following the announcement, on March 11, the implementing acts were published, bringing into effect the suspension of the tariffs as from March 11, 2021, for a four-month period ending July 11, 2021.   The implementing act published by the EU can be found here.   The US’ implementing act can be found here. EU-US: Little Progress over Section 232 Steel and Aluminum Tariffs, Impact on Cranberries Trade According to recent news from the European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit, Edible Nuts, Processed Fruit & Vegetables, Processed Fishery Products (FRUCOM), the ongoing dispute over the Section 232 Steel and Aluminum tariffs between the US and the EU has shown little signs of progress. The tariffs, imposed by the previous US President's administration, were met with retaliatory measures by the EU.   Under the EU Regulation 2018/886, from June 1, 2021, the EU will apply higher tariffs to US goods such as dried cranberries, unless a negotiated solution to the dispute is reached between the US and the EU before then. Presently, dried cranberries originating from the US are imported with 0% duty in application of tariff suspensions by the EU under a special scheme for US originating products of which there are limited alternative sources. From June 1, 2021, US cranberries could face a 25% import tariff under the Regulation, if there is a failure by the EU and the US to resolve the dispute. US: Biden Administration Releases 2021 President’s Trade Agenda On March 1, 2021, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) delivered President Biden’s 2021 Trade Agenda and 2020 Annual Report to Congress. Some of the main priorities outlined by the Agenda are: Actions aimed to minimize the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially by boosting the vaccination campaign and maintaining the supplies of medical equipment Promotion of equitable economic growth by including strong, enforceable labor standards in trade agreements that protect workers’ rights and increase economic security. Stimulating global market opportunities for American farmers, ranchers and food manufacturers. The full report can be viewed here.   A fact sheet outlining key highlights of the report is available here.  US: House Passes Farm Workforce Modernization Act On March 18, The House of Representatives approved H.R. 1603, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. The bill contains provisions related to foreign farmworkers, establishes the certified agricultural worker (CAW) status and changing the H-2A temporary worker program.   The bill makes various changes to the H-2A program, such as: modifying the method for calculating and making adjustments to the H-2A worker minimum wage, specifying how an employer may satisfy requirements that it attempted to recruit US workers, requiring H-2A employers to guarantee certain minimum work hours, making the program available for agricultural work that is not temporary or seasonal, and reserving a visa allocation for the dairy industry. The Act can be found here. UK Delays Customs Checks on EU Imports by Six More Months According to a news release published by Euractiv, on March 11 the UK Government will be delaying customs checks on imports from the EU and elsewhere by six months, to January 2022. The move, which is the second six-month delay made by the UK, should ease the burden on traders operating between the UK and the EU.   The EU instead has been imposing full customs checks at the border since January 1, 2021. The extension on checks followed a previous decision by the UK Government to extend the grace periods on customs checks for goods traveling to Northern Ireland, which caused the EU to start legal action over an alleged breach of the Northern Ireland Protocol. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-march-31-2021Pesticides Update: March 31, 2021MRLs Update, Imidacloprid In recent news from the European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit, Edible Nuts, Processed Fruit & Vegetables, Processed Fishery Products (FRUCOM), the manufacturer of pesticide imidacloprid (Bayer) said it will not attempt to attempt to defend import tolerances for the neonicotinoid pesticide in the EU. According to Bayer, the European Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for imidacloprid are likely to expire by the end of 2022, and be replaced at the default level of the Limit of Quantification (LoQ), which is 0.01mg/kg.https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-march-31-2021Sustainability Update: March 31, 2021European Green Deal: Commission Presents Actions to Boost Organic Production On March 25, the European Commission (EC) presented an action plan for the development of organic production, as part of the European Green Deal initiative. Its overall aim is to boost the production and consumption of organic products, to reach 25% of agricultural land under organic farming by 2030.   Moreover, the Action Plan aims to improve organic farming's performance in terms of sustainability, with initiatives set to reduce the sector's carbon footprint, and minimizing the use of plastics, water and energy. Under the Plan, there will be an increase in the share of research and innovation (R&I) and around 30% of the budget for research and innovation actions in the field of agriculture, forestry and rural areas to topics specific to or relevant for the organic sector.   As per the EC communication to the Parliament, the area under organic farming has increased by almost 66% in the last 10 years –from 8.3 million hectares in 2009 to 13.8 million hectares in 2019. It currently accounts for 8.5% of the EU’s total ‘utilized agricultural area’. This increase has progressed along with a substantial increase in retail sales. These have doubled in value, from approximately €18 billion in 2010 to more than €41 billion in 2019. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/agricultural-quality-standards-update-march-31-2021Table Dates Production Progress Report Table Dates Production Progress Report According to industry sources, the overall production of dates has progressed in volume, as in previous years. The quality in some producing countries has decreased following certain climatic hazards but also a drop in orchard maintenance related to COVID-19.   Sales of table dates dropped down during Ramadhan 2020 and this decrease was accentuated during Christmas, mainly due to the pandemic: lockdown, curfew and other restriction measurements slowed down the sales. Moreover, importers and local traders faced some difficulties to forecast consumption and were not able to sign long-term contracts. The purchasing was therefore done step by step and the market is bearish. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/table-dates-crop-progress-reportDried Cranberries Production Progress Report Dried Cranberries Production Progress Report The 2020 cranberry crop finished at 11.6 million barrels up 3% from last year. However, an average crop based on current acres would be close to 13 million barrels. For the second-year weather-related issues throughout the growing season have affected supply. Fruit for production of dried cranberries remains very tight against demand and, as a result, pricing should remain firm though to new crop 2021. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/dried-cranberries-crop-progress-reportPrunes Production Progress Report US Prunes Production Progress Report According to the California Prune Board, steady shipments continued in both domestic and key export markets as consumers looked for nutritious, shelf-stable snacks and delectable ingredients to integrate into their home meals and bakery items. Although COVID-19 has presented challenges in the supply chain, it has also led to opportunities in the marketplace.   The robust sales environment, in combination with a shorter 2020 crop of approximately 45,000 MT, has helped to balance inventory and strengthen the outlook heading into the upcoming bloom of the 2021 crop. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/prunes-crop-progress-reportInternational Day of ForestsThis year the International Day of Forests, March 21, was celebrated under the theme "Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”. To raise awareness of the importance of forests in sustainable development and human nutrition, the INC collaborated with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the creation of a short video documentary on wild nuts health properties and contribution to sustainable livelihoods.   The video is about how responsibly sourced nuts from sustainably managed forests and agroforestry can enrich our diets and contribute to our health and well-being.   Restoring forest ecosystems is key to mitigating the effects of climate change, halting biodiversity loss, and supporting the livelihoods of millions of people worldwide. Nuts have been part of sustainable food systems since the dawn of time. They are a good example of ancient forest foods that have had a profound impact on global diets and cultures. Forest and tree nuts are vital for our healthy nutrition, well-being, biodiversity, and the livelihood of entire communities.    You can watch the 4-minute video, “Forests in a nutshell”, on YouTube. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/international-day-of-forestsBelgian Retailer Colruyt Introduces the Eco-Score Sustainability Label for Food ProductsThe Belgian supermarket chain Colruyt has introduced the rating system Eco-Score, to indicate the environmental impact of its food products labeled ‘Boni Selection’.   Eco-Score comes with a front-of-pack (FOP) label consisting of a color and a letter code, as well as a barcode that can be scanned by the Eco-Score app for fuller information. The score is calculated by combining two elements: Results of the life cycle analysis (‘from farm to fork’) of more than 2,500 product categories available in the Agribalyse database, developed by the French governmental agency ADEME (Agence de la transition écologique) Extra indicators, according to a bonus-malus system, such as food production methods, products impact on biodiversity and recyclability of the packaging. “People want simple, relevant information. They want to go beyond how healthy a product is and what its nutritional value is. Market research has shown that customers are also asking questions about the environmental impact of their products. It is up to us as retailers to help them, starting with our private label products,” said the responsible for the Eco-Score project at Colruyt Group, Stefan Goethaert, in a company’s press release. Main image source: Datagir https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/belgian-retailer-colruyt-introduces-the-eco-score-sustainability-label-for-food-productsCOVID-19 Update: March 24, 2021Despite this, a recent report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) forecasted that the global economy is set to grow by 4.7% this year thanks to a stronger-than-expected recovery in the United States, especially due to increased consumer spending and progress distributing COVID-19 vaccines.   At a recent media briefing, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that without a more equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, the global effort in reducing infections and deaths would be hindered. The WHO chief also urged countries to continue using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded its safety review following a series of reports in several EU countries of major side effects, reportedly linked to the vaccine. OECD According to the latest Economic Outlook published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the global economy is experiencing a moment of recovery, as activity in many sectors has picked up and partially adapted to pandemic restrictions. Global economic prospects have improved over recent months with signs of a rebound in goods trade and industrial production.   Thanks to these factors, the global GDP growth is now projected to be 5.6% this year. World output is expected to reach pre-pandemic levels by mid-2021, however, this estimation is dependent on the speed and efficacy of the global vaccination rollout, the report concludes.  WHO The World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent epidemiology update reported a new rise in global cases, up 10% compared to the previous week. The Americas and Europe continue to account for over 80% of new cases and deaths, with rises in new cases seen in all regions. The highest numbers of new cases were reported from Brazil, the US, France, Italy and notably in India, where a 30% increase in new cases was reported.   On March 12, the WHO listed the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) for emergency use in all countries and for COVAX roll-out. The decision came following the recent authorization of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The vaccine from Janssen is the first to be listed by WHO as a single dose regimen, which should facilitate vaccination logistics in all countries.   “Every new, safe and effective tool against COVID-19 is another step closer to controlling the pandemic,” said WHO Director-General, Dr. Adhanom. WTO According to the latest update of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Services Trade Barometer, the index has risen sharply to 104.7, above the baseline value of 100 and well above the low point of 91.2 earlier in the pandemic. This suggests that world services trade growth accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2020.   The outlook for 2021, however, is uncertain as continuing lockdown measures in response to surges in COVID-19 infections have continued to weigh on growth and employment in major economies since the start of the year. This is due to lower performing indices such as a persistent weakness in air transport (81.0). In contrast, other component indices have all risen above the trend, including container shipping (104.3) and construction (106.3).  Australia Australia has reported over 29,000 cases and around 900 deaths since the pandemic began. The relatively low numbers are helped by international border closures, lockdowns and strict social-distancing rules.   On March 14, the Australian Government announced that more than AU$1.1 billion will be made available to extend the national COVID-19 health response and suppression strategy until December 31, 2021. The additional funding will be used to support programs such as testing and tracing, and telehealth services.   Moreover, a news article published by Reuters reported that the government recently unveiled a AU$1.2 billion ($928 million) tourism support package, aimed at boosting local travel while international routes remain closed because of the pandemic. Brazil On March 16, Brazil’s Health Ministry reported more than 2,800 deaths in a single day, which is the highest daily total since the pandemic began one year ago. Additionally, 83,926 new COVID-19 cases were reported, bringing the total caseload to more than 11 million.   Last week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced the appointment of cardiologist Marcelo Queiroga as Health Minister. Dr. Queiroga is replacing Army General Eduardo Pazuello, who has led the ministry since May 16, 2020. Chile According to Chile’s Health Ministry, more than 5 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Despite this, a recent surge in cases prompted the government to approve stricter containment measures on March 11. Under the new restrictions, the Santiago metropolitan region, which is home to 40% of the nation’s population, will be under strict weekend quarantines, with night curfews and non-essential shops being forced to close. China On March 16, Associated Press reported that China has approved a new COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. It is the fifth coronavirus vaccine approved in China and the fourth to be given emergency use approval.   According to the Chinese Embassy in the UK, facilitations for visa applicants who have been inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines produced in China, and obtained the vaccination certificate, will allow foreigners to apply for visas to enter the country. EU On March 18, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its latest weekly situation report. Based on the data collected by the agency, the 14-day case notification rate for the EU/EEA was 381 per 100,000 population. The rate has been increasing for the last three weeks. Pressure on the healthcare systems in 15 countries has been increasing too. The mortality rate, however, has been stable in the past two weeks, with decreases observed in most countries.   On March 11, the European Commission granted a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) for the COVID‑19 vaccine developed by Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, one of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson, and the fourth COVID-19 vaccine authorized in the EU. This authorization follows a positive scientific recommendation based on an assessment of the safety, effectiveness and quality of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and is endorsed by the Member States.   The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: "The Janssen vaccine is the fourth authorized vaccine of the EU's portfolio and will help us enhance the vaccination campaign in the second quarter of 2021. It only requires a single dose, which takes us another step closer to achieving our collective goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by the end of summer".   On the same day, the Commission proposed a package of almost €530 million in additional financial support under the EU Solidarity Fund (EUSF), aimed to safeguard the public health of 17 Member States, as well as Albania, Serbia and Montenegro. The funding is meant to support part of public expenditure on medical and personal protective equipment, emergency support to the population, and measures of prevention, monitoring and control of the spread of COVID-19.   On March 16, the European Commission disbursed €9 billion to seven EU Member States in the fifth installment of financial support under the Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE) program. These loans aim to assist Member States in addressing sudden increases in public expenditure due to the countries’ efforts to preserve employment. Belgium On March 22, the news agency Euractiv reported that the Belgian government has extended the country’s travel ban until April 18. Belgium is currently seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, with a rate of more than 400 cases per 100,000 people. The reproduction rate is being calculated at 1.13, which means that the pandemic is currently expanding in the country. Bulgaria Following two weeks increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths, the country has entered into a 10-day lockdown on March 22. “The aim of the measures is to control the epidemic without coming back to the bad memories of October and November,” reportedly said Bulgaria’s Health Minister Kostadin Angelov.  Estonia On March 18, Estonia entered into a month-long lockdown in which non-essential shops, schools and hospitality venues are closed. The country is currently facing a large surge of infections due to the spreading of the reportedly more contagious UK variant of the virus. France According to Euronews, on March 11, France’s Foreign Minister announced that the country would relax its travel restrictions to and from seven non-EU countries. People traveling to and from Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Singapore will be able to do so without the need to prove a compelling reason. However, travelers will still need to present a negative PCR test conducted less than 72 hours before departure.   On March 19, the Paris area and other 16 regions started a month-long lockdown aimed to curb a recent surge in infections. Non-essential shop closures and movement outside is restricted in the affected regions, however, schools will stay open. Germany On March 16, the news agency Deutsche Welle reported that according to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases (RKI), COVID-19 cases are growing again. The country had just started erasing the restrictions two weeks ago, allowing non-essential shops to reopen.   Due to the current increase in infection rates, on March 22, the German Government announced that the ongoing lockdown would be extended until April 18, along with further restrictions imposed during the Easter week. Italy In the past two weeks, Italy has registered more than 20,000 new daily infections, bringing the total to more than 3 million confirmed cases. The country recently surpassed 100,000 total fatalities due to COVID-19, which is the second-highest tally in Europe after the UK.   Since March 15, new restrictions were imposed on 10 Italian regions where COVID-19 cases have been steadily increasing. In the so-called “red areas”, schools, shops and restaurants are closed and residents, who account for more than 60% of the country’s population, will be required to stay at home except for work, health or other essential reasons. Poland Poland has been experiencing a steep surge in COVID-19 infections during the last two weeks, bringing the total to around 2 million confirmed cases. On March 20, new restrictions were imposed such as the closure of all non-essential activities and most schools. These measures would stay in place until at least April 9. As of today, there are no plans on restricting movement. Spain After the third wave of infections observed throughout January, Spain’s epidemiological situation has been steadily improving in the last few weeks. The 14-day cumulative number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants is currently below 130.   However, during the government’s last press conference, Fernando Simón, Director of the Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts (CCAES), pointed at the fact that the rate at which new coronavirus infections are falling has stabilized. A recent article from the newspaper El País reported that health experts are urging authorities to maintain the current restriction measures to avoid a fourth wave, especially during the Easter period.  India India is currently experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases, particularly due to a large surge of infections in the western state of Maharashtra. The country has so far recorded more than 11 million cases and nearly 160,000 victims, the third-highest worldwide.   On March 15, the Nagpur district in Maharashtra entered into a lockdown for the first time since nationwide curbs were lifted in June.  Japan On March 22, the Japanese government lifted the state of emergency over Tokyo metropolitan area, which was in place since last January. Leisure and hospitality venues will be able to open for longer times during the day and parks are open to the public, although officials are urging citizens to avoid holding cherry blossom-viewing parties.   Despite the easing of coronavirus restrictions, Japan is maintaining the country’s entry ban on nonresident foreign nationals due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus variants. Residents in Japan will be allowed to enter the country after submitting a negative COVID-19 test and subsequently self-isolate for 14 days. Turkey According to the latest data published by WHO, Turkey is currently facing a surge of COVID-19 infections. The country’s total number of cases is now risen to more than 3 million, with nearly 30,000 deaths.   The country started its vaccination campaign last January. To date, around 11 million doses of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine have been administered, with more than 8 million people vaccinated so far.  United Kingdom According to the latest figures published by Public Health England (PHE), the country registered around 5,000 new daily cases on March 22, bringing the total to around 4 million. Hospitalizations and deaths are falling too since the beginning of the month.   On March 20, the UK Government published a press release reporting that around half of all adults in the UK have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. UK health services vaccinated a total of 26.8 million people between December 8 and March 19 with first doses, while 2.1 million people have had their second dose so far. United States The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) latest weekly review reported that COVID-19 cases have decreased in the US for the past nine weeks. Moreover, around one in five Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, at a ratio of more than 2 million doses administered every day. The country recently passed the target of 100 million vaccine jabs, and several states started loosening travel restrictions.   The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-march-24-2021Brief COVID-19 Update: March 17, 2021From that moment, governments all around the world started implementing restriction rules, travel bans and lockdowns aiming to curb the surge of the new, deadly disease. These measures keep having a profound effect over economies and people’s lives. A year after, COVID-19 has infected more than 118 million people and caused over 2.6 million victims around the world. Transmission of the virus is still widespread, especially in Europe, Africa and Middle East. Furthermore, the continuous spreading of reportedly more contagious COVID-19 mutations keep pressuring global healthcare systems, thus prolonging the countries’ restrictive measures. By the end of 2020, new coronavirus vaccines were developed and a global vaccination campaign started. To date, more than 300 million doses were administered worldwide, with the US, UK, Israel and Chile leading the immunization effort. New vaccines are being developed such as the single-shot vaccine from Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, recently being approved for emergency use by the European Medicine Agency (EMA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) under the COVAX program. Moreover, large economic relief measures –to contrast the negative effect of the COVID-19 restrictions– were recently approved such as the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) in the EU and the newly ratified $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill in the US. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-march-17-2021Brazil Nuts Crop Progress Report Brazil Nuts Crop Progress Report Over 2020, like the rest of the world, South America has also faced the global pandemic. For the Brazil nuts industry, this meant the starting and stopping of production, which affected yields. Falling prices through the year resulted in all factories ending up losing money as they were forced to cover raw material at the start of the crop when prices are higher. Port difficulties, with lack of containers and vessels missing port, were also worsen last year. And all of this amidst political turmoil in Bolivia as the government changed twice from an interim government followed back to the original party after a second election.   While volumes exported started low and had months well below average, bumper months in September, October & November pushed exports level back to normal. Total exports from South America in 2020 added up to around 31,000 metric tons (Bolivia, 77%, Peru, 13% and Brazil, 10%); up by 10% from 2019. The total value though was fairly below the last years’ average.   By the beginning of 2021, carryover was short as yields were lower than what factories had anticipated. Raw material started to be negotiated at levels above the ending export price of 2020. Initially, exporters pushed back but intervention with the assistance of the government eventually set pricing at that higher level. Thus, exporters who had made a few speculative sales of 2021 withdrew from the market to cover that material as raw material no longer supported that price.   Going forward, shippers are likely to stay withdrawn until more raw material flows from the forest to the factories. Some markets for Brazil nuts are well covered already, but the smaller users, who buy every few months, are not. Smaller shippers, who buy material and then sell against the raw material replacement price, may start to push up the export prices with buyers who are in need of stock and, in turn, will start paying higher prices for raw material. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brazil-nuts-crop-progress-reportMacadamias Crop Forecast Report Australia Macadamia Crop Forecast Report As reported by the Australian Macadamia Society, weather conditions have been favorable with the majority of regions receiving good rains over December and early January. While some varieties are performing better than others, overall early indications for the 2021 crop are positive. Given the favorable conditions combined with new plantings coming into bearing, the 2021 crop is predicted to reach 50,770 MT in-shell at 3.5% NIS moisture content, based on a model developed by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.   The final crop forecast for the 2020 season is 46,900 MT in-shell. Orchards weathered the drought conditions well in 2020, proving how naturally resilient these native trees are. Sustained investment by growers in orchard floor management continues, which is integral to managing soil moisture. South Africa Macadamia Crop Forecast Report According to Macadamias South Africa, the 2020 crop added up to 48,925 metric tons in-shell at 1.5 % kernel moisture content, down 17% from 2019. As previously reported, adverse conditions during flowering and early nut development, mature orchards, pruning (or the lack thereof) and insects and diseases played a role in the decline of the 2020 macadamia crop. Crop 2021 is anticipated to be similar to 2020. Tropical storm Eloise is not expected to have a major impact on yields and rainfall in the major producing areas might favor nut development and yields. Kenya Macadamia Crop Forecast Report As per the Nut Processors Association of Kenya, the 2020 crop is likely to close at 39,750 MT, at 10% NIS moisture content/37,000 MT NIS 3.5 m.c, 7% above 2019 closing of 37,200 MT/34,700 MT. The precipitation and sunshine were good and the quality of nuts is expected to be better than last year. Based on the recent year's plantings and with new trees coming to fruition every year, crop 2021 is projected to reach 45,300 MT/42,250 MT.   Kernel sales have been slower than the previous year owing to COVID-19 market disruptions. The closing inventories for 2019 have cleared and the industry is looking forward to a market resurgence in early 2021 to take any carryover stocks. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/macadamias-crop-forecast-reportPecans Crop Progress Report North America Pecans Crop Progress Report On January 21, 2021, the USDA released their 2020 preliminary crop production forecast projecting a final crop of 137,145 metric tons (302.4 million pounds) in-shell basis, slightly below their December estimate but 18% higher than 2019. Conversely, the Mexican Government's final crop is estimated at 164,308 MT (362.2 million pounds), approximately 4% lower than 2019. North American total supply is up 5.7% over the same period a year ago. However, quality issues in Mexico have resulted in shortages in key supply segments, specifically Fancy Mammoth Halves, Fancy Jr. Mammoth Halves and Fancy Extra Large/Large Pieces.   Shipments continue to be robust, both domestically and internationally. With increased interest from China and the EU, overall US pecan exports are up 7.6%. In-shell shipments to China are up 72% over 2019 levels. Mexican exports, while holding relatively steady to China, are down approximately 24% to the US primarily due to quality issues. With the highest production levels in Georgia since 2012, even major Mexican shellers have turned to Georgia to procure good quality low count in-shell. As such, prices have started to firm for the first time in four years. Although there is still a considerable price gap between pieces and halves, piece prices have also started to climb. With most major buyers having already booked at lower levels, consumption is expected to continue to be good for the remainder of 2021. South Africa Pecans Crop Progress Report The high tariffs put on the USA pecans into China (47%) along with the overall drop in prices benefited the South African pecan industry, with many buyers shifting to South African products. Estimated sales to China were +-90% of the crop, leaving little for the local market or other marketing options.   The 2021 harvest is expected to be between 22,000 and 24,000 MT, depending on the first semester climatic conditions. Brazil Pecan Crop Progress Report Season 2020/21 is expected to be an on-year. In spite of below-average rainfall in some regions, spring and summer conditions are pointing to a good harvest: there were no rain disruptions during flowering, which was abundant, and fruits were developing well. Australia Pecan Crop Progress Report Consumption of the domestic crop is primarily within Australia and New Zealand, and as the crop volume contracted last season as a consequence of continued drought, this concentration was further extended. Exports of both pecan in-shell and kernels are down. China Pecan Crop Progress Report Due to new plantings coming into production, the 2020 production ended up much larger than anticipated. Expansion of the planted area is expected to continue in the coming years. Although in-shell market still prevails, kernel demand is growing in seasonal sales such as the Moon Festival and the Chinese New Year. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pecans-crop-progress-reportEU and US Agree to Temporally Suspend All Tariffs Linked to the Airbus and Boeing DisputesThe suspension period was deemed necessary for the two sides to eventually negotiate a settlement agreement. Reciprocal tariffs of around $7.5 and $4 billion on European and US exports were imposed during the last two years, impacting a wide range of products as well as foods such as peanuts and dates, among others.   According to a press release published by the European Commission, Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said: “This is a significant step forward. It marks a reset in our relationship with our biggest and economically most important partner. Removing these tariffs is a win-win for both sides, at a time when the pandemic is hurting our workers and our economies. This suspension will help restore confidence and trust, and therefore give us the space to come to a comprehensive and long-lasting negotiated solution. A positive EU-U.S. trade relationship is important not only to the two sides but to global trade at large.” https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/eu-and-us-agree-to-temporally-suspend-all-tariffs-linked-to-the-airbus-and-boeing-disputesCOVID-19 Update: March 10, 2021According to a recent Economic Impact Analysis presented by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) last year the world passenger traffic fell by 2.7 billion passengers, or by 60% compared to 2019, causing a $ 371 billion loss of gross passenger operating revenues of airlines.   Travel restrictions are also having a direct impact on the lives and livelihoods of transport workers, most notably in the maritime sector. According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), around 400,000 seafarers have incessantly been working on board commercial vessels, long past the expiry of their contracts but unable to be repatriated due to many countries’ restrictions. WHO The World Health Organization’s (WHO) most recent epidemiology update reported that over 2.6 million new cases were detected in the last 7 days, a 7% increase compared to the previous week, following six consecutive weeks of declining numbers. The global case increase was driven by increases in the Eastern Mediterranean (14%), South-East Asia (9%), Europe (9%) and the Americas (6%). The U.S., Brazil, France, Italy and India were the countries that reported the highest number of cases.   As the global rollout of COVAX vaccines accelerates, the first COVID-19 vaccination campaigns in Africa started on March 1. The African states of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire received deliveries of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, with Ghana taking delivery of 600,000 doses on February 24 and Côte d’Ivoire 504,000 doses two days later. The vaccine, branded COVISHIELD, was granted Emergency Use Listing (EUL) by the World Health Organization on February 15. UN Schools for more than 168 million children worldwide have been completely closed for almost an entire year due to COVID-19 lockdowns, according to new data released on March 2 by UNICEF. Furthermore, around 214 million children globally have missed more than three-quarters of their in-person learning.   The report notes that 14 countries worldwide have remained largely closed from March 2020 to February 2021. Two-thirds of those countries are in Latin America and the Caribbean, affecting nearly 98 million schoolchildren.   “As we approach the one-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are again reminded of the catastrophic education emergency worldwide lockdowns have created. With every day that goes by, children unable to access in-person schooling fall further and further behind, with the most marginalized paying the heaviest price,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. Australia Australia's rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine began on March 5. According to the Australian news agency ABC News, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 300,000 doses of the vaccine, which arrived in Sydney on Sunday, have now been "batch-tested" and approved for use. Mr. Morrison said the first overseas-manufactured doses of the jab would be followed by 50 million doses made in Melbourne.   AstraZeneca is the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved for use in Australia, after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) gave the green light to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine in January 2021. Brazil Since the beginning of the pandemic Brazil’s death toll has surpassed 260,000, which constitutes the world’s second-worst after the United States. Daily new COVID-19 cases are currently around 60,000. Coupled with a spike in deaths, the numbers prompted Sao Paulo state Governor João Doria to announce a partial lockdown in Brazil’s most-populous state on March 3. Sao Paulo’s bars and restaurants will operate only via delivery, while malls and non-essential businesses being shut. The restriction measures are due to last two weeks.   On the same day, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello said he was close to an agreement with Pfizer to buy 100 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as doses from Janssen, the pharmaceutical subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. China With COVID-19 outbreaks largely contained, China was reported to have set the annual economic growth target at above 6%, and pledged to create more jobs in cities compared to last year.   According to Reuters, China’s conservative growth target reflects a public effort to demonstrate a return to economic stability after last year’s COVID-19 upheaval, while also trying to contain the government’s budget deficit. EU On March 4, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published its latest weekly situation report, indicating that 21 countries in the EU/EEA observed increasing COVID-19 cases. Moreover, nine countries reported increasing hospital pressure and five countries reported increasing death rates. The report points out that the overall indicators of the pandemic suggest that the transmission is still widespread. The 14-day case notification rate for the EU/EEA was found to be 311 per 100,000 population.   On March 3, the European Commission has adopted a communication providing Member States with broad guidance on the conduct of fiscal policy adopted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Communication provides guidelines for the setting of fiscal measures, including the implications of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) for fiscal policy.   The RRF will make €312.5 billion available in grants and up to €360 billion available in loans to Member States to support the implementation of reforms and investments. According to the Commission, the RRF will provide an important fiscal stimulus aimed to promote investments, especially in the most affected EU countries. Austria As reported by the German newspaper Deutsche Welle, Austria will be given an additional 100,000 BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine doses as part of an EU initiative to curb an outbreak of coronavirus, particularly affecting the Tyrol region.   The Alpine region of Tyrol, with a total population of about 80,000, has one of Europe's highest incidences of the South African COVID-19 strain, which is deemed to be more contagious. Every adult resident of the province will be offered the vaccination, with the process due to start this week. Czech Republic As of March 1, the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Health has placed Spain, Portugal, and Madeira on the red list of countries where the Coronavirus pandemic is widely spread. All persons returning from the COVID-19 red list will be obliged to fill a form and present negative result of an Antigen or PCR test, not older than 24 hours for the Antigen test, or 72 hours for the PCR, prior to entering the country. France On March 1, the news network Euronews reported that the French Health Minister, Olivier Véran, said that the AstraZeneca jab has now been approved for people aged 65-74 with "co-morbidities". However, people over 75 will continue to receive either the Pfizer/BioNTech or the Moderna vaccines.   Also, according to the same news agency, the government endorsed a recommendation from France’s High Authority for Health (HAS) for people who have previously contracted COVID-19 to receive a single dose of the vaccine, aimed to boost the immune system’s response against potential coronavirus reinfections. Germany On March 3, the news agency Reuters reported that Chancellor Angela Merkel and German state leaders agreed to a five-stages plan aimed to ease the country’s coronavirus restrictions, along with an “emergency brake” to let authorities reimpose restrictions if COVID-19 cases rapidly surge again.   Under the proposed plan, up to five people from two households will be allowed to meet from March 8. Later stages will see the opening of restaurants and entertainment venues for people who can present a recent negative test result. Finally, open-air events with up to 50 people will be allowed, as well as contact sports indoors.   Moreover, the government accepted a recommendation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) to extend the interval between the injection of first and second doses of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccines three weeks apart, and AstraZeneca’s up to 12 weeks apart.   According to a recent news press, Germany’s Robert Koch Institute for disease control has now classified France’s Moselle region as an area “at particularly high risk of infection due to widespread occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 virus variants”.   Since March 2, travelers coming from Moselle will need to show a negative coronavirus test that is less than 48 hours old. Similar border controls have already been introduced at the country’s land borders with the Czech Republic and Austria’s Tyrol region. Italy The Italian Health Ministry has recently published a situation report indicating that the COVID-19 7-day incidence is currently at 195 cases per 100,000. The increased caseload has prompted the Italian Health Minister to approve an ordinance, which came into force on March 8, strengthening the current restriction measures currently in place in many Italian regions.   The northern regions of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Veneto and Emilia Romagna have been placed in the second highest degree of alert with increased restrictions on movements, thus joining most of Italy’s 20 regions, while the region of Campania is now classified as “red zone”, where full lockdown rules apply.  The Netherlands With a coronavirus reproduction number above 1, Netherlands has seen the total COVID-19 cases increasing in the past weeks, albeit at a slower pace.   Since March 3, the government has begun relaxing its lockdown restrictions, such as reopening of non-essential shops and allowing outdoor sports activities. The general lockdown rules like curfews and travel bans will remain in place for the time being. Spain The Health Ministry’s latest data on the ongoing coronavirus crisis shows that the 14-day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants has fallen to 127. This incidence level was last seen in August 2020. Daily coronavirus-related deaths have also been dropping below 200 for the first time in 2021.   Moreover, a recent report from Spain’s Health Ministry showed that more than 1.3 million people have been fully vaccinated so far. According to the Spanish newspaper El País, the data in the ministry report leads to the conclusion that more than 85% of Spain’s care home residents have now been fully vaccinated. India India began its vaccination campaign on January 16, starting with healthcare workers and frontline staff. Now, people over 60, as well as those who are between 45 and 59 but with co-morbidities will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines. On March 1, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is 70, received the first dose of the locally produced Covaxin.   Since the pandemic began, India has confirmed more than 11 million cases and over 157,000 deaths. India has seen a steady decrease in daily infections to less than 20,000 from a peak of over 90,000 back to September 2020, although some states have recently reported a new increase in the number of cases. Iran According to the Iranian newspaper Teheran Times, Mohammad Hassan Zibakhsh, the spokesman of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization (CAO), announced on February 28 that all flights to and from 32 countries have been suspended due to the latest decision of the National Headquarters for Coronavirus Control.   Earlier in February, the Iranian Government reduced the validity of negative COVID-19 PCR test results from 96 hours to 72 hours for all passengers transiting the country’s airports. Due to the travel restrictions, foreign travelers to Iran will need to quarantine upon arrival in government-designated areas, while Iranian citizens will need to self-isolate for 14 days. Japan According to a press release published by the Japan Times on March 3, Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga extended the country’s state of emergency by around two weeks for the greater Tokyo metropolitan area.   Despite a steady decline in cases since last January, the decision came after the governors of the prefectures of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama voiced their concerns that new cases are not declining fast enough to safely lift the country’s state of emergency. Turkey Turkey’s coronavirus cases passed 2.7 million, with a death toll of more than 28,000 fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic. However, since last month new contagions have been slowing down. On March 1, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly said that weekend curfews, in place since last December, will be lifted in low- and medium-risk provinces, while restrictions will continue “for a while” in provinces classified as high or very high risk.   According to the WHO, Turkey has so far administered more than 9 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with nearly 1 in 10 people vaccinated. United Kingdom On March 1, Public Health England (PHE) submitted a pre-print of a real-world study that shows that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective in reducing COVID-19 infections among older people aged 70 years and over. According to the research, protection against symptomatic manifestations of the illness, 4 weeks after the first dose, ranged between 57 and 61% for one dose of Pfizer and between 60 and 73% for the AstraZeneca vaccine.   In a press release from the UK government, authorized COVID-19 vaccines that are modified in response to new variants will receive a “fast-track” approval. The decision follows the publication of a new guidance from the ACCESS Consortium –a coalition of regulatory authorities from the UK, Australia, Canada, Singapore and Switzerland.  The guidance, developed by the UK Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and its ACCESS partners, lays out what information regulators would need to approve any modifications to authorized COVID-19 vaccines, should virus mutations make them less effective at preventing the disease.   United States According to a recent article published by Associated Press, President Joe Biden said the US expects to receive enough coronavirus vaccine doses for all adults by the end of May. The US President is also pushing for a swift vaccination campaign aiming to vaccinate the majority of teachers, so to quickly reopen the country’s schools.   COVID-19 cases in the US have been steadily decreasing in the past six weeks, while more than 82 million vaccine doses have been administered. However, the active cases are still much higher than what was seen during the first peak in the pandemic back in March 2020.   On March 6, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill recently proposed by the US President. The legislation includes funding for vaccines and medical supplies, extends jobless assistance and provides a new round of emergency financial aid to households, small businesses and state and local governments.     The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-march-10-2021Brief COVID-19 Update: March 2, 2021Since the beginning of 2021, all the major economies are ramping up their vaccination campaigns, pinning their hopes of a swift recovery on the success of the newly developed COVID-19 vaccines. Recent researches conducted in UK and Israel suggested that the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines are effective in protecting against symptomatic infections. Moreover, in a briefing published by last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has found the single-shot Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective, potentially paving the way for its approval for emergency use. Johnson & Johnson has agreed to provide the US with 100 million doses by the end of June. The UK, EU and Canada have also ordered doses and 500 million doses have also been ordered through the COVAX scheme to supply poorer nations.   At a recent virtual meeting, the G7 leaders pledged to spend over $4.3 billion to develop and distribute effective tests, treatments, and vaccines around the world. Canada, France, Norway and the European Union further committed to donating additional vaccine doses with developing countries, so to increase the volume of vaccines available worldwide and support rapid reduction of virus transmission amongst some of the world’s most vulnerable and exposed populations. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-march-2-2021Promotions Update: March 2021USDA Amends California Walnut Marketing Order The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on February 12, 2021, amendments to the federal marketing order regulating the handling of walnuts grown in California. These amendments authorize the California Walnut Board to provide credit for market promotion expenses paid by handlers against their annual assessments due under the program. The amendments were approved in a referendum conducted November 30 through December 11, 2020. They were favored by 80.57% of the growers voting, representing 82.81% of the total volume of walnuts. To gain approval, the amendments needed support of at least two-thirds of the growers voting in the referendum or at least two-thirds of the volume of walnuts grown by those voting in the referendum. A final rule amending the marketing order will be published in the Federal Register.   As per the California Walnut Board, this authority will allow handlers to receive a credit-back for eligible marketing expenditures of 70 cents for every dollar spent.   More details can be found here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/promotions-update-march-2021Nutrition Update: March 2021US FDA Guidance, Alternate Name for Potassium Chloride The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final guidance, Use of an Alternate Name for Potassium Chloride in Food Labeling, to advise food manufacturers of their intent to exercise enforcement discretion for declaration of the name “potassium salt” in the ingredient statement on food labels as an alternative to the common or usual name “potassium chloride”.   This guidance is part of the FDA's Nutrition Innovation Strategy to reduce the burden of chronic disease in the US through improved nutrition, and by making sure consumers are informed.   More information. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/nutrition-update-march-2021Labeling Update: March 2021Australia and New Zealand: Allergen Labeling in Plain English —Changes to Code Approved Certain foods and ingredients can cause severe allergic and other adverse reactions in some people. The Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) requires these to be declared on labels when they are present in food. As it currently stands, the Code requires the 11 known foods and ingredients that can cause severe allergic reactions to be declared on labels when they are present in food. But until now there were no requirements on how these declarations must be made.   On February 25, 2021, the Code was amended to introduce new requirements for the labeling of allergens in food. These requirements include that allergen information is to be declared: in a specific format and location on food labels using simple, plain English terms in bold font. The P1044 —Plain English Allergen Labelling (PEAL) has been designed to make allergen labeling more transparent and consistent on Australian food packaging. Under this regulation, the allergens must be stated using mandatory specified terms in bold font and the allergen label must also follow specified guidelines regarding the format, wording and location of the declaration.   Businesses have been given three years from February 25, 2021, to implement the new requirements. During this transition period, food businesses can comply with either the existing allergen declaration requirements in the Code, or the new requirements. A two-year stock-in-trade period will follow the transition period. Any food packaged and labeled with existing allergen declarations before the end of the transition period may be sold for up to two years after the end of the transition period. EFSA’s Scientific Advice on FOP Labeling Expected by March 2022 According to the action plan for the EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Commission intends to submit, by the end of 2022, a proposal for harmonized mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labeling and for the setting of nutrient profiles to restrict the promotion of food high in, for example, salt, sugars and/or fat.   The European Commission has asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to provide scientific advice on: Nutrients of public health importance for European populations, including non-nutrient components of food (e.g. energy, dietary fiber) Food groups which have important roles in the diets of European populations and subgroups Criteria to guide the choice of nutrients and other non-nutrient components of food for nutrient profiling. The request to EFSA does not include developing a nutrient profiling model or advising on current profiling models already in use for different purposes. EFSA is required to deliver its scientific opinion by March 2022. The agency stated that there will be a public consultation on the draft by the end of 2021. More Information. Changes to Allergen Labeling in Scotland On February 11, 2021, the Scottish Parliament has approved new legislation, which will require food businesses in Scotland to include the product name and full ingredients, including allergen information on pre-packed for direct sale (PPDS) foods.   The new legislation should improve information about allergens and other ingredients in food packed in advance, mainly at the same place from which it’s sold, before being offered to consumers. On pack information will include the 14 ‘most common’ allergens specifically listed in food information law, as well as other ingredients which can trigger reactions.   The new law is intended to come into force on October 1, 2021, to align with the rest of the UK. More information. EU Regions’ Advisory Body Proposes Mediterranean Diet Label According to EUROACTIV, the Committee of the Regions (CoR), an EU institution with an advisory role, has proposed an ad hoc label for food products belonging to the Mediterranean diet during the plenary session of the Euro-Mediterranean regional and local assembly (ARLEM).   In a report by the deputy mayor of the French city of Nice, Agnès Rampal, she proposes the development of a “Mediterranean products” or “Mediterranean diet” label with a specific set of criteria and a broad communication plan.   The model would draw on the SIQO model (AB, PGI, PDO) used, for instance, to show on the front-of-pack label if a product originates from organic farming or has received the protected geographical indication from the EU. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-march-2021Food Safety Update: March 20212020 Global Food Security Index Shows Overall Decline in Food Security On February 23, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) released the ninth annual Global Food Security Index (GFSI) sponsored by Corteva, which measures the underlying drivers of food security in 113 countries, based on the factors of affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience.   The GFSI considers food security in the context of income and economic inequality, gender inequality, and environmental and natural resources inequality –calling attention to systemic gaps and most recently how COVID-19 exacerbates their impact on food systems.   This year, the GFSI formally includes "Natural Resources and Resilience" as a fourth main category. This addition marks a significant shift in methodology, revealing food systems' resiliency against climate change. The sub-indicators under this category include food import dependency, disaster risk management and projected population growth. The 2020 index also measures gender inequality and inequality-adjusted income as sub-indicators for the first time in its history. Based on these findings, global food security has decreased for the second year in a row.   For the third consecutive year, the North American region is leading the world in food security. Europe is a close second, accounting for eight of the top 10 countries. Using the new methodology, Finland tops the list while last year's leader, Singapore, drops down to 19th place. Ireland retains its second rank position, while the United States moves to 11th place. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-march-2021Latest Trade News and Agreements: March 2021EU and India Launched the High-Level Dialogue on Trade and Investment On February 5, the EU-India High-Level Dialogue on Trade Investment held its first meeting. The High-Level Dialogue, hosted on-line by India, was co-chaired on the EU side by Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, and on the Indian side by Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister for Commerce & Industry. The two sides had open and constructive exchanges on a broad range of issues with the aim of enhancing EU-India bilateral trade and investment relations.   The two sides exchanged views on the state of play of EU-India bilateral trade and investment relations, and possible ways forward, such as resuming negotiations for ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial trade and investment agreements. Their discussion will feed into the preparation of the upcoming EU-India Leaders’ Meeting.   During the meeting, the EU side provided an update on the ongoing review of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which expires end of 2023, and on the work towards EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism under the European Green Deal, while the Indian side provided an updated on the “Make in India” and “Self-Reliant India” initiatives. They also examined a selection of key market access issues to identify prospects for resolving them.  Strong EU Trade Enforcement Rules Enter Into Force New trade enforcement rules have entered into force that are deemed to further strengthen the EU's toolbox in defending its trade interests. The new Regulation (EU) 2021/167 amended the Regulation (EU) No 654/2014 concerning the exercise of the Union’s rights for the application and enforcement of international trade rules, entered into force on February 13.   The new rules upgrade the EU's enforcement by introducing the following changes: empowering the EU to act to protect its trade interests in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and under bilateral agreements when a trade dispute is blocked despite the EU's good faith effort to follow dispute settlement procedures (the regulation previously only allowed action after the completion of dispute settlement procedures); expanding the scope of the regulation and of possible trade policy countermeasures to services and certain trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights (IPR) (the regulation previously only permitted countermeasures in goods). According to a recent press release, Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: “The European Union must be able to defend itself against unfair trading practices. These new rules will help protect us from those trying to take advantage of our openness. We continue to work towards our first preference, which is a reformed and well-functioning multilateral rulebook with an effective Dispute Settlement System at its core. But we cannot afford to stand defenseless in the meantime. These measures allow us to respond resolutely and assertively.”   The proposal to amend the existing Enforcement Regulation came as a reaction to the blockage of the operations of the WTO Appellate Body. The current regulation –a basis under EU law for adopting trade countermeasures– requires that a dispute goes all the way through the WTO procedures, including the appeal stage, before the Union can react.   The revised Regulation enables the EU to react even if the WTO has not delivered a final ruling because the other WTO member blocks the dispute procedure by appealing to the non-functioning Appellate Body and by not agreeing to an alternative arbitration under the WTO Dispute Settlement Agreement.   This new mechanism also applies to the dispute settlement in relation to regional or bilateral trade agreements to which the EU is a party if a similar blockage arises.  Tariffs on Food From Europe to Stay for Now, US Says In a Federal Register Notice published on February 12, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced that it will not revise the US-EU dispute involving Large Civil Aircraft subsidies at this time.   As previously reported, EU Agriculture MEPs and trade associations from the EU and the US have been pushing for the removal, or at least a moratorium, on punitive tariffs affecting Trans-Atlantic trade in goods unrelated to the Airbus/Boeing and steel and aluminum disputes. European Parliament Considers Uzbekistan Request for GSP+ Status In recent news from the European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit & Edible Nuts, Processed Fruit & Vegetables, Processed Fishery products, Spices, Honey (FRUCOM), the European Parliament is currently considering the Commission’s proposed Delegated Regulation which would allow Uzbekistan to accede to the enhanced GSP+ regime. The Republic of Uzbekistan made a request for GSP+ treatment on June 9, 2020, which the Commission examined and concluded that the Republic of Uzbekistan meets the eligibility criteria for GSP+.   The proposed Delegated Regulation was adopted in November 2020, and on December 3, 2020 the Parliament was given a two month extension to scrutinize the measure. After receiving the assent of the Parliament and Council, the regulation will enter into force upon publication in the European Union’s legislative observatory.   Uzbekistan already has GSP status, and the GSP+ is designed to incentivize sustainable development and good governance by “providing additional tariff preferences to developing countries which are vulnerable due to a lack of diversification of exports and insufficient integration within the international trading system”. Accession to the GSP+ is conditional to the ratification and effective implementation of 27 core international conventions on human and labor rights, environmental protection, and good governance.   The EU's bilateral trade relations with Uzbekistan are governed by a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), and the two parties are currently negotiating an Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (EPCA), of which six rounds of negotiations have already taken place. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-march-2021Pesticides Update: March 2021EPA Approves Section 18 Emergency Registration Request for Kasugamycin on Almonds According to California Ag Today, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and California Department of Pesticide Regulation recently accepted a Section 18 petition to allow the use of Kasumin 2L (kasugamycin) to control bacterial blast (Pseudomonas sp) in almonds in 12 counties in the State of California.   The registration allows up to two applications under anticipated cold or freezing conditions at a use rate of 64 fl. oz. per acre from February 12, 2021 through petal fall. Application after petal fall is prohibited. Kasugamycin may only be used during bloom.   The approval applies to the counties of Butte, Colusa, Fresno, Glenn, Madera, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba. Use of Methidathion (Suprathion 400 EC Insecticide) in Macadamia Canceled As reported by AUSVEG, following consultation with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), ADAMA Australia has voluntarily canceled its registration for Methidathion (Suprathion 400 EC Insecticide).   Since February 4, 2021, the use of Suprathion in Macadamia plantations is not permitted under any legislation.   More information. Miravis® Duo Fungicide Approved for Use in California According to Growing Producte, the fungicide, developed by Syngenta, is now registered for use on California tree nuts. Miravis Duo has been formulated by combining two different FRAC groups of fungicides aiming to offer disease protection for tree nuts as well as enhanced resistance management.   California is the 5th US state approving Miravis Duo for use on tree nuts and stone fruits. More information. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-march-2021Agricultural Quality Standards Update: March 2021EU Initiative: Supplementary Trade Rules on Organic Food Following the entry into force of Regulation (EU) 2018/848, the Commission has published a consultation on a draft delegated regulation supplementing the trade rules on organic food.   This draft Regulation lays down rules on the procedures for the regular review of the recognition of third countries (recognized for the purpose of equivalence) and control authorities or control bodies during the transitional periods.   In addition, this draft Regulation sets out the measures to be taken by the Commission in the exercise of that supervision, including suspension or withdrawal of recognized third countries or control authorities and control bodies from the established lists.   The deadline for the submission of feedback on the draft on March 15, 2021.   Link to the consultation.  https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/agricultural-quality-standards-update-march-2021Register Now for Shipping Challenges in a COVID-19 World, an Interview with MSCCOVID-19 has disrupted almost every part of business and shipping is no exception. This is why we are excited to host a webinar on March 11, 2021, at 4pm CET that will examine the challenges presented by the global health crisis for the shipping industry. During this webinar, the INC will interview MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company Trade Manager, Corrado Carosella, about the impact the pandemic is having on global container shipping. We will discuss the current state of the shipping industry and the prospects for the future. How container shipping services have been impacted by COVID-19? What has triggered shipping costs to rise? How is MSC managing the crisis? Moreover, after the interview, there will be a Q&A session. In total, the webinar will last for one hour. You will not want to miss this exciting and informative webinar! Register now! Sponsorship opportunities are still available and with a niche audience, this is a can't-miss chance to showcase your brand! If you are interested in sponsoring, please reach out to Marta Ballesté at marta.balleste@nutfruit.org.   Corrado Carosella, Trade Manager, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company Corrado is based at MSC's global headquarters in Geneva and oversees MSC's services on the significant trade routes from North America to the western Mediterranean, Israel, the Red Sea, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent. Born in Genoa, Italy in 1973, Corrado obtained a Law degree at Universita’ degli Studi di Genova before embarking on his career in shipping. His professional journey involved him moving to Houston, Texas in 2005 to work for MSC USA where he looked after VIP customers and worked as a Far East Trade Manager, among other roles. After a stint managing VIP customers in Charleston, South Carolina, Corrado transferred to MSC's global headquarters in 2011 and is now responsible for 7 liner services, working in close collaboration with the rest of MSC's Liner Department and management in Geneva. Thanks to all our sponsors. The INC would like to say thank you to all of our sponsors for making this event possible and continuously supporting our industry!                     https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/register-now-for-shipping-challenges-in-a-covid-19-world-an-interview-with-mscPistachios Crop Progress Report USA Pistachio Crop Progress Report The 2020/2021 crop has been updated slightly up from the previous forecast of 469,000 metric tons (1.03 billion lbs., in-shell basis) and is now estimated at around 477,000 metric tons (1.05 billion lbs.).   US shipments last year added up to over 266,000 metric tons (588 million lbs.). This year’s demand leading up to Chinese New Year and US sales during the holiday season remained consistent with the prior year and is anticipated to remain strong overall. Crop to date US shipments as of November amounted to 93,800 metric tons (207 MM lbs.), 3% up compared to last’s year November crop to date of 91,100 metric tons (201 MM lbs.). Several factors affecting sales last year are continuing to be challenges this year: along with the increase in Iranian supply, additional tariffs between China and the US, and the impact of COVID-19 in the export market, shipment issues are creating near-term shortages.  Iran Pistachio Crop Progress Report According to the Iran Pistachio Association, year to date (September 23, 2020-January 20, 2021) international shipments added up to around 106,000 tons of pistachios, only third to 2007 and 2014 record crop years. About 60% of the starting inventory had already been shipped during the first four months of the current marketing year, which will limit the available inventory for the latter months of the current marketing year.   Exports to the Far East amounted to 57,000 MT; three times up from the same period the previous year. YTD shipments to India reached 14,000 MT, up 75% compared to 2019, followed by the EU with 7,000 MT.   Demand for larger pistachio nut varieties has been exceptional this year. Hence, it is assumed that the largest share of the remaining inventory consists of Fandoghi variety. Natural kernel demand has also been very strong in different markets due to its price attractiveness. Turkey Pistachio Crop Progress Report This season, Turkish pistachio hit a record harvest of over 300,000 MT in-shell base. After 60-70% of the harvest was completed, prices softened in the market accordingly. However, due to the pandemic and related governmental rules, not all the raw materials were able to be delivered to the market, refraining prices to drop to the expected levels. The traditional domestic market has not reflected the “on year” crop in terms of pricing either. Season 2021/22 is expected to be an off-year with a crop of around 160-180,000 MT.  Spain Pistachio Crop Progress Report Considering the accumulated reserves and the new orchards entering into production, season 2021/2022 is anticipated to be an on-year. Although effective production will depend on the spring late frosts, rains and fruit setting conditions, a crop of around 3,000 MT is forecasted. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pistachio-crop-progress-reportPeanuts Crop Progress Report China Peanut Crop Progress Report China's 2020 crop peanut production is estimated at 17.77 million metric tons as per China's peanut industry. Although maturity was later and oil content is lower than usual, due to lack of sunshine and below-average temperatures during last summertime, the overall quality is reported to be fairly good.   According to the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-products (CFNA), prices for Chinese peanuts were on the high side during the marketing period prior to Chinese New Year saw Chinese, mainly owing to the good performance of the crushing industry from 2019/20 into 2020/21.   COVID-19 has actually brought better sales for peanut oil with people staying more time at home cooking home-made meals. In contrast, the pandemic seems to have impacted negatively edible consumption. Nonetheless, January 2021 saw the edible market firming up with edible distributors preparing goods for the Spring festival demand. Meanwhile, the new clusters of virus cases have alarmed the manufacturing sector to build up a safe stock out of fear of supply chain disruptions due to lockdowns, which has helped to push up the market prices, in particular for edible grades. India Peanut Crop Progress Report As per the USDA FASS WAS report from January 2021, Indian peanut crop 2020/21 is estimated at 6.5 million MT, down by 3% compared to the December estimate of 6.7 million MT. Although the average yield, estimated at 1.16 MT/hectare, is down by 9% compared to 2019/20, the harvested area was up around 15% to 5.6 million ha. USA Peanut Crop Progress Report On January 12, 2021, the NASS USDA released the Crop Production Annual Report, where the full 2020/21 crop year is estimated at 2.78 million MT, 12% up from 2019/20, but 8% below last November estimate of 3 million MT. WASDE reduced ending stocks for US peanuts to 904,000 MT for the 2020/2021 marketing year.   National overall yield averaged 4.25 MT/ha, 7% down from the 4.59 MT/ha reached in 2019/20, while the harvested area was increased by 16% to 653,900 ha, which, in turn, reflected in the higher crop reached this season. Argentina Peanut Crop Progress Report As per the Argentine Peanut Chamber (CAM) latest update, the sown area for the 2020/21 season is estimated at 385,592 hectares, up by 10% compared to the previous year, which presented a significant decrease with respect to prior cycles.   The Chamber also indicated that, by the beginning of 2021, planting had just finished under good conditions, but advised to be cautious regarding yielding expectations due to the forecasted drought and delay in finishing the sowing that could affect the 2021 crop outcome.   As reported in the December 2020 USDA FAS GAIN Report, following two seasons of consecutive decrease in the planted areas, growers have returned to peanuts after rotating with other crops. As of March 2020, a Government Decree (230/2020) reduced export taxes for peanuts and peanut products, increasing their profitability relative to soybean (the major oil crop sown in Argentina) and grains. Exports are projected to amount to 950,000 MT. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/peanuts-crop-progress-reportRaisins, Sultanas, and Currants Crop Progress Report   Turkey Raisins, Sultanas, and Currants Crop Progress Report According to the Aegean Exporters’ Association, shipments year to date (September 1, 2020-January 30, 2021) added up to 105,936 metric tons (US$203.8 million), down by 13% from the same period in 2019/20. With export volumes amounting to 55,279 MT and 30,966 MT, the EU and the UK remained as the major markets, although below by 15% and 9% from YTD 2019/20. Exports YTD to Eurasia accounted for 10,640 MT, up 3% from last season and led by Australia (58% of the share and up by 37% against 2019/20). The Americas ranked fourth with shipments of 3,351 MT and below 32% against 2019/20.  USA Raisins, Sultanas, and Currants Crop Progress Report The raisin growing region in California experienced good weather during the 2020 growing season. However, the 2020/21 crop is expected to be smaller compared to the 2019/20 crop due to a reduction in producing acres and less crop made per acre. The fires that burned in the surrounding mountain areas in August and September last year created smoke that impacted the timing of drying and deliveries. Deliveries as of the end of December 2020 were about 158,000 MT and are expected to continue through July 2021.   Shipments increased 6% between August through December 2020 posting strong pre-holiday volume compared to the same period last year. Shipments could have been higher if it were not for the recent disruptions caused by steamship lines. Vessel delays, rolled bookings and cancellations have negatively impacted export shipments. Iran Raisins, Sultanas, and Currants Crop Progress Report Crop 2020/21 is estimated at 180,000 MT, 17% up from 2019/20. International shipments through January 10, 2021, added up to 85,000 MT and 40,000 MT are bounded to domestic consumption. The remaining stock of 55,000 MT is expected to be shipped through the end of the crop year. China Raisins, Sultanas, and Currants Crop Progress Report Raisin crop 2020 is estimated at 100,000 metric tons, about 50% shorter than the 2019 crop due to frost damages that occurred during last winter. Although in some producing areas, such as XinJiang, the COVID-19-related lockdown in August 2020 delayed the dry process, affecting the quality, the overall quality is good. South Africa Raisins, Sultanas, and Currants Crop Progress Report As reported by Raisins South Africa, just before the start of the harvesting and drying season, the Orange River Valley has been hampered by early heavy rains through December 2020 and January 2021, which are expected to result in some losses, especially for Sultana’s –a third of South African raisins production. At the time of writing this report, Merbein’s –close to half of South Africa’s hectarage– were still holding up. Raisins South Africa, along with processors technical staff, have been in frequent communication with growers to ensure that the necessary practices at the farm level were being executed to minimize crop and product damage as far as possible.   Crop forecast for Olifants River –12% of South Africa’s raisin production– looked on target as it was not affected by the rain and it might surpass production volumes of 2020.   The 2020 marketing season (January-December) was very positive, with good demand, which is foreseen to keep increasing, partly due to a strong drive towards healthier consumption. COVID-19 has impacted logistics in general, for various reasons; overall, there is a shortage of containers and delays. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/raisins-sultanas-and-currants-crop-progress-reportCOVID-19 Update: February 24, 2021The epicenter of the pandemic has continued to shift throughout the year, from China, then Europe, then the US, and developing countries like Brazil and India. Cases globally surpassed 10 million in late June, but ever since infections have been multiplying faster. The U.S. and India have the most infections, accounting for more than a third of all cases combined.   On February 19, leaders of the G7 member states, as well as representatives of the European Union, held a virtual meeting to discuss how the world’s leading democracies can work together to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines around the world, prevent future pandemics and build back better from coronavirus.   The leaders recognized that no country can be safe until every country is safe and collectively committed over $4.3 billion to the ACT Accelerator partnership to develop and distribute effective tests, treatments, and vaccines around the world. Moreover, several nations pledged to share their additional vaccine doses with developing countries, so to support rapid reduction of virus transmission amongst some of the world’s most vulnerable and exposed populations.  WHO According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) weekly epidemiological update, the number of global new cases reported has continued to fall, with 2.7 million new cases last week, a 16% decline compared to the previous week. The number of new deaths reported also fell, with 81,000 new deaths reported last week, a 10% decline as compared to the previous week.   To ensure fair access to the latest developed vaccines the WHO, through its COVAX program, has set the ball in motion for the global deployment of vaccines to poorer countries on February 15, after it issued emergency approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine.   Low- and middle-income countries can expect to receive their first deliveries of the vaccine at the end of February as part of the COVAX shared-procurement program. The WHO hopes to deliver 336 million doses in the first half of the year and up to 2 billion by the end of December. UN The recent United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) initiative ‘Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative’, to prioritize delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, essential medicines and other critical supplies across the globe has been backed by more than 10 airlines. The agreement will also act as a global logistics preparedness mechanism for other humanitarian and health crises over the longer term.     “Delivery of these life-saving vaccines is a monumental and complex undertaking, considering the sheer volumes that need to be transported, the cold chain requirements, the number of expected deliveries and the diversity of routes” said Etleva Kadilli, Director of UNICEF Supply Division.  UNCTAD Led by trade in goods, global trade recovered in the last quarter of 2020, reducing its overall decline for the year to about 9%, according to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) new Global Trade Update published on February 10. But while imports and exports of goods grew by about 8% in the fourth quarter of last year, trade in services stagnated as measures taken in the global fight against COVID-19 continued to affect sectors such as travel.   The report highlights persisting concerns about COVID-19, noting that uncertainty about the timing and magnitude of stimulus packages will result in a lower trade rebound in the coming months. It projects that the first quarter of 2021 will record a slowdown in the recovery of trade in goods (a 1.5% drop relative to Q4 2020) and a further decline for trade in services (a 7% drop relative to Q4 2020), largely because of continued disruptions in the travel sector.  WTO The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) recently elected chief, Ms. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, warned against “vaccine nationalism” that would slow progress in ending the pandemic and could erode worldwide economic growth. “No one is safe until everyone is safe. Vaccine nationalism at this time just will not pay, because the variants are coming. If other countries are not immunized, it will just be a blow back,” Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said in a recent interview.   Ms. Okonjo-Iweala said a recent academic study suggests that the global economy would lose $9 trillion in potential output if poor countries were unable to get their populations vaccinated quickly, and about half of the impact would be borne by rich countries. Australia On February 16, Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration provisionally approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. It is the second vaccine to receive such approval, following the Pfizer/BioNTech. The country has ordered 53 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the vast majority of which will be manufactured locally by CSL Ltd.   Prior to the approval of the Oxford/AZ vaccine, Morrison's office said the country had received more than 142,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 80,000 of which will be released starting February 22. Approximately 50,000 will go to states and territories frontline quarantine and health workers, and 30,000 will go to aged care, disability care residents and health care workers.  Chile More than 1.7 million adults over 65 have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data provided by the Department of Health Statistics and Information.   Health Minister Enrique Paris also expressed his wishes for the success of a global immunization campaign. “The massive vaccination against COVID-19 is about to exceed over 2 million vaccinated in Chile, which will mark an important and transcendent milestone in the history of this fight against the pandemic”, he emphasized.   Mr. Paris also supervised the start of vaccination of education workers over 60 years of age, including 513,621 teachers, teacher’s assistants, directors, administrators and food handlers.  China China reported around 300 new cases in the past two weeks. The surge in cases appears to be contained by the restrictions, mainly imposed on traveling, affecting the Chinese New Year holidays. While most of the economy has reopened, strict mask wearing, electronic monitoring and periodic lockdowns have helped virtually eliminate domestic coronavirus cases.   Hong Kong is reducing social distancing rules following a sharp drop in new coronavirus cases, including restarting indoor dining and reopening gyms. The relaxation that took effect February 18 is a huge relief for the city’s service sector, which has been hammered by periodical closure orders and strict limits on dining out. Public gatherings of more than two people remain prohibited and mask-wearing in public is mandatory until March 3.  EU A recent report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed that several EU/EEA countries have observed a decline in the overall incidence of COVID-19 in recent weeks, most probably due to the impact of tightened restrictions. Nonetheless, the epidemiological situation is still of serious concern across the continent, with the majority of countries still experiencing high or increasing notification rates in older age groups and/or high death rates.   While most countries are currently seeing a decline in overall infections as a response to the restrictions, the introduction and increased spread of new SARS-CoV-2 variants first identified in South Africa (B.1.351), Brazil (P.1) and especially United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) has raised concerns.   Several countries where the UK variant has become dominant have seen rapid increases in incidence. This has resulted in increased hospitalizations, overstretched health systems and excess mortality. The South Africa variant is also associated with increased transmissibility. In addition, there is evidence pointing to the potential for reduced effectiveness for some of the COVID-19 vaccines with this variant.   On February 17, the European Commission has launched a program to study COVID-19 variants and produce “second generation” vaccines against future strains. The “HERA incubator” program will bring together the pharmaceutical industry, laboratories, health authorities and researchers. Member states will also be asked to contribute additional funds so the EU can adapt and modify contracts already signed with vaccine providers and secure doses against future variants.   Moreover, the EU Council adopted on February 11 a regulation establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility, which lies at the heart of the EU’s recovery plan. It will make €672.5 billion in grants and loans available for public investment and reforms in the 27 Member States to help them address the impact of the pandemic, to foster green and digital transitions and to build resilient and inclusive societies. Member States will receive support on the basis of their national recovery and resilience plans, which are currently under preparation.   According to a recent press release, the EU Council adopted on February 15 two sets of temporary rules to support the transport sector, which continues to be heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Relief from airport slot use requirements will protect airlines and prevent the environmental harm that would be caused by running empty flights merely for the sake of keeping the slots for the next year.   An extension of the possibility to temporarily prolong the validity of driving licenses, roadworthiness tests and other specific licenses, certificates and authorizations will help transport operators and citizens who are unable to fulfill certain administrative requirements because of COVID-19 restrictions. The renewed rules on document extensions continue to cover road, rail and inland waterway transport, as well as maritime security.  Belgium Belgium’s coronavirus figures are continuing to evolve in a downward trend, according to the latest figures published by the Sciensano public health institute on February 19. Over the past two weeks, about 236 infections were confirmed per 100,000 inhabitants, which is a 16% decrease compared to the two weeks before.   However, an estimated 37% of coronavirus infections at present are the reportedly more contagious British variant. On the same day, police checks were reinforced on the Franco-Belgian border in West Flanders after an outbreak of the British variant was detected in Dunkirk.   Belgium's ban on non-essential foreign travel, which was extended from 1 March to 1 April, could be reassessed when the coronavirus committee next meets on 26 February, according to Walloon minister-president Elio Di Rupo. "I do not exclude that the ban will be lifted," he said. "But it could remain 'strongly recommended' not to go abroad."  France Following an announcement from Health Minister Olivier Véran, on February 22, France increased self-isolation times for coronavirus-positive cases from seven to 10 days due to uncertainty over the new variants.   The self-isolation period had already been extended to 10 days for people who tested positive for the Brazilian or South African variant, and a negative PCR test was required for permission to end the isolation. Isolation times will remain at seven days for contact cases, Mr. Véran said.   The Minister also said that the current rules that allow people who test positive to obtain immediate time off from work via the assurance Maladie would be extended until June 1. Germany Germany's federal government and state leaders agreed last Wednesday to extend the nationwide shutdown until March 7, beyond the previous February 14 deadline. Though overall infection numbers in the country are declining, concern is rising about new variants. The current shutdown began in November and was extended and toughened before Christmas, with the number of COVID-19 patients threatening to overwhelm hospitals.   On February 14 the government stopped most travel between regions in the east and south of the country and the neighboring Czech Republic and Austria in a bid to stop COVID-19 variants from spreading. The measures are set to remain in place for at least 10 days.   Germany designated Austria's Tyrol and border regions of the Czech Republic as "virus mutation areas." The government took the decision after the South African B.1.351 coronavirus variant was found in Austria's Tyrol region. The British B.1.1.7 variant was instead found circulating in the Czech Republic.  Greece Athens and the wider area of Attica, where half of the country’s population lives, will go into a stricter lockdown, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced in a televised address to the nation on February 16. The new rules, based on new coronavirus data and consultations with health experts, will run until February 28.   According to Mr. Mitsotakis, the COVID-19 mutations, which are dispersed at high rates, and the rise in admissions at the hospitals are generating problems for public health and forcing the government to impose stricter rules. Italy Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, has pledged to speed up the country’s coronavirus vaccination program as he presented his government’s priorities before a confidence vote in the upper house of Parliament on February 17. In his much-anticipated maiden speech, Draghi, who was recently sworn into office, said the government’s first duty was to “fight the pandemic by all means and safeguard the lives of citizens”.   Draghi, the former European Central Bank chief, said the government must move fast to obtain and distribute the COVID-19 vaccine. Italy has administered more than 3 million jabs, according to health ministry figures.  Spain Some Spanish regions are starting to ease restrictions, while others are considering doing so, due to falling infection rates that, however, are still far above the government’s extreme risk threshold. At the same time, the mass vaccination of care homes – the first priority group of Spain’s vaccination drive – is beginning to have an effect, with contagions falling.   The Spanish government is also looking for formulas to speed up the return to levels of tourism that existed pre-pandemic. One of the key factors being considered is the creation of a Europe-wide vaccination card that could help bring back foreign tourists. India As of February 2021, India’s COVID-19 recorded cases surpassed 11 million, second only to the tally of the United States. However, since hitting a peak of close to 100,000 daily coronavirus infections in September 2020, new cases have dropped nearly 90%. Deaths have fallen by a similar rate, to fewer than 100 a day.   On February 16, Indian health officials announced that both the South African and Brazilian coronavirus variants and people returning from those countries may be tested more aggressively. The South African variant was detected in four people last month and the Brazilian one in one person this month, they said, adding that the strains can more easily infect a person’s lungs than the UK mutation. The Indian government is now considering mandating PCR tests for all people coming from Brazil and South Africa, as is being done for those flying in from the United Kingdom.   “There are no direct flights from South Africa or Brazil, so the health ministry and the civil aviation ministry are in touch on the steps to be taken on the matter,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan told at a news conference.  Iran On February 9, Iran began its rollout of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, according to a live broadcast on state television. Health Minister Saeed Namaki said the top priority groups to receive the vaccination are doctors and nurses working at intensive care units across the country's hospitals.   Iran received its first delivery of the Sputnik-V vaccine from Russia on February 4, according to Iran's state-run news agency IRNA. The Health Minister said in addition to the Russian Sputnik vaccine, Iran has also bought some 16.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines through COVAX to vaccinate 8.4 million people.  Israel The Israeli Cabinet has approved a further loosening of the restrictions on economic activity as coronavirus infection rates continue their gradual downward trend. Since February 21, shopping malls, markets, museums, and libraries have re-open to everyone. However, Israelis will need to show proof they have been vaccinated, or have recovered from the disease, to gain access to gyms, sports, cultural venues and hotels, all of which have also received permission to re-open.   Israel has been making rapid progress in its vaccination program and is on track to be the first country in the world to inoculate its entire population, of about 9 million people. Health Ministry data suggests more than 4 million people in Israel would have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of last week, with more than 2.6 million people having received a second dose as well.  Japan A little over a year after the new coronavirus started spreading in Japan, the government has approved its first vaccine, becoming the last G7 nation to kick-start a massive rollout program.   Japan began its COVID-19 vaccine rollout on February 17, starting with an initial group of 40,000 health workers before it later expands its inoculation program to cover older people and people with pre-existing conditions.   Japan’s coronavirus response chief has said that the government will consider lifting its coronavirus state of emergency after confirming that the strain on hospital bed capacity has eased substantially. South Africa South Africa has reopened its major land borders with neighboring countries after closing them last month to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. At least 20 border posts reopened on February 15, with officials saying steps will be taken to avoid tightly-packed crowds of travelers gathering at immigration posts, which would spread the virus.   Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said South Africa is working with neighboring countries to ensure simpler movements of people. Other border posts to be reopened include the Beitbridge border post with Zimbabwe and crossing points with Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia and Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland).  South Korea In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases in South Korea have displayed a gradual downward trajectory largely, thanks to stringent distancing rules such as a ban on social gatherings of five or more people. However, a recent spike in cases ahead of the Lunar New Year’s holidays has alarmed the government, and officials have urged the public to maintain vigilance and stay at home during the four-day festive period.   Millions of people were expected to travel across the country to visit hometowns and return home during the holidays. Turkey Turkey has so far administered over 5 million coronavirus vaccine jabs across the country, according to official figures. The country began its mass COVID-19 vaccination campaign on January 14, starting with healthcare workers and then the elderly.   The country also changed rules for travelers from abroad. In addition to asking for negative tests carried out within the last 72 hours before arrival to the country, travelers from Denmark, the UK, South Africa and Brazil are required to stay in quarantine for 14 days in Turkey. Travelers from the UK and Denmark will be able to self-isolate at the location where they plan to reside during their stay, while those from South Africa and Brazil will be quarantined at state-run student dormitories. A second test will be conducted on the 10th day of their stay, and if it turns out negative, their isolation will be terminated.  United Kingdom On February 14, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed his government had met its target of immunizing everyone over the age of 70, along with people who live or work in nurse homes, health service workers and those who are most vulnerable to COVID-19.   Since February 15, passengers arriving in the UK from coronavirus hot spots will be required to quarantine in government-managed hotel rooms for 10 days. The new rules apply to anyone who has visited any of the 33 countries on a travel ban list in the previous 10 days. The list of countries deemed at high risk of coronavirus variants, includes all of South America, southern African nations, Portugal and the UAE.   On February 22, Mr. Johnson announced his “road map” to unlock the country gradually over the months ahead. The so-called roadmap would then pass through four stages, with five weeks in-between, and the final step, when most restrictions would be lifted, not starting until June 21 at the earliest.   With more than 120,000 fatalities, Britain has suffered the world’s fifth-highest official death toll from the pandemic and its $3 trillion economy has seen its biggest slump in over 300 years. But the Prime Minister said the fast start to the vaccine roll-out, plus a sharp fall in infections can now set out a cautious easing of England’s tough national lockdown, which started on January 5.   As the plan unfolds, lawmakers will have a chance to vote on specific steps. Authorities in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which are responsible for their own public health, are expected to also ease restrictions over the coming months. United States The US is showing encouraging COVID-19 trends. While more than 55,000 new infections were reported on February 21, it was the lowest case count since October. Just last month, reported infections were topping 200,000 a day.   California, one of the states hit hardest by the pandemic, reported its lowest daily case increases since early November. That comes amid a steady decline not only in new infections, but in hospitalizations and deaths as well.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on February 21 that about 43.6 million people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, including about 18.9 million people who have been fully vaccinated.   The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-february-24-2021Brief COVID-19 Update: February 17, 2021Despite this, the IMF’s World Economic Outlook projected for this year a global growth of 5.5 percent, 0.3 percentage points higher than the previous October forecast. This is reflected by both positive vaccination campaigns and governmental support policies for major economies such as the US and Japan. The United States is steadily increasing the vaccination rollout, with some 54 million doses already administered. Furthermore, the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the US outnumbered new cases 10 to 1 last week. Last week the EU nations France, Italy, Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic received their first shipments of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, with hopes that the increased supply will ramp up the immunization rates. On February 10, the European Parliament approved a €672.5 billion COVID recovery fund, which will be designed to alleviate the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. Over 3 million Turkish citizens have received their first doses of Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines, and Chile, who approved Sinovac for emergency use in January, is aiming to vaccinate 80% of its population by June 2021. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-february-17-2021Join Us for a Stimulating Free Webinar on Managing Risk!Mitigating Risks and Protecting Your Company's Reputation in 2021 A company’s brand and reputation needs to be actively managed like any other business asset. We know that a reputational crisis can impact revenue, profit, balance sheet resilience, share price and stakeholder trust. In this session, we will share cutting edge research that describes the financial impact of crisis events, supported by industry case studies, and we will explain how INC members can be a ‘winner’ in a crisis. A team of Aon specialists will share insights on three types of crisis events that occur commonly in the food industry – product recall and contamination, how your business’s operating systems could be disrupted, and poor governance (the importance of Directors and Officers insurance). Over the course of the Masterclass, we will share practical tips and advice to help INC members understand, assess, quantify and manage their brand and reputation. So join us on February 16 at 4pm CET for this exciting free webinar! Register Now! Aon Expert Speakers Ciara Jackson, EMEA Food, Agribusiness & Beverage Practice Leader, Risk Consulting Leader @Aon Ireland Ciara Jackson leads Aon’s EMEA Food, Agribusiness & Beverage Industry Group. This group meets regularly, with a focus on sharing ideas, and understanding sector trends so that Aon is best placed to advise their clients. An emerging risk specialist, Ciara engages with many of Aon’s largest global clients, with an emphasis on risk identification, assessment and developing industry-specific solutions for emerging risks. She is a co-founder of the Agri-Food Diversity and Inclusion Forum in Ireland, and a recognized thought leader in the industry, having authored numerous publications, and presented at key industry events and seminars. She has worked with global businesses (Grant Thornton, General Electric, Kerry Group) in financial, operational, commercial, business development, strategic and leadership roles. José María Segón, Head of Specialties @Aon Spain José María leads the Specialties Business Operation of Aon Spain focused on delivering innovative solutions to corporates, banks and global firms through a multidisciplinary highly specialized team. He is responsible for executing Aon’s Spain Specialties agenda focused on driving growth across the different solution lines to the C-Suite of the Clients. He joined Aon in 2000 and has successfully built and developed the Credit Operation being part of the EMEA Credit Leadership since the beginning. He has a solid background in setting up and developing both Team and Businesses in Trade Credit, Financial Lines, M&A, Surety and Political Risk operations for more than 20 years in the UK, French and US markets. Kary Yates, Executive Director Practice Leader, Product Recall and Contamination @Aon London Kary is the Practice Leader of the Product Recall and Contamination Team based in the Aon London Global Broking Centre.  Kary’s role is to lead, manage and coordinate global product recall and contamination placements for Aon relating to business that is placed through Aon’s Global Broking Centre, London. Primary duties include product recall and contamination programme design and placement; new product development; market facing as well as client facing alongside the Aon retail network. Kary has exceptional relationships with the London recall and contamination markets as well as proven sales and account management experience. Karl Curran, Director, Financial & Professional Services @Aon Ireland Karl has been with Aon for almost 14 years and in that time he has developed a number of differentiating products and led a number of EMEA wide D&O and Cyber initiatives to deliver value for clients. He has considerable expertise with the placement of large complex D&O programmes and advises several EMEA domiciled companies, foreign listed companies, funds and NFP entities on their D&O exposures. Separately Karl sits on Aon’s Financial Lines EMEA Steering Committee and Aon’s EMEA Cyber leadership team. Karl is associate of the Chartered Insurance Institute and is a Licentiate of Institute of Banking where he currently holds the designation “Professional Banker”. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/join-us-february-for-a-stimulating-free-webinar-on-managing-riskCOVID-19 Update: February 10, 2021One year after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared public health emergency of international concern over the outbreak of the COVID-19, the pandemic has already infected more than 105 million people all over the world, including nearly 2.4 million deaths. The worst-hit countries are the United States, India and Brazil, followed by Russia, the UK and France. By regions, there are over 46 million confirmed cases in the Americas, more than 35 million in Europe, over 13 million confirmed cases in South-East Asia, and 2.6 million in Africa. The number of vaccinations is rapidly increasing. So far, more than 131 million people have been vaccinated across 73 countries. In the United States, at the current rate of vaccinations, it is expected that 75% of the US population will be covered with a two-dose vaccine within 10 months.   The Davos Agenda took place from January 25 to 29, 2021. The World Economic Forum's January meetings brought together leaders from governments, businesses and civil society to collaborate on solutions to the most pressing issues of the day. The top impacts from the Davos Agenda included the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and supporting social entrepreneurs fighting COVID-19, among other issues. WHO About a year ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared public health emergency of international concern over the outbreak of the COVID-19 –the highest level of alarm under international law. WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom highlighted that vaccines cannot exacerbate inequalities. Dr. Adhanom also challenged government and industry leaders to ensure, during the first 100 days of 2021, the ongoing vaccination of health workers and elder people.   Dr. Adhanom also remarked that: “Globally, the number of vaccinations has now overtaken the number of reported infections. But more than three-quarters of those vaccinations are in just 10 countries that account for almost 60% of global GDP. Around 130 countries, with 2.5 billion people, are yet to administer a single dose.” WHO COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, published the forecast for the distribution of vaccines to participating countries. However, Dr. Adhanom warned that countries need to share doses when they finished vaccinating health workers and elder people, and also a greater production of vaccines is needed. IMF The International Monetary Fund (IMF) updated the World Economic Outlook. It highlights the fact that recent vaccine approvals have raised hopes of a turnaround in the pandemic. However, the surge of new variants of the COVID-19 as well as new waves of the pandemic, pose concerns for the outlook. Under this uncertain scenario, the global economy is projected to grow 5.5% in 2021 (up 0.3% compared to the previous forecast) and 4.2% in 2022. These predictions reflect expectations of a vaccine-powered strengthening of activity later in 2021 and additional policy support in a few large economies.   The projected growth recovery this year follows a severe collapse in 2020 that has had acute adverse impacts on women, youth, the poor, the informally employed, and those who work in contact-intensive sectors. The global growth contraction for 2020 is estimated at 3.5%, 0.9 percentage point higher than projected in the previous forecast. However, the recovery will vary significantly across countries, depending on access to medical intervention and effectiveness of policy support, among other factors.   The IMF recommends policy actions to ensure effective support until the recovery is firmly underway, as well as strong multilateral cooperation to bring the pandemic under control everywhere.   Some of the IMF projections for 2021 include a 5.1% GDP growth in the US, 4.2% in the Euro Area, 3.1% in Japan, 8.1% growth in China, and 11.5% in India, among others. WTO The World Trade Organization (WTO) Deputy Director-General, Alan Wolff urged WTO ministers to make 2021 “a year of substantial accomplishments” by taking action on health, sustainability issues, and the joint statement initiatives. He also emphasized that cooperation on trade can accelerate access to vaccines, and called for immediate action on trade and health.  Australia Australia reopened the travel bubble with New Zealand, after no new cases were found. However, new screening measures were added. The travel bubble between the two countries does not require travelers to quarantine for 14 days, because arrivals from New Zealand are judged to be sufficiently low risk given the strong public health response of the neighboring country. However, Australia would require the screening of travelers from New Zealand before and after flights until February 9.   On February 1, Perth entered into a five-day strict lockdown, affecting 2 million people, after a  new case of COVID-19 was found. Australia managed to largely contain the COVID-19 pandemic, by applying strict public health measures including lockdowns and border controls. Australia’s vaccination campaign is expected to begin in February. Chile The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued the latest Economic Survey of Chile. According to the OECD, Chile plunged into a recession by the double shock of the 2019 social protests and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Sound public finances enabled stimulus actions to support the economy. When the health crisis is under control, and the recovery underway, the reforms need to be focused on boosting jobs, and making growth work for all. The report projects a 4.2% GDP growth in 2021, and 3% in 2022. However, Chile’s GDP dropped about 6% in 2020. The OECD warns that social conflict and political uncertainty could decrease the pace of recovery.  China Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the Davos’ Agenda of the World Economic Forum, which took place from January 25 to 29, in virtual format because of the pandemic. The headline of this edition was “A crucial Year to Rebuild Trust”. President Xi said “We once again have a chance to rebuild,”, calling for rethinking the economic model in the light of a pandemic that has worsened inequality worldwide. He also said that “Covid-19 has delivered the final blow” to the post-war model where free markets and limited government produced prosperity and progress that now is “no longer sustainable, environmentally or socially.” EU On January 29, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was developed in conjunction with researchers at the University of Oxford.   Despite certain delays in deliveries of vaccines, the EU aims to vaccinate 70% of adults by late summer. Until now, more than 12 million people of the EU’s 446 million population have received at least a first dose. 18 million vaccine doses have already been delivered to the EU.   The European Council reviewed the list of third countries for which Member States should gradually lift restrictions on non-essential travel. Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, from January 28, Member States should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries: Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity. The criteria covers the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations. Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation. In addition to this, on February 1, the European Council updated the recommendations on travel restrictions from third countries into the EU. These recommendations include: 1) less than 25 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days; 2) a stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period, compared to the previous 14 days; 3) more than 300 tests per 100,000 inhabitants in the previous 7 days, if the data is available; 4) not more than 4% positive tests among all COVID-19 tests carried out in the previous 7 days, if the data is available; and 5) the nature of the virus in a country, in particular, if new variants have been detected. In addition, the overall response to COVID-19 may be taken into account, in particular available information on aspects such as surveillance, contact tracing, and containment, among others. However, in case the public health situation worsens, travel restrictions may be rapidly reintroduced for non-essential travel. In the same circumstances, Member States may also limit temporarily the categories of essential travelers. Member states should require people traveling for any essential or non-essential reason, with the exception of transport and frontier workers, to have a negative PCR test taken at the earliest 72 hours before departure. They may be required to self-isolate for a period of up to 14 days, as well as further COVID-19 testing as needed during the same period. The European Council updated the recommendations on measures affecting free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a new color (dark red) added to the existing categories of green, orange, red and grey in the weekly map published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). This color will apply to areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels, including more infectious variants. These are defined as areas where the 14-day cumulative COVID-19 case notification rate is 500 per 100,000 people or more. Member States should discourage non-essential travel to red and dark red areas. In addition to this, Member States should require a prior COVID-19 negative test for arrivals as well as mandatory quarantines to people traveling from dark red areas.   On February 3, the European Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper)  approved a negotiating mandate for renewing temporary measures to help transport operators and citizens who are unable to fulfill certain administrative requirements because of COVID-19 measures taken in the Member States. The proposal extends the possibility of temporarily prolonging the validity of specific certificates, licenses and authorizations in the areas of road, rail and inland waterways transport as well as maritime security. This applies, for instance, to driving licenses, roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and boat-masters' certificates. It follows on from similar rules adopted in May 2020.   The European Council adopted a mandate on new temporary rules to help air carriers cope with the drastic decline in air traffic, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is aimed to avoid companies operating empty flights. Therefore, under the general EU airport slot requirements, airlines must use at least 80% of their take-off and landing slots in order to keep them the following year. The Council text grants airlines the possibility to return 50% of their slot series but expects them to use at least 50% of the remaining slots.   The European Commission obliges that exports of COVID-19 vaccines need to be authorized by Member States until the end of March 2021. This measure represents an effort to ensure transparency and timely access to COVID-19 vaccines to EU citizens.  Belgium Belgium closed restaurants and bars indefinitely in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. The food and drink sector asked for the reopening on March 1, or March 15, at the latest. If restaurants remain closed for longer, the economic damage would be inevitable. The sector also claims that the reopening in June last year had little impact on the number of new infections.   The lockdown measures have been extended until April 1, and health experts excluded the possibility of an earlier reopening of the hospitality sector. These measures include curfews, the obligation to telework, the ban of gathering as well as the closure of bars and restaurants. The Consultation Committee, which could examine the relaxing of the measures, is expected to meet on February 26.  France The French Labor Ministry’s Department announced that the number of unemployed people in France rose by 7.5% in 2021, despite a 2.7% drop during the fourth quarter of 2020. The fall in the unemployment rate during the last quarter of 2020 could be explained by the state’s renewal of guaranteed loans and its coverage of the partial activity of employees. These subsidies help to maintain jobs and avoid the closure of certain companies.   The public health situation in the country is quite stable, as the infection rate has not increased significantly over the past two weeks, despite hospitals being nearly overwhelmed. For this reason, a national lockdown is not in the government plans. It is expected that all adults in France will be vaccinated by the end of summer. The AstraZeneca vaccine started to be distributed on February 6, to be delivered to health professionals and people aged 50-64. Germany Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that the country is expected to have 10 million people vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of March. Merkel also said that Germany would be able to offer its adult population a jab by the end of summer.   Germany is planning to ban almost all international air travel, in order to stop the spread of the new variants of the virus. However, Chancellor Merkel is opposed to banning all travel, and has asked to halt tourism if the pandemic continues to spread. Greece Greece extended non-essential travel restrictions for domestic flights until February 8. Only essential airports are allowed essential domestic flights only, including traveling for health issues, for businesses or for family reasons, among others. International travelers are subject to a mandatory stay-at-home order for 7 days. In addition, passengers need to take a rapid test upon arrival, and if positive, the quarantine will be 14 days.  Italy COVID-19 related restrictions were eased in Italy, after severe curbs over the new year holidays. Two-thirds of Italy was declared as a “yellow zone” allowing bars and restaurants to remain open, not only for delivery or take-away.  Spain Spain and Portugal agreed to reintroduce border controls until February 10, to stop the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Entry and exit in Spain through its internal land border with Portugal could be permitted only through authorized passages.   The region of Madrid relaxed COVID-19 restrictions from February 5. Gatherings of up to six people are allowed at outdoor restaurants, up from the current limit of four. However, the hospitality industry closes at 9.00 pm. Take away and delivery services can be ordered until midnight.   The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain hit the labor market hard, especially for the services, tourism, hotel, restaurant and catering sectors. The unemployment rate was 16.13% in January, and there are over 700,000 people affected by a temporary lay-off scheme. Portugal From January 26 until February 14, Portugal suspended all flights to and from Brazil. The Government justifies this suspension of flights with the evolution of the epidemiological situation worldwide, the increase of COVID-19 cases in Portugal and the detection of new strains of the virus.   Portugal also banned outbound travel by Portuguese citizens for two weeks, except for certain cases. Restriction measures such as the closure of non-essential businesses and the ban on movement between municipalities at weekends remain in place.   The health system is almost overwhelmed, with overcrowded intensive care units, triage tents outside clinics and high death rates. The Netherlands The Dutch government plans to extend the nationwide lockdown until March 2. Only elementary schools and daycares were set to reopen on February 8. The country has been in strict lockdown since mid-December, despite growing calls for the easing of the restrictions. India India announced its budget for the fiscal year starting in April, which includes more spending to recover from the COVID-19 recession. The budget contains increased spending on education, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure.   A year after the COVID-19 was first found in the country, the number of new cases is declining, despite being the second worst-hit country, after the US. The vaccination campaign started in mid-January, and it is expected that 300 million people will be immunized by July-August.   According to a recent USDA GAIN report, Cochin port handled 3.2 million tons of cargo in December 2020, representing an 11% increase compared to the same period of the previous year. This recovery is expected to help the port financially, after significant losses due to the pandemic in 2020. Indian Railways increased its rail services at Mumbai Port. Since the start of the pandemic, the use of freight rail significantly expanded, as truck movements had been restricted due to lockdown measures. Japan Japan extended the state of emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic until March 7, a month after it was originally planned.   COVID-19 impacts on food distribution were highlighted in a USDA GAIN report issued on January 25. Japan declared a new 30-day state of emergency until February 7, which was extended until March 7, in response to a third wave of COVID-19 infections. Business travel, which was temporarily allowed for 11 countries and regions, has also been halted until February 7. Additionally, the programs to support domestic tourism have been suspended, with a negative impact on hotel, restaurant, and institutional sales. Restaurant bankruptcies reached a record high in 2020. However, monthly year-on-year retail sales at supermarkets continue to be stronger. In 2020, total supermarket sales were up for the first time in five years.  South Africa South Africa is expected to receive extra 20 million COVID-19 vaccines. The extra doses would potentially raise the total supply above 40 million. South Africa has already secured about 12 million doses from the WHO COVAX vaccine distribution scheme, 12 million from an African Union arrangement, and 9 million from Johnson & Johnson. In addition to this, the country approved the AstraZeneca vaccine for emergency use, with government plans to start offering the first 1.5 million doses of it to health workers from next week. However, a preliminary study led by the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg found that the AZ vaccine was not sufficiently effective against mild and moderate symptoms of the reportedly more contagious South African variant, also known as B.1.351 (or 501.V2). Following the release of these results, South Africa announced that it would temporarily suspend the planned rollout of the AZ vaccine. The government later published a factsheet saying that the Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine instead would be offered from mid-February. United Kingdom According to government figures, nearly 4 million confirmed cases have been reported in the UK. More than 112,000 people died. More than 12 million have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. The number of new cases reached a record level in January, but the number of new cases is declining in February, due to strict mitigation measures in place across the country.   UK residents arriving to the country from hotspot countries are required to quarantine for ten days at hotels, following concerns about new strains of the virus. The measures apply to people coming from most of South America, Southern Africa and Portugal, among others.  United States January has been the deadliest month of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, with more than 95,000 deaths. However, new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are declining as the vaccine roll out continues through the country.   US President Joe Biden renewed the COVID-19 travel ban on most non-US citizens who have recently been in the EU, the UK, Brazil and South Africa, due to the new COVID-19 strains. The new restrictions imposed in the US include tightened mask-wearing rules and mandatory quarantine for inbound travelers.   The U.S. Department of Agriculture temporarily suspended past-due debt collection, foreclosures and other activities on farm loans due to the pandemic.     The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-february-10-2021Taste and Food Safety are Prioritized over Sustainability for European Citizens When Purchasing FoodThe survey, which was conducted across the entire European Union, found that the main factors for consumers when purchasing food was the taste, food safety, and cost. Moreover, there was information showing how consumers view sustainable diets and their opinion on sustainable food. With the European Commission publishing the EU Farm to Fork Strategy earlier in 2020, the Eurobarometer was a specially commissioned survey to evaluate what factors are at play in EU citizens' minds when it comes to food. One of the key findings was that consumers in the EU do not factor in sustainability as much as taste, safety, and cost, however, the results are not entirely bad for sustainability. The survey also revealed that an overwhelming majority of EU citizens welcome additional information on food sustainability. It was found that 88 percent agree that information on sustainability should be required on food labels and 85 percent agree that there should be one logo to help you choose healthy and sustainable foods. For the full report from the USDA, click here. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/taste-and-food-safety-are-prioritized-over-sustainability-for-european-citizens-when-purchasing-foodAlmond Crop Progress Report USA Almond Crop Progress Report The December 2020 Almond Board of California Position Report was published on January 12, 2021 and shows receipts of 2.869 billion lbs. (approx. 1,301,000 metric tons) crop year-to-date. The FY 20/21 crop is now the largest crop on record with additional receipts expected to be reported in the coming months. USDA receipts show an average inedible reject percentage of 1.38% which continues the trend of progressively cleaner crops following the 2017/18 crop year.   Total shipments August through December are up a staggering 22% from 2019/20 at 1.284 billion pounds (around 582,400 MT) which is commensurate with a total supply that is up 23% over the same period. Domestic shipments August through December are up 11.5% from last crop year to 332 million pounds (150,600 MT). Exports are up 26% over the same time period. All regional exports are up year-over-year except for the Middle East. Shipments to key markets India and China/Hong Kong are up 79% and 54% respectively when compared to the first 5 months of last crop year. Given robust commitments and adequate supply, shipments are expected to continue to break records in 2021 as we await bloom and the development of the FY 21/22 crop. Australia Almond Crop Progress Report The 2020 crop produced a record tonnage of 111,000 MT. The loss of bee hives in bush fires at the beginning of 2020, plus COVID-19 related travel restrictions within Australia, caused some concerns for the pollination season in August. Fortunately, beekeepers managed to replace hives and move enough to orchards in southern Australia for pollination to be completed successfully. As reported by the Almond Board of Australia, the growing conditions for the 2021 crop have been favorable. The size of the 2021 crop, to be harvested commencing in February, is forecast at 123,000 MT. The kernel size appears to be very good and this may increase the crop size above the forecast figure should harvest proceed well.   After a slow start to the marketing year for the 2020 crop, shipments picked up with monthly records set for September, October and November. Grower returns are being impacted by lower global almond prices and the stronger Australian dollar exchange rate against the US dollar. The Export Position Report shows 2020/21 shipments from March through November amounted to 66,522 MT (kernel weight equivalent). Asia Pacific was the main destination with 44,681 MT. Vietnam and India had year to date increments of 157% and 38% compared to the same period in 2019/20. Exports to Europe were 14,603 MT. Germany, the Netherlands (with a strong increment from the previous season) and Spain being the major European importers. Spain Almond Crop Progress Report As per AEOFRUSE, based on the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism of Spain data overall shipments YTD –August through November, including re-exports from other origins, conventional and organic; natural and processed almonds– added up to 44,600 MT, similar to the same period in 2019/20. The European Union remains as the leading destination, accounting for 87% of the share. While Germany was the top importer within the EU, the highest increments compared to 2019/20 were presented by Portugal and the Netherlands (13% each), Italy (11%) and France (9%). https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/almond-crop-progress-reportHazelnut Crop Progress Report Turkey Hazelnut Crop Progress Report The season has started with high expectations from the majority of the farmers and trading community, where reluctance to sell and TL devaluation spree during September- November kept TL prices approximately 15% higher than the opening levels. However, with higher than expected carry over in the industry, cautious procurement policies and slower demand due to pandemic-related household economic concerns, the holiday season in lockdown and lower consumer confidence, TL prices lost steam and returned almost at the beginning levels. Higher than usual crop levels in Italy, the US, and Caucasian countries also decreased the overall demand from Turkey. It is the common belief that the majority of the remaining crop is mostly under the ownership of the farmers. As the 2021 season indicates, warm winter is closely watched for drought and early rejuvenation of the orchards. However, currently, male blooming and farm maintenance performances are quite promising. Italy Hazelnut Crop Progress Report The crop ended up even higher than anticipated. The estimate for 2020/21 was consolidated at 160,000 MT in-shell, 19% up above the initial forecast, and presented excellent quality. By the end of last year, 50% of the crop had already been processed and sold and the bumper crop compensated for the lower prices. USA Hazelnut Crop Progress Report The 2020 crop was superb both in terms of quantity and quality; it was a very low defect-year with minimal disease, mold, or insect pressure.   The pandemic continues to present production challenges, although the crop was still all processed in time as to not interrupt production. On a positive note, the “channel-switching” that has occurred across many products may very well provide an opening for new uses for Oregon’s ever-increasing supply of kernels. Traditional in-shell markets, particularly in Asia, were reduced this year as compared to the historical average. The trade challenges between the US and China continue to hamper volumes headed into this channel. Meanwhile, stable kernel demand warranted much of the crop to be shelled. Overall volumes shipped have been typical with other crops, however, with kernel making up a larger percentage than normal. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/hazelnut-crop-progress-reportWalnut Crop Progress Report China Walnut Crop Progress Report Despite crop failure in the north, owing to the increased production in Xinjiang and Yunnan, the final receipt is estimated at 1.1 million metric tons (in-shell basis). Quality is fair and good.   Overseas shipments are not as strong as last season due to a lack of containers for both ocean and land transport. The high freight rate coupled with unfavorable currency exchange has refrained exports from increasing. While anticipating robust local consumption, led by roasted nuts retail and the Chinese New Year’s demand, the industry will try to achieve stronger exports at lower pricing later on in the season. USA Walnut Crop Progress Report The California Walnut Board reported handler receipts, as of December 31, 2020, of 783,754 short tons (711,009 MT). The final crop number will be reported later in the year.   Overall, market demand remains strong driven by increased use at home. Shipments through December 31, 2020, for both in-shell and shelled, have been robust in the Middle East and Africa, showing combined gains of over 30%. With an April Ramadan, shipments are expected to remain strong. While Asian overall demand is increased, many European markets, due to the ongoing pandemic and varying restrictions, are slightly down as compared to the prior year.   In response to strong retail sales in the US and Canada, in-shell and shelled shipments have increased during the first four months of the crop season. Chile Walnut Crop Progress Report Rainfall during winter 2020 was higher than the previous year, still below the historical average, but with a good accumulation of snow, which has allowed normal water availability. However, as the stress caused by the long-standing drought from the previous season is still affecting tree productivity, Chilenut has preliminary adjusted the initial forecast of 164,000 MT in-shell basis 8.5% down to 150,000 MT. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/walnut-crop-progress-reportLatest Trade News and Agreements: February 2021China: 2021 Tariffs On December 21, 2020, China announced its import tariff schedule for 2021.   Regarding nuts and dried fruits, there are no changes if compared to the 2020 tariff list (see previous post). This announcement does not affect the retaliatory tariffs on US exports to China, which continue to be applicable. Tariffs are effective since January 1, 2021.   The listed import tariffs of nuts and dried fruits are the following:   EX* HS Code Commodity MFN Tariff Rate (%) 2021 Tentative Applied Rate (%)   08012100 In-shell Brazil nuts, fresh or dried 10 7   08012200 Shelled Brazil nuts, fresh or dried 10 7   08013100 In-shell cashews, fresh or dried 20 7   08013200 Shelled cashews, fresh or dried 10 7   08021100 In-shell almonds, fresh or dried 24 10   08025100 In-shell pistachios, fresh or dried 10 5   08025200 Shelled pistachios, fresh or dried 10 5   08026200 Shelled macadamia nuts 24 12 ex 08029090 Pecan (whether or not shelled or peeled) 24 7 ex 08134090 Dried cranberries 25 15 * EX indicates that commodities applicable to tentative duties should be within the HS code and should be determined by the Mandarin Chinese commodity description.   Announcement of the Customs Tariff Commission   USDA GAIN Report: China Lowers Applied MFN Tariff Rates China 2021 Tariff Schedule EU: Agriculture MEPs Call for a Truce in EU-US Trade Dispute In a letter addressed to EU’s Executive Vice-President and Commissioner for Trade, Valdis Dombrovskis, the Chair of the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee Norbert Lins and the majority of political groups in the committee call on the European Commission “to intervene directly” in the Airbus/Boeing dispute as sanctions stemming from it are “causing severe damage to numerous European agricultural sectors”.   As reported by the press office of the European Parliament, the letter requests the Commissioner for Trade “to negotiate with President Biden’s administration a moratorium on sanctions on both sides of the Atlantic which would allow negotiators to find an effective and long-lasting solution to this dispute”. “A conflict arising in the aeronautical field is gravely impacting agricultural communities across Europe, which are already struggling with the dire impacts of the COVID-19 crisis”, Agriculture MEPs write in the letter.   At the same time, the European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit & Edible Nuts, Processed Fruit & Vegetables, Processed Fishery products, Spices, Honey (FRUCOM) has co-signed a letter together with 71 other trade associations from the EU and the UA calling on the European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, and US President, Joseph R. Biden to remove, or at least suspend all punitive tariffs affecting Trans-Atlantic trade in goods unrelated to the Airbus/Boeing and steel and aluminium disputes. EU: Positive Impacts of Trade Agreements on Agri-Food Sector According to a recent study by the Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), trade agreements result in increases in EU agri-food exports, creating a positive trade balance overall.    The study also confirms that the EU's approach to grant a limited amount of lower duty imports (through tariff rate quotas) is the best in terms of protecting vulnerable agri-food sectors in the EU. The study covered the cumulative effects of 12 trade agreements on the agri-food sector by 2030. In addition to this, the analysis includes trade results for the agricultural sector as a whole, and sector-specific impacts on trade, producer prices and production volumes.   Commission study finds positive impacts of trade agreements on agri-food sector Morocco: 2021 US Tariffs Morocco announced the 2021 Tariff Schedule, under the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA), according to a USDA GAIN Report issued on January 6, 2021.   Among other products, from January 1, 2021, imports of US almonds, were listed at zero tariff and zero quota.   HS 2017 Product Description Preferential treatment 0802.11.00 Almonds in-shell Rate: 0% Quantity: unlimited 0802.12.00 Almonds shelled Rate: 0% Quantity: unlimited   USDA GAIN Report: Morocco Announces 2021 FTA Tariff Schedule Turkey: Walnut Tariffs  According to a USDA GAIN Report, on December 31, 2020, the Government of Turkey raised MFN import tariffs for in-shell and shelled walnuts to 15%, except for countries that have a free trade agreement with Turkey.   HS Code Description MFN Tariff 080231 In-Shell Walnut 15% 080232 Shelled Walnut 15%   US origin in-shell and shelled walnuts are subject to an additional 10% retaliatory tariff (see previous post):   HS Code Description MFN Tariff US Retaliatory Tariff Total tariff for US imports 080231 In-Shell Walnut 15% 10% 25% 080232 Shelled Walnut 15% 10% 25%   In addition, the Turkish Government abolished the Housing Development Fund Fee (HDFF) of 320 USD/MT that was being paid for importing walnuts to Turkey. However, the oversight (or reference) price system was re-introduced. The oversight price is a minimum price that the government uses for tax purposes, even if the commodity was purchased below the oversight price.   The following oversight (or reference) price was re-introduced:   HS Code Description Oversight Value on CIF (USD/MT) 080231 In-Shell Walnut 3,500 USD 080232 Shelled Walnut 6,500 USD   Turkey Returns to 2018 Customs Tariff Regime for Walnuts https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-february-2021Sustainability Update: February 2021FAO: International Innovation Award for Sustainable Food and Agriculture The Federal Government of Switzerland and the FAO announced the second edition of the International Innovation Award for Sustainable Food and Agriculture.   The award is open to individuals, private companies or institutions and comprises two categories: Category A awards excellence in digitization and innovation for sustainable food systems (USD 30,000) Category B recognizes an innovation that specifically empowers youth (under 35) in sustainable food systems (USD 30,000)   The award does not only acknowledge digital innovation, but also new or existing products or practices that are used in a specific context, to increase effectiveness, competitiveness and resilience.   The deadline for applications is March 19, 2021.   #AgInnovation   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-february-2021Labeling Update: February 2021EU: Geographical Indications The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the revision of EU geographical indication scheme.   The Commission invites organizations from the farming sector and public authorities, among others, to contribute to the assessment of how to strengthen the geographical indications’ system. The aim is to assess how to strengthen the geographical indications’ system; gather views on the major challenges identified as well as their underlying causes, the set of policy options that can be envisaged to address these challenges and the impacts of these different options.   The EU protects almost 3,400 names of specific products under one if its quality schemes: Geographical Indication (GI), Protected Designations of Origin (PDO), Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG).   The deadline for feedback is April 9, 2021.   EU Consultation on Geographical Indications Schemehttps://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-update-february-2021Promotions Update: February 2021Chile: Green light for Walnut Promotional Campaigns in Germany and India In recent news from Chilenut, it has been reported that the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile and ProChile approved two projects related to walnut promotion strategies in Germany and India, as well as the organization of the next Exponut during the second half of the year.   Despite all the obstacles the season faced due to the COVID-19, the Chilean industry has shipped over 125,000 metric tons of walnuts (in-shell equivalent) from March 21 through December 31, 2020. The final figures will be available at the end of March.   For more information, please contact Chilenut. US: Pecan Promotion, Research, and Information Order On January 13, the Federal Register published the rule for the Pecan Promotion, Research, and Information Order, with an effective date February 12, 2021.   The purpose of the program is to strengthen the position of pecans in the marketplace, maintain and expand markets for pecans, and develop new uses for pecans.   This rule also establishes the procedures for conducting a referendum to determine whether the continuation of the proposed Order is favored by domestic producers and importers of pecans. In addition, this rule announces the Agricultural Marketing Service's approval of new pecan information collection requirements by the Office of Management and Budget.   Assessment collection will begin October 1, 2021.   Federal Register, Vol. 86, No. 8. Wednesday, January 13, 2021. Pages 2880-2901 https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/promotions-update-february-2021Nutrition Update: February 2021UK: Salt Reduction, Targets for 2024 Back in September 2020, Public Health England published two sets of targets for levels of salt in food products and drinks, to be achieved by 2024.   The targets, published here (to align with calorie reduction ambitions) are the 5th set of voluntary salt reduction targets, which aim to gradually reduce the levels of salt in the foods that contribute the most salt to the diet.   Salt targets have been set for crisps and snacks, flavored nuts, cakes, pastries, biscuits, meat alternatives, and beverages, among others.   https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/nutrition-update-february-2021Food Safety Update: February 2021EU: Ochratoxin A and Hydrocyanic Acid In recent news from the European Federation of the Trade in Dried Fruit & Edible Nuts, Processed Fruit & Vegetables, Processed Fishery products, Spices, Honey (FRUCOM), the European Commission started discussions with the Members States on possible maximum levels for ochratoxin A in dried vine fruit, dried figs, other dried fruit including dates, and pistachios, and for hydrocyanic acid in almonds.   No conclusions have been made yet. The discussions will continue in the coming weeks. SQF Edition 9, Effective May 24 In October 2020, the Global Food Safety Institute (GFSI) released the latest edition of the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Code for audits, a tool intended to support food safety management practice. Edition 9 will be implemented on May 24, 2021.   Safe Food Alliance is offering a free webinar on February 23, with a team of their auditing experts, to discuss challenges, strategies and the biggest changes to the Code: Are you ready for Edition 9? SQF Code, Edition 9 Downloadshttps://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-february-2021Agricultural Quality Standards Update: February 2021EU Marketing Standards for Agricultural Products, Consultation The European Commission has opened a consultation on the EU marketing standards for agricultural products.   This initiative aims to update the EU marketing standards 1) to encourage the supply of more sustainable products to consumers; 2) to simplify current legislation, which uses several legal instruments, and 3) to align EU rules with requirements under the Lisbon Treaty.   The Commission is welcoming feedback for the Inception Impact Assessment, which aims to inform citizens and stakeholders about the Commission's plans in order to allow them to provide feedback on the intended initiative and to participate effectively in future consultation activities. Citizens and stakeholders are invited to provide views on the Commission's understanding of the problem and possible solutions and to make available any relevant information that they may have, including on possible impacts of the different options.   The options for a revision of EU marketing standards for agricultural products are: Eliminate the EU’s agricultural marketing standards (so they can be replaced by international, national or private standards if and where needed). Do not revise the substance of the current marketing standards but align the existing legislation with the procedural requirements of the Lisbon Treaty. Revise the current marketing standards to modernize them (e.g. to take into account technological change and new production methods), increase their contribution to the sustainability of the food system, align the rules with the requirements of the Lisbon Treaty, and simplify existing legislation by consolidating rules on marketing standards in fewer regulations. As (3) and introduce new marketing standards for agricultural products where such rules can help standardize the quality of agricultural products or contribute to the sustainability of the food system. As (3) and introduce marketing standards for all agricultural products.   The consultation is open until February 16, 2021. The adoption of a new directive is planned for the second quarter of 2022.   Consultation https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/agricultural-quality-standards-update-february-2021Corporate Due Diligence Update: February 2021EU Legal Affairs Committee Adopts Mandatory Due Diligence Legal Affairs Committee MEPs voted in favor of a new EU law that requires companies to comply with human rights and environmental standards within their value chains.   The draft legislative initiative calls on the European Commission to urgently present a law that ensures companies are held accountable and liable when they harm –or contribute to harming– human rights, the environment and good governance. It must also guarantee access to legal remedies for victims. EU due diligence rules would require companies to identify, address and remedy their impact on human rights and the environment throughout their value chain. Rules should apply to all companies operating in EU internal market, including those from outside the EU. Companies should be held liable for their actions and be fined for causing harm or contributing to it, unless they can prove that they have acted in line with due diligence obligations and taken measures to prevent such harm. The rights of victims or stakeholders in third countries would also be better protected. MEPs call for a ban on importing products linked to severe human rights violations such as forced or child labour.   Press release https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/corporate-due-diligence-update-february-2021Pesticides Update: February 2021Australia: Trade Advice Notice on Fluopyram and Tebuconazole The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is considering an application to vary the use of fluopyram and tebuconazole in the product Luna Experience Fungicide for use on grapes.   Bayer CropScience Pty Ltd has applied to APVMA to vary the registration of Luna Experience Fungicide to add a use on grapevines. The product contains fluopyram and tebuconazole as active ingredients. Comment is sought on the potential for the proposed uses to cause undue risk to Australian trade. Tebuconazole is registered for use on grapes at higher application concentrations and later timings than proposed (e.g. Orius 430 SC Fungicide, P58733). Current MRLs for tebuconazole on grapes at 5 mg/kg, dried grapes at 7 mg/kg and grape pomace, dry at 15 mg/kg remain appropriate for the proposed use. The use of fluopyram on table grapes and grapes for drying was previously registered and MRLs were established at 2 mg/kg for table grapes and 15 mg/kg for dried grapes (currants, raisins and sultanas), however that use is no longer approved. APVMA invites any person to submit a relevant written submission as to whether the application to vary the registration of Luna Experience Fungicide should be granted. Submissions must be received by February 15, 2021.   Trade Advice Notice on fluopyram and tebuconazole in the product Luna Experience Fungicide for use on grapes Codex: Pesticides, Schedules and Priority Lists The Codex Alimentarius is requesting comments on the establishment of the schedules and priority lists of pesticides for evaluation/re-evaluation by the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting of Pesticide Residues (JMPR).   Member countries and Observers are strongly encouraged to provide advice on the compounds that remain unsupported, including Amitraz PHC (122), Bromopropylate PHC (070), Fenarimol PHC (192), Dichloran PHC (083), Bromide ion (047), Fenbutatin oxide (109), and Permethrin (120), among others.   More information EU: Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the revision of the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive (SUD) with deadline for feedback April 12, 2021.   As part of the European Green Deal, the Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy sets specific targets to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides by 2030.   The Commission is evaluating the SUD and assessing the impacts of possible future measures intended to significantly reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides. The rules encourage reducing pesticides through integrated pest management and alternatives to chemical pesticides.   On January 19, the Commission held the first stakeholder consultation event. More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-february-2021Brief COVID-19 Update: February 3, 2021At the end of January, border restrictions were tightened in the United States, France, Israel and Sweden, among others, in order to contain the new variants of the virus. Scientist claim that large scale vaccinations are the only way to end the pandemic. However, in certain countries, the roll-out seems to be slower than originally planned.   The International Monetary Fund (IMF) updated the World Economic Outlook and it highlighted the fact that recent vaccine approvals have raised hopes of a turnaround in the pandemic. However, the appearance of new variants of the COVID-19 as well as new waves of the pandemic, pose concerns for the outlook. Under this uncertain scenario, the global economy is projected to grow 5.5% in 2021 (up 0.3% compared to the previous forecast) and 4.2% in 2022. Such predictions reflect expectations of a vaccine-powered strengthening of activity later in 2020 and additional policy support in a few large economies.   The World Trade Organization (WTO) Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff has urged WTO ministers to make 2021 “a year of substantial accomplishments” by taking action on health, sustainability issues, and other initiatives. He also emphasized that cooperation on trade can accelerate access to vaccines, and called for immediate action on trade and health. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-february-3-2021Davos World Economic Forum: Top ImpactsThe World Economic Forum has identified eleven top impacts from the Davos Agenda, from COVID-19 to social justice and the environment: Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic: Through the COVID Action Platform, the Forum and its Partners have launched more than 40 initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bringing racial justice to the workplace: The Partnering for Racial Justice in Business initiative brings together 48 companies to set new global standards for racial and ethnic justice in business. Using blockchain to track and reduce emissions: A new effort uses distributed ledger technology to trace emissions across the value chain in the mining and metals industry. Fostering a multi-generational inclusive workforce: Fifty global companies representing more than two million employees have come together with the Forum, the OECD and AARP to create the Living Learning and Earning Longer initiative. Improving physical and mental health in cities: The Healthy Cities and Communities initiative is examining the link between cities and healthy living. Applying technology to combat plastic pollution: A new project is providing visibility and support to workers in Ghana known as waste pickers who clean up communities and natural areas. Building a global response to cybersecurity risks: Businesses are building a global response to cybersecurity risks through the Future Series: Cybercrime 2025. Charting a course for cities to reach net-zero: From clean electrification to efficient buildings and smart infrastructure, a new initiative will help cities chart a course towards a net-zero carbon future. Committing to disability inclusion across companies: More than 400 companies have joined the Valuable 500 initiative and committed to increasing their organization’s confidence and competence in disability inclusion. Closing the digital gap: The new EDISON Alliance will bring together governments and industries to accelerate digital inclusion and connect critical sectors of the economy. Supporting social entrepreneurs fighting COVID-19: The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs, launched in April 2020, is mobilizing support for and raising awareness of the vital role that social entrepreneurs play in responding to the COVID-19 crisis. More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/davos-world-economic-forum-top-impactsCOVID-19 Update: January 27, 2021Despite the negative numbers of both infected people and those who died because of the pandemic, mass vaccination campaigns continue to grow worldwide. To this day, more than 65.6 million people in 56 countries have been vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the recent discovery of new variants of the virus raises questions about the efficacy of the different vaccines against the new strains.   According to a new study, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is likely to protect against the highly infectious variant of the COVID-19 first identified in the UK. Other laboratories such as Moderna and AstraZeneca are currently testing if their vaccines protect against the new variants. Shipping costs skyrocket by 300% Shipping costs have skyrocketed due to lack of empty containers and delays for goods purchased from China.   The European Association for Forwarding, Transport, Logistics and Customs Services (CLECAT) and the European Shippers' Council (ESC) have alerted the European Commission on the current practices of liner shipper carriers as European supply chains are becoming more distorted. These include the violation of existing contracts, the establishment of unreasonable conditions concerning the acceptance of bookings and the unilateral setting of rates far in excess of those agreed in contracts. The delays and lack of space, combined with the surge in tariffs, present a serious risk to the ability of economic recovery.   The World Shipping Council wrote in a statement early last month, “Vessel capacity is fully utilized, and little excess is available.” The pandemic has severely impacted access to containers and equipment. As inland transportation, port and warehousing operations have been hit by lockdowns, labor shortages and volume overloads, the positioning, use and return of containers within the global supply chain has slowed. WHO The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom announced that the WHO emergency committee met and made a series of recommendations on the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee emphasized the need for governments to do anything within their means to curb down the number of new infections through tried and tested public health measures. Dr. Adhanom also emphasized the need to roll out COVID-19 vaccines equitably, especially in the least developed countries.   The WHO Director-General also highlighted the importance of safe and effective vaccines in order to curb down the spread of the pandemic. The recent emergence of rapidly-spreading variants makes the rapid and equitable rollout of vaccines all the more important. IMF The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts a 7.9% growth of China’s GDP in 2021, slightly down from its previous prediction of 8.2% growth. The IMF report states that: “The Chinese economy continues its fast recovery from the health and economic crisis as a strong containment effort and macroeconomic and financial policy support have mitigated the crisis impact and helped the economy rebound.” Australia Since January 22, foreign nationals traveling to Australia are required to provide COVID-19 tests with negative results, taken 72 hours of their departure. All passengers are asked to face a 14-day hotel quarantine upon their arrival, and face masks are mandatory on all international flights. Among the COVID-19 mitigation measures adopted, there are border closures, mass screenings and strict lockdowns. However, the economic damage caused by these measures is beginning to ease and the economy rebounds as outbreaks seem to be under control.  Brazil On January 17, Brazil approved two COVID-19 vaccines and started a vaccination campaign amid a steep surge in new cases. On January 15, the state of Amazonas declared a ten-day curfew from 7:00 pm to 6:00 am to stop the rapid spread of the virus. In addition to this, non-essential businesses closed for 15 days. China China declared a state of emergency in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, to curb down the spike of new cases. Previously, China locked down the cities of Xingtai and Shijiazhuang, as the daily number of new coronavirus cases doubled on January 10. Both cities tested all 13 million residents. On January 22, Beijing started mass screening of more than 2 million people in the city center, after the discovery of two cases of the COVID-19 variant first found in the UK. In addition to this, more than 15 million people have been vaccinated in China against COVID-19, as the country prepares for the upcoming Lunar New Year Festival. It is also expected that the holiday traffic will drop by about 40% compared with 2019. Regarding economic recovery, China’s economy grew 2.3% in 2020, being the only major economy that avoided a contraction. However, China experienced its slowest economic expansion in more than 40 years. According to the latest trade figures, exports in December grew 18.1% compared to the same month last year, and imports to China increased by 6.5%.  EU On January 21, the European Council held a videoconference focused on responding to the second wave of the pandemic. EU leaders highlighted the seriousness of the situation, especially regarding the new variants, and they aim to limit the spread of the pandemic by the adoption of similar measures in all EU member states. Some of the conclusions are the following: 1) Internal borders need to stay open in order to ensure the flow of essential goods and services. However, EU leaders strongly discourage non-essential travel, and warned that stricter restrictions may be implemented if the spread of new cases continues; 2) EU leaders welcomed the agreement on rapid antigen tests and the mutual recognition of the results; 3) Vaccination plans need to be accelerated, and delays should be avoided; 4) Leaders agreed to work on a standardized and inter-operable form of proof of vaccination for medical purposes, and 5) leaders reaffirmed their solidarity with third countries.   The European Council reached an agreement on mutual recognition of COVID-19 tests. Tests carried out in any member country will be recognized by all 27 EU Member States. This is an essential tool to stop the spread of the virus and contribute to the smooth functioning of the internal market. In addition to this, the mutual recognition of test results is expected to facilitate cross-border movement, cross-border contact tracing and treatment.   It is expected that by January 29, the EU will approve the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. This jab would be the third one approved in the EU, following BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna. The EU has sealed six vaccine contracts for up to 2 billion doses for a population of approximately 450 million.   The European Commission recently approved a €12 billion scheme which will enable Germany to compensate businesses for the damages suffered because of the restrictions imposed to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the scheme, companies from all sectors will be entitled to compensation for damages suffered during the lockdown periods imposed by the German government in 2020. The compensation, in the form of direct grants, covers either up to 100% of the actual damage incurred during the lockdown periods, or 75 % of the turnover in the reference months of November and December 2019, whichever amount is lower. Belgium Belgium extended COVID-19 mitigation measures until March 1, in order to avoid a new resurgence of the pandemic caused by the premature relaxation of the measures. However, in case that the public health situation improves significantly, the measures could be relaxed in February. Belgium’s Consultation Committee plans to ban non-essential travel, due to the fact that, on January 21, the European Council didn’t reach an EU-wide solution regarding this matter. France On January 16, France adopted a 6 pm nationwide curfew for at least 15 days,  to contain the spread of the COVID-19, as well as its new strains. In addition to this, France tightened border controls for non-EU citizens, which, since January 18, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before the departure.  Germany A new strain of the COVID-19 has been found in Bavaria. For the moment, it is not known if it is more contagious or more deadly than the COVID-19 and its already discovered variants in the UK and South Africa. Regarding the public health situation, Germany surpassed 50,000 COVID-19 deaths on January 22. As the situation in Germany did not improve, the government strengthened restrictions. These new restrictions include the extension of a partial lockdown until February 14, border checks, mandatory wearing of medical-quality masks in certain places, as well as the obligation to work from home.  Greece Studies suggest that the pandemic may cause the closure of between 80,000 to 100,000 businesses in Greece, if additional post-pandemic supportive measures are not taken. Italy Italy announced that COVID-19 restrictions already in force, such as night curfew from 10 pm, continue to be applicable until March 5. Therefore, travel restrictions will also be in place, a regional travel ban will remain until February 15, and other non-essential businesses such as gyms and pools will remain closed until March 5. More than one million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 in Italy, and it is expected that most of the population could be inoculated by September. Spain Spain is planning certain reforms in order to access the EU funding sooner, with the aim to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic. The reforms, focused on digitalization and the transition to a greener economy are expected to accelerate the €72 billion of EU funds over three years. On January 25, Spain reported 93,822 new coronavirus cases –the highest weekend figure since the start of the pandemic. The country has likely reached the peak of the third wave and the Health Ministry has warned the situation in hospitals is “critical”. New restriction measures are going into effect in Valencia, Galicia, Madrid, Murcia, Andalusia and the Basque Country to curb the virus, from tighter limitations on public gatherings to perimetral lockdowns on weekends. Spain is under a state of alarm since October. Portugal Portugal ordered a strict COVID-19 lockdown, to curb down the increasing number of new cases. Under the lockdown terms, it is mandatory to stay home, including for work. However, schools and companies that provide essential services keep functioning. The non-essential businesses that remain closed will receive financial help. In addition to this, schools will close for two weeks, in order to stop the spread of the new variants of the COVID-19. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) attributed the increase of new cases due to the relaxation of restrictions during December holidays, and to the new COVID-19 strains. The Netherlands To stop the spread of the new COVID-19 variant, the Netherlands introduced a curfew from 9 pm and 4:30 am, starting on January 23, until February 9. These measures were set to expire on January 19, but the reports on the spread of new COVID-19 variants forced the decision. Since mid-December, there is a lockdown which closed non-essential businesses, schools and restaurants, and there is also a limitation of social contacts. In addition to this, flights from the UK, South Africa and South America are banned, due to the number of new variants that have been reported there. India India reported more than 10.63 million COVID-19 cases and 153,032 deaths. However, the country has already inoculated more than one million people within a week. About 30 million healthcare workers will be the first to get vaccinated, followed by 270 million high-risk people and people over 50.   Trade volumes fell 9% for India’s top 12 state-run ports, from April to December, compared to the same period of 2019, according to a recent USDA GAIN report. Mumbai Port cargo volume dropped 18% during the same period, if compared to the previous year. Mudra port handled 44% more cargo volume in December, compared to the same period of 2019. The cargo volume in Tuticorin, Kandla, Chennai, Mangalore, Kolkata and Cochin ports dropped 12%, 9%, 15%, 7%, 7% and 14%, respectively, during April-December, compared to the same period of the previous year. Japan Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told the Parliament that the already postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo will go ahead. The President of the International Olympic Committee also agrees with the statement of the PM. If the Olympics take place in 2021, there will be preventive and mitigation measures in place in order to avoid new infections. However, polls indicate that the public support for the 2021 Olympics has plummeted. Malaysia Malaysia declared a state of emergency, and the Parliament has been suspended for six months, in order to curb down the spread of the pandemic. South Africa The number of new cases in South Africa has almost doubled in January. It is suspected that a more contagious strain of COVID-19 may be causing this second wave of infections in the country. The restrictions in force to contain the spread of the pandemic include the closure of beaches and reintroduced curbs on alcohol sales, among others. The World Bank projects South Africa’s GDP to rebound by 3.3% in 2021. South Korea The country is in talks to secure 40 million COVID-19 vaccines from Novavax. If this agreement is reached, it will ensure 146 million doses, more than enough for its 52 million inhabitants. In addition to this, it is expected that South Korea will start mass vaccinations in February. Turkey The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development recently issued an Economic Survey of Turkey. The report highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic hit Turkey’s people and economy hard, accentuating pre-existing challenges. The OECD also says that a full recovery from the crisis will take time, given the uncertainty over the future evolution of the pandemic, the decrease of tourism, as well as Turkey’s limited welfare provisions and high levels of corporate and household debt. It is also expected that when the recovery comes and investor confidence is restored, a combination of market, institutional and education reforms could lift the GDP by 1% per year. United Kingdom The COVID-19 related death toll in the UK approaches 100,000. For the moment, it is Europe’s worst figure and the fifth-worst worldwide, after the US, Brazil, India and Mexico. The early relaxation of COVID-19 mitigation measures in the country would represent a higher number of infections. In addition to this, Scotland extended lockdown measures until mid-February. The measures include the closure of schools and non-essential businesses. United States US president Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package aimed to revive the economy. The spending proposal will build on the two massive relief packages approved by Congress in 2020. It includes a series of measures such as stimulus payment checks for individuals, $160 billion for the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, about $440 billion for small businesses and communities particularly hit by the pandemic, among others. In addition to this, it is expected that the new presidency will sign an order requiring face masks on federal property as well as for interstate travel. POTUS also asked citizens to commit to wearing face masks for at least 100 days, in order to curb down the spread of the pandemic. The US will require COVID-19 negative tests for inbound air travelers within the previous three days. The new measure came into effect on January 26. This measure was announced by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), expanding the measures currently in place for UK travelers, after the emergence of new variants. The CDC will also recommend that travelers stay home for seven days and get another test some days after their arrival.   From January 19 until February 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency is accepting new or modified applications for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). USDA announced the additional assistance on January 15, which includes expanding CFAP eligibility for some agricultural producers and commodities, and updating payments to accurately compensate some producers who already applied for earlier assistance. This additional assistance builds on about $23.6 billion in payments made available through CFAP 1 and CFAP 2 earlier signups.     The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-january-27-2021Sign Up Now for the 2021 INC Academia This year students will have the opportunity to personalize their learning experience and tailor the program to fit their needs. Furthermore, with some new courses, students can dive into the topics of International Markets, Risks & Insurances, and Cross-Cultural Negotiation, with subunits on the new INC Short Form Contract and Nut Allergy! Registration is currently open for this edition of the INC Academia and prospective students can enroll all the way up until October 31, 2021! For those students who enroll in the General Elective Track, the deadline to complete the program is 3 months from the start date. Those students who elect to undertake a Specialized Elective course, the deadline is 1 month from the start date. As there is a new track, past students are encouraged to take advantage of the new courses within the Specialized Elective Track and they will receive a discounted price of €400, from the original €600 for each course! INC members will get a reduced price of €1500, down from the normal €2000 for the General Elective Course and €450, reduced from normal €600, for the specialized courses! Don’t miss your chance to partake in the best education courses for the nut and dried fruit industry! Enroll today! https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sign-up-now-for-the-2021-inc-academiaJoin the INC for Anuga 2021After a year of live in-person food fairs shifting to virtual conferences, the INC is pleased to announce its intention to participate in Anuga 2021, from October 9-13. With enhanced safety measures taken by the organizers of Anuga, this event guarantees to be the ideal time and place to gather once again and celebrate being able to do business in a face-to-face setting once again! Due to the new rules caused by the pandemic, Anuga was only able to offer the INC a 195 sq m pavilion with the capacity to accommodate up to 8 exhibitor booths. This will allow exhibitors the opportunity to showcase their companies to thousands of expected participants. It is the best opportunity to get your products and services in front of a niche market that will enable you to grow your brand as well as network with peers in the nut and dried fruit industry. Those who register to become a co-exhibitor before March 15, 2021, will receive a discount of €1,900! Don´t miss your chance for the early bird discount! The INC is excited to return to the food fair stage and we sincerely hope to have you join and take part in what is going to be a highlight of 2021!  Book your space now! https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/join-the-inc-for-anuga-2021USDA Market Prospects: United KingdomAs the UK and the US share strong social and cultural ties, there is plenty of reason to believe that the UK is a strong market opportunity for US products. The report remarks that the current UK market is seen as an opportunity for many US consumer products, especially “healthy” foods, including dried fruits and nuts. Due to this strong connection between the two countries and the focus on “healthy” food items, tree nuts, and dried fruit are considered among the top ten growing food products. When looking at the top imports from the United States from 2014-2019, tree nuts enjoy one of the highest growth rates at 21.3%. Interestingly however is the historical growth rate for dried fruit has been decreasing steadily. Although dried fruits do not share the same growth pattern as tree nuts from 2014-2019, the USDA considers them an area of opportunity and potential growth, especially after COVID-19 and Brexit. As in most countries around the world, COVID-19 has been particularly devastating for the foodservice industry, however, retailers have experienced surges. With the retail growth, and consumer trends of food consumption taking place more at home, there is support for the belief that both tree nuts and dried fruit can see growth in the future. Another unavoidable topic is the economic ramifications of Brexit. With the UK officially leaving the single market and customs of the European Union on January 1, 2021, the UK has had to negotiate its own free trade agreements with the European Union to avoid tariffs. Due to the newly signed Trade and Cooperation Agreement between the UK and the EU, advocating no tariffs, US products will continue to face stiff competition from European products. This is considered a substantial challenge for US products in the UK, but if the US and UK come to a free trade agreement, these concerns will cease to exist and further trade growth between the two countries could be anticipated. For more information, please view the USDA’s report. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/usda-market-prospects-united-kingdomBrief COVID-19 Update: January 20, 2021Despite these numbers giving real hope of bringing the pandemic under control, COVID-19 herd immunity is not likely to happen in 2021, according to the WHO. Herd immunity occurs when enough people are immune to an infection so that it prevents the spreading of the disease. Until then, mitigation measures such as face masks, lockdowns, and social distancing measures, among others, will be necessary. According to recent statistics by Johns Hopkins University, COVID-19 global death toll surpassed 2 million. The first million people died within the first eight months of the pandemic, but it took less than four months to reach the next million.    France has adopted a 6 pm nationwide curfew for at least 15 days, in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19, as well as its new strains. In addition to this, France tightened border controls for non-EU citizens, which, from January 18, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before their arrival.   China declared a state of emergency in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, in order to curb down the spike of new cases. Previously, China locked down the cities of Xingtai and Shijiazhuang, as the number of daily new coronavirus cases had doubled in China on January 10. Both cities have finished carrying out mass testing of all 13 million residents.   US president-elect Joe Biden has announced a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package aimed at reviving the US economy. The package includes a series of measures such as stimulus payment checks for individuals, $160 billion for COVID-19 vaccination campaign, and about $440 billion for small businesses and communities particularly hit by the pandemic, among others. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/brief-covid-19-update-january-20-2021COVID-19 Update: January 13, 2021In order to stop the spread of this new strain, several European countries such as Germany, Italy, France, Belgium or the Netherlands imposed travel bans, causing a collapse of the highways near the Eurotunnel at the end of 2020.   Mass vaccination campaigns began in December. Since then, more than 25 million people from over 42 different countries have been vaccinated against COVID-19. However, global COVID-19 cases surpassed 88.8 million, and the death toll is over 1.9 million people. In the Americas, there are more than 39 million cases, over 28 million in Europe, more than 12 million cases in South-East Asia, and over 2.1 million in Africa. The worst hit countries are the US, India and Brazil, followed by Russia, the UK and France. WHO The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report on its 2020 response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The report includes an interactive timeline that accounts for day-by-day actions of the WHO. Some of the key achievements are: 1) over 289 million of personal protection equipment, diagnostic and medical supplies shipped around the world; 2) more than 14,000 patients enrolled in the Solidarity Trial for COVID-19 treatments, in nearly 500 hospitals in more than 30 countries; 3) 190 economies signed up to COVAX for  fair and equitable access to vaccines; 4) over 1.3 billion people reached with crucial health information through the WHO website; and more than 500 COVID-19 related documents published, including over 125 guidance documents to 10 research protocols. In addition to this, WHO hosted 38 Member State information sessions, during which a total of 79 countries shared their experiences with COVID-19. The media have also been a key audience and partner, sharing the latest developments on COVID-19 during over 130 briefings for journalists.   The global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, COVAX, announced additional deals to ensure access to COVD-19 vaccine candidates. COVAX currently has agreements in place to secure nearly two billion doses and further doses are expected to be secured through donors’ contributions. All COVAX’s 190 participating and eligible economies will be able to access doses to protect vulnerable groups in the first half of 2021. At least 1.3 billion donor-funded doses will be made available to 92 economies eligible for the Gavi COVAX AMC, targeting up to 20% population coverage by the end of the year. These mass vaccination efforts are expected to end the acute phase of the pandemic globally by the end of 2021.   On December 21, WHO Director-General's Dr. Tedros Adhanom announced that there have been reports of new variants of the COVID-19 virus in South Africa and the UK. This new variant is transmitted more easily but there is no evidence so far that it is more likely to cause severe disease or mortality. WHO is working with scientists to understand how these genetic changes affect how the virus behaves.    Dr. Adhanom has remarked that vaccines give real hope of bringing the pandemic under control in the next 12 months. 42 countries have started vaccinating their high-risk populations against COVID-19. However, these countries are high-income and middle-income countries, and vaccination plans also need to reach low-income countries. IMF The International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued its Annual Report 2020, which remarks the efforts made by national governments to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic, with nearly $12 trillion in fiscal actions and about $7.5 trillion in monetary actions. IMF member countries also contributed to the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust and Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, which allowed the IMF to commit over $100 billion to help countries in need since the beginning of the pandemic.  WTO The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued the information note “Developing and delivering COVID-19 vaccines around the world”, which explores the role of trade policy in the rapid roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines. The paper is divided into three sections: 1) Section A provides background information on immunization and the urgent search for vaccines against COVID-19; 2) Section B overviews the development and delivery of vaccines, from the vaccine development to international distribution, border clearance and domestic distribution; and 3) Section C identifies key decisions with trade impact which need to be made along the vaccine value chain. This section also includes a checklist of trade issues to consider along with the COVID-19 vaccine value chain, as well as a world map of clinical trials and partnerships on COVID-19 treatments.   According to a WTO report on world trade volume in the third quarter of 2020, merchandise trade increased by 11.6% compared to the previous quarter. However, the trade volume of the previous quarter fell by 12.7%. Despite the rebound, the volume of trade between July and September was still 5.6% lower than in the same period last year. More industrialized regions saw stronger recoveries in their merchandise exports. The highest export growth, compared with the previous quarter, was recorded in North America (20.1%), Europe (19.3%) and Asia (10.1%). However, if compared to the previous year, exports in the third quarter were still down in North America (‑9.0%), Europe (-5.4%), South and Central America (-3.4%) and other regions (‑11.4%). The only exception was Asia, with over 0.4% increase. Regarding import volumes, North America and Europe imports rose by 16.6% and 15% respectively, compared to the previous quarter, 2.1% rise in Asia, and additional 0.7% decline in South and Central America. If compared to the same period of 2019, imports fell in North America (‑4.7%), South and Central America (-19.4%), Europe (-6.4%), Asia (-4.7%) and other regions (‑14.7%).  Australia Australia and New Zealand agreed in principle to a quarantine free travel bubble between certain cities in the two countries by the beginning of 2021. This agreement comes nearly after a year of New Zealand’s border closure to protect its population from the pandemic. However, this measure is only applicable if there are no significant changes in circumstances.   New South Wales imposed a lockdown on December 18, in Sydney’s northern area, with over 250,000 residents, after a cluster of new infections had been found. Australian states and territories warned their residents to leave New South Wales and return as soon as possible if they wanted to avoid mandatory quarantine. In order to contain the spread, New South Wales opened new testing sites. In addition to this, cases of the new COVID-19 strain were found in Australia, the firsts in the Asia-Pacific region. Brazil According to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Brazil was pulling out of a long recession when the pandemic started, and COVID-19 brought an even deeper recession in the country. According to the OECD, Brazil will require additional ambitious reforms to boost jobs, productivity and trade, as well as to strengthen public finances and improve social protection.   The latest OECD Economic Survey of Brazil highlights Brazil’s response to the pandemic, which spared the country from more severe economic impact. However, the report states that the pandemic will still significantly affect well-being and prosperity. The Survey estimates the COVID-19 crisis will cause GDP to shrink by 5% in 2020, a 2.6% increase in 2021, and 2.2% in 2022. Reforms are needed in order to help firms to grow and compete internationally and to address rising poverty and inequality in the country.   Brazil plans to start COVID-19 vaccinations in January, with a total of 354 million doses secured for 2021. The public health situation in the country is negative, as of January 5, with 56,648 additional cases and 1,171 new COVID-19 deaths. China There has been a recent spike of new COVID-19 cases in Hebei, a region near Beijing. In order to curb down the number of new infections, the region implemented some of the strictest restrictions since March 2020. Among the restrictions, Hebei’s capital city of Shijiazhuang has stopped passengers from going to its train station, suspended long-distance buses, and blocked major highways in the province. Therefore, people are not allowed to go out of the city, in order to contain the spread of the virus.   It is expected that China’s economy may expand by 9% in 2021, despite China’s GDP fell by 6.8% during the first quarter of 2020. At this moment, China leads the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, especially because of the improvement of the public health situation, and thanks to the stimulus measures.   Regarding consumption, China reported around 5% increased retail sales in November, if compared to the same period of 2019. This was the fourth successive month of expansion. Retail sales are a key indicator of consumption trends. In addition to this, industrial production and manufacturing also increased if compared to the previous year. EU On December 21, the European Commission authorized its first safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19, developed by BioNTech and Pfizer. The authorization followed positive scientific recommendations, and it is endorsed by EU Member States. The first doses were delivered on December 26, and the first vaccinations started on December 27-29. By September 2021, the EU is expected to have distributed full 200 million doses. The European Commission also published some Questions and Answers regarding the COVID-19 vaccination in the EU.   On January 6, the European Commission approved Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the second vaccination which is green lighted in the EU, after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This approval grants additional 160 million doses of vaccines.   By late December 2020, countries began mass vaccinations. However, the EU has been criticized for slow vaccine rollout, questioned about if there are enough purchased vaccines to immunize the majority of EU citizens.   The Council of the EU and the European Parliament agreed provisionally on the EU4Health program for 2021-2027 with a budget of €5.1 billion. This program is aimed to support national policies and promote coordination, particularly by: 1) supporting health promotion and disease prevention, 2) contributing to the protection of people in the EU from serious cross-border threats to health, 3) increasing the use of digital tools and services in the health area, also by the establishment of a European Health Data Space, 4) increasing cross-border cooperation, (i.e. by European Reference Networks), and 5) supporting global commitments and health initiatives by international organizations, in particular the WHO.   On December 15, the European Council called for strengthening resilience and countering hybrid threats, including disinformation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council notes that new technologies and crises, such as the ongoing pandemic, offer opportunities for hostile actors to expand their interference activities. These pose an additional challenge for Member States and EU institutions, besides the crisis itself. In addition to this, the Council acknowledges that the pandemic makes the EU and its member states more vulnerable to hybrid threats. Such threats include the increased spread of disinformation and manipulative interference. A comprehensive approach involving effective cooperation and coordination in a multidisciplinary way and involving multiple stakeholders is needed to address such threats.   On December 17, the European Council adopted the regulation laying down the EU’s multiannual financial framework for 2021-2027, which provides for a long-term budget of €1,074.3 billion, including the integration of the European Development Fund. This fund, together with the Next Generation EU recovery instrument of €750 billion, is expected to allow the EU to provide an unprecedented €1.8 trillion of funding over the coming years to support recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the EU's long-term priorities across different policy areas.   In addition to this, the Council approved conclusions on making the recovery from COVID-19 circular and green. The conclusions highlight the role of circular economy in the recovery and link it to digitalization.   On December 18, the Council also approved conclusions on the lessons learned from the pandemic, covering four areas: 1) improving EU crisis management and preparedness by strengthening the EU health security framework, 2) ensuring the supply of medicinal products, 3) improving access to and sharing of health data, and 4) strengthening the EU’s role in global health. Belgium From December 20, Belgium suspended flights and train arrivals from the UK, after a new strain of COVID-19 was found in Britain. France France began mass COVID-19 vaccinations by the end of 2020. The country decided to accelerate the process, especially among the population most at risk. France is under strict social and economic restrictions due to the infection rate, and 15 departments imposed curfews at 6 pm. A few days afterwards, due to the increasing number of new infections, 8 additional departments extended the curfew to start from 6 pm. Germany Germany’s death toll was set to double in December, compared to the previous month. In addition to this, the number of new infections is also increasing in the country, that together with the death toll, indicates that the peak of the second wave has not been reached yet. In order to curb down the number of new infections, Germany implemented new restrictions, including the closure of non-essential businesses, as well as limitations on group gatherings. These restrictions were expected to end by January 10, 2021. However, as the public health situation was not improved, on January 5, the lockdowns were extended by three weeks until January 31. As in many other countries, mass vaccinations in Germany began by late December. However, in order to sufficiently immunize the population, several months of vaccination campaign are necessary. Italy Italy is under a state of emergency until the end of January and the government is considering its extension until July 31. The country is still under nationwide restrictions, but agreed to relax curbs on weekdays. Ministers agreed on January 4 to return to the old, three-tier system, which allows for different measures to be applied to different regions. The Netherlands Despite the first COVID-19 vaccine was approved in the EU at the end of December, the Netherlands began the vaccination program nearly two weeks after most EU nations. The Netherlands is currently on a strict five-week lockdown imposed in order to curb down the number of new infections. In recent days, infection rates have decreased, but the country’s public health institute said, on January 5, that the lockdown has not yet clearly curbed down infection rates. Spain Since the beginning of January, the public health situation in Spain is getting worse. However, this data is believed to be underreported due to a slowdown in testing due to recent holidays, but it is supported by other indicators, such as hospital admissions, which show a clear increase. Mass vaccinations in Spain began by late December. However, as in other EU countries, there are disappointments due to a slow rollout of COVID-19 inoculations. The objective is to have 15 to 20 million citizens vaccinated by May-June.  United Kingdom On December 20, the UK closed all non-essential shops and imposed stricter rules amid a new variant behind a huge surge of infections. However, as the number of new cases continued to rise, the UK and most of Scotland ordered strict lockdown measures from January 6, 2021. UK’s stay-at-home rules are due to be reviewed on February 15; Scotland's will be reviewed by the end of January. People are only permitted to stay out of home for a few reasons, such as work that cannot be done at home, food shopping, essential medical needs and exercise. Restaurants can continue to offer food delivery and takeaway. In order to help the most damaged sectors, the government announced a one-off grant of up to £9,000 to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, with an estimated cost of £4bn. The vaccination campaign around the country continues, as the UK rolled out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, amid a surge of new cases. In order to contain the new strain of COVID-19, several countries banned flights and other means of transport from the UK on December 21. France shut its borders to UK haulers which caused a block across the Eurochannel and collapsed surrounding roads. When the border reopened, thousands of truckers kept queuing on highways for several days.   London declared a “major incident” on January 8, because hospitals in the city were almost overwhelmed, mostly to cope with the new COVID-19 strain. On the same day, the UK reported the highest daily death toll since the pandemic began. India India approved two COVID-19 vaccines, after performing a practice drill of the logistics of the mass vaccination program on January 2. The Drugs Control Authority approved the urgent-use authorization for the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine, as well as the locally developed COVAXIN produced by Bharat Biotech. Despite the decrease in the daily infections rate since September, on December 19, India became the second country to reach 10 million COVID-19 cases. According to a recent USDA GAIN report, the weekly food retail update indicates grocery sales in Hyderabad have returned to pre-COVID-19 levels. Stores are able to source locally produced food. However, due to supply chain disruptions and higher costs, the amount of imported products is still limited, and sometimes results in a shortage of these products. In Chennai, grocery sales have also returned to pre-COVID-19 levels. The delivery of imported products is also limited, but there are enough stocks to meet the demand. According to the report, Indian consumers are increasingly demanding “immunity boosting” foods such as fresh fruits, nuts and spices. Japan On January 7, Japan declared the state of emergency in Tokyo until February 7, because of higher infection rates in the region. Residents are advised to stay at home, especially at night. However, compared to the latest state of emergency restrictions imposed in April, schools, gyms, theaters and cinemas, among others, are allowed to open –following certain rules. Restaurants also remain open, but less hours than usual. South Korea By the end of 2020, Korea saw a spike in COVID-19 cases. In order to curb down the number of new infections, people’s gatherings were limited to four, both indoors and outdoors. Customers of most businesses, including cafés and restaurants, are required to list their names in order to track possible COVID-19 infected people. United States The US Congress reach a deal on $900 billion COVID-19 relief package. This package includes $600 in direct payments to most US citizens and would establish $300 per week in temporary supplemental jobless benefits. In addition, this relief package is expected to provide hundreds of billions of dollars of additional aid to small businesses and provide $25 billion for rental assistance.   On January 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the continuation of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program, with the fifth round of over $1.5 billion food purchases. Up to date, over 3.3 billion meals were distributed to families across the nation. This program is part of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP), which was developed in response to the pandemic. Using authority provided by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, the USDA partnered with national, regional and local distributors, which were significantly impacted by the closure of restaurants, hotels and other food service businesses, to purchase and distribute agricultural products to US citizens in need.   On December 28, the US president signed the COVID-19 relief bill with a $2.3 trillion pandemic aid and spending package, restoring unemployment benefits and providing direct aid to families.   On December 18, the US authorized its second COVID-19 vaccine, developed by Moderna, and nearly 6 million doses are ready to be distributed across the country. By December 24, 1 million people in the US were vaccinated. It is expected that 100 million people will be immunized by the end of the first quarter of 2021, and another 100 million by halfway of the year.     The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-january-13-20212021 International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, Launch EventThe IYFV 2021 is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health and as well in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.   The FAO held the official launch event online on December 15, 2020, with FAO Director General, Qu Dongyu, opening the Year. The meeting revolved around sustainable production and trade, as well as loss and waste management.   INC member and Chair of the Dried Fruit Statistics Round Table, Guillaume Pagy, General Manager of Pagysa, Turkey, took part in the roundtable discussion as a representative of the INC and the dried fruit sector. He outlined the processing steps involved in drying fruits and highlighted the inherent sustainability of dried fruits.   Pagy emphasized that humankind has consumed dried fruits since prehistoric times; they have a long shelf life; they are easy to store and transport; they have low moisture content, providing the same nutrients as the fresh fruit equivalent, but in a much smaller package; they are versatile, they can be used in many tasty ways, and they offer important health benefits.   He concluded his speech by pointing out that dried fruits can contribute to a healthy diet by adding to the daily requirement of essential nutrients, in particular potassium, fiber and phytochemicals. They are nutrient-dense and have plenty of “healthy calories” as opposed to “empty calories”.   More information Watch the videohttps://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/2021-international-year-of-fruits-and-vegetables-launch-eventLabeling Update: January 2021EU: Front-of-Pack Nutrition Labeling, Proposal for a Regulation The European Commission plans to introduce a mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labeling scheme by the end of 2022.   As part of the EU Farm to Fork Strategy, the European Commission launched a public consultation on a proposal for a harmonized mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labeling, with deadline for feedback February 3, 2021.   The aim of this consultation is to ensure better labeling information to help consumers make healthier and more sustainable food choices and tackle food waste. Specifically, the EC is proposing to introduce a standardized mandatory front-of-pack nutrition labeling; extend mandatory origin or provenance information for certain products; and revise the rules on date marking (‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates).   The Commission has identified four types of front-of-pack labels currently in use or development in the EU: Nutrient-specific labels: Option 1: Numerical Option 2: Color-coded Summary labels: Option 3: Endorsement logos Option 4: Graded indicators (e.g. Nutri-Score) The assessment of options 1 to 4 will cover the impact of their use on a voluntary or a mandatory basis.   Deadline for comments: February 3, 2021.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/labeling-updatePesticides Update: January 2021Canada: MRLs Update Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has adopted the proposed new maximum residue limits (PMRL) for oxathiapiprolin in raisins.   The PMRLs for oxathiapiprolin was adopted on December 21, 2020. As previously announced, the PMRL for oxathiapiprolin in raisins is set at 1.3 ppm. Health Canada Database EFSA: MRLs Review The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has published a review of the existing maximum residue levels for quinoxyfen according to Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005.   Although this active substance is no longer authorized within the European Union, MRLs were established by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and an import tolerance was reported by Member States (including the supporting residues data). Based on the assessment of the available data, EFSA assessed the Codex Maximum Residue Limits (CXLs) and import tolerance requested, and carried out a consumer risk assessment. All CXLs and import tolerance were found to be adequately supported by data and no risk to consumers was identified.   Substance Commodity Existing MRL (ppm) Proposed MRL (ppm) Comments Quinoxyfen Grapes 1 2 Recommended. MRL is derived from the existing CXL, which is supported by data and for which no risk to consumers is identified; there are no relevant authorizations or import tolerances reported at EU level. EFSA Review of the existing maximum residue levels for quinoxyfen according to Article 12 of Regulation (EC) No 396/2005. EFSA Journal 2020;18(12):6316 EU: Pesticides, Extension of Approval Periods The European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2007 of 8 December 2020 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 as regards the extension of the approval periods of the several active substances listed below:   1-decanol, 1,4-dimethylnaphthalene, 6-benzyladenine, acequinocyl, Adoxophyes orana granulovirus, aluminium sulfate, amisulbrom, Aureobasidium pullulans (strains DSM 14940 and DSM 14941), azadirachtin, Bacillus pumilus QST 2808, benalaxyl-M, bixafen, bupirimate, Candida oleophila strain O, chlorantraniliprole, disodium phosphonate, dithianon, dodine, emamectin, flubendiamide, fluometuron, fluxapyroxad, flutriafol, hexythiazox, imazamox, ipconazole, isoxaben, L-ascorbic acid, lime sulphur, orange oil, Paecilomyces fumosoroseus strain FE 9901, pendimethalin, penflufen, penthiopyrad, potassium phosphonates, prosulfuron, Pseudomonas sp. strain DSMZ 13134, pyridalyl, pyriofenone, pyroxsulam, quinmerac, S-abscisic acid, sedaxane, sintofen, sodium silver thiosulfate, spinetoram, spirotetramat, Streptomyces lydicus strain WYEC 108, tau-fluvalinate, tebufenozide, tembotrione, thiencarbazone, valifenalate, and zinc phosphide.   This regulation entered into force on December 11, 2020.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2007 of 8 December 2020 In addition, the EC published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2105 of 15 December 2020 renewing the approval of the active substance etoxazole as a candidate for substitution in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011.   The approval periods of this active substance is extended until January 31, 2028. This regulation entered into force on January 5, 2021.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2105 of 15 December 2020 EU: Pesticide Withdrawals The approval of the active substance mancozeb has not been renewed (see previous post here). On December 15, 2020, the European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2087 of 14 December 2020 concerning the non-renewal of the approval of the active substance mancozeb, in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market, and amending the Annex to Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011.   Member States shall withdraw authorizations for plant protection products containing mancozeb as an active substance at the latest by July 4, 2021. However, any grace period granted by Member States in accordance with Article 46 of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009 shall expire at the latest by January 4, 2022. This Regulation entered into force on January 4, 2020. Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2087 of 14 December 2020 https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-january-2021Organic Production: January 2021EU: Importing Organic Produce On December 23, 2020, the European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2196 of 17 December 2020 amending Regulation (EC) No 1235/2008 laying down detailed rules for implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 as regards the arrangements for imports of organic products from third countries.   This Regulation amends Annex III and IV of the Regulation 1235/2008. In the Annex III, the list of recognized countries is updated for some countries (Australia, Canada, Chile, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, and United States). Annex IV, which compiles the list of recognized control bodies and control authorities for the purpose of equivalence, has been also updated. In addition, several control bodies have been recognized to carry out controls and issues certificates in the UK as a third country. This regulation entered into force on December 30, 2020.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/2196 of 17 December 2020 https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/organic-production-january-2021Food Safety Update: January 2021Tanzania: Almond Oil, Standards The Bureau of Standards of Tanzania notified the World Trade Organization of the AFDC 4(293) CD3 Edible Almond oil – Specification.   This Standard specifies the requirements, sampling and testing methods for almond oil intended for human consumption.   The deadline for comments is February 6, 2021.   Edible Almond oil – Specification Tanzania: Cashew butter, Standards The Tanzania Bureau of Standards notified the World Trade Organization of the AFDC 4(292) CD3 Cashew butter – Specification.   This Standard details requirements, methods of sampling and testing for cashew butter derived from kernels of cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale L.) intended for human consumption.   The deadline for comments is February 6, 2021.   For further information, please contact us at inc@nutfruit.org. USA: Food Traceability As previously notified, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing to establish additional traceability recordkeeping requirements for persons who manufacture, process, pack or hold foods the Agency has designated for inclusion on the Food Traceability List. The comment periods for the proposed rule and information collection provisions have been extended and will now be available for public comment until February 22, 2021.   More information https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/food-safety-update-january-2021Nutrition Update: January 2021USA: Dietary Guidelines On December 29, 2020, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.   The Guidelines are aimed to provide science-based advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, help reduce risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs.   For adults ages 19 through 59, it is recommended consumption of 5 ounce equivalent per week of ‘Nuts, Seeds, Soy Products’ for patterns at 2,000-2,600 calories per day.   2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/nutrition-update-january-2021Official Controls Update: January 2021Chile: Peanuts from Brazil On December 21, 2020, the Agriculture and Livestock Service of Chile opened a public consultation on the import requirements for in-shell peanuts of Arachis hypogaea L. from Brazil.   Among others, the import phytosanitary requirements establish that the shipment must include an official phytosanitary certificate issued by the phytosanitary authority of the country of origin, declaring the treatment used (product, doses, time of exposure, temperature and date).   The deadline for comments is February 21, 2021.   More information  China, Taiwan: Phytosanitary Certificates The Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu notified the World Trade Organization of the extension of the Implementation Period of the Temporary Alternative Arrangements of the Presentation of Original Veterinary and Phytosanitary Certificates in the Condition of COVID-19 Pandemic.   As previously notified, the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu implemented alternative arrangements to the presentation of original veterinary or phytosanitary certificates. In consideration of the global COVID-19 situation, the implementation period for the abovementioned measure was extended again until June 30, 2021. India: Foreign Food Manufacturing Facilities The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) notified the World Trade Organization of the Draft Food Safety and Standards (Import) Amendment Regulation, relating to the inclusion of registration and inspection of Foreign Food manufacturing facilities.   The Food Authority may from time to time based on the risk specify the categories of food products to be exported to India, for which inspection or audit of Foreign Food manufacturing facilities producing such categories of foods shall be mandatory.   The final date for comments is January 25, 2021.   FSSAI Notification https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/official-controls-update-january-2021Latest Trade News and Agreements: January 2021EU-UK: Trade and Cooperation Agreement On December 30, 2020, the EU and the UK reached a Trade and Cooperation Agreement.   After years of intensive negotiations, the EU and the UK reached an agreement on the terms of the future bilateral relationship after the end of the transition period. This agreement applies on a provisional basis for a limited period of time, from January 1, 2021, until February 28, 2021, before its bilateral adoption.   The agreement consists of three main pillars: 1) a free trade agreement, 2) a new partnership for citizens’ security, and 3) a horizontal agreement on governance.   The Free Trade Agreement provides zero tariffs and zero quotas on all goods that comply with the appropriate rules of origin. In addition to this, the agreement also covers areas such as investment, competition, State aid, tax transparency, air and road transport, energy and sustainability, fisheries, data protection, and social security coordination, among others. On transport, the agreement provides for continued and sustainable air, road, rail and maritime connectivity. It also includes provisions to ensure that competition between EU and UK operators takes place on a level playing field, so that passenger rights, workers' rights and transport safety are not undermined.   The agreement provides binding enforcement and dispute settlement mechanisms, in order to ensure that the rights of businesses, consumers and individuals are respected.   However, the differences between this agreement compared to the EU’s Customs Union and the Single Market are the following: From January 1, 2021, the UK left the EU Single Market and Customs Union, as well as all EU policies and international agreements. The free movement of persons, goods, services and capital between the UK and the EU ended. The EU and the UK form two separate markets; two distinct regulatory and legal spaces. Subject to a financial UK’s contribution to the EU budget, the agreement also enables the UK's continued participation in certain flagship EU programs for 2021-2027 period, such as Horizon Europe.   EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement: Council adopts decision on the signing Signature of the EU-UK agreement, 30 December 2020   Questions & Answers: EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement UK: New Approach on US Tariffs On December 8, 2020, the United Kingdom set out its independent approach to trade disputes between the EU and the United States.   The UK will rollover tariffs in response to ‘Section 232’ tariffs imposed by the US on aluminum and steel imports. In addition to this, the Department for International Trade will launch a consultation to ensure these tariffs are in accordance with the UK’s interests.   In parallel, the UK will suspend retaliatory tariffs resulting from the Boeing dispute, imposed by the EU on certain US-origin goods on November 10, 2020 (see previous post). However, the Government of the UK reserves the right to impose tariffs at any point if satisfactory progress towards an agreeable settlement is not made.   Both announcements are part of the Government’s strategy to de-escalate trade tensions and move forward to the next phase of the trading relationship between the UK and the US.   UK announces new approach on US tariffs UK: Rules of Origin of EU products On December 29, 2020, the United Kingdom published guidance regarding rules of origin for goods moving between the UK and EU.   This document provides detailed guidance on the rules of origin requirements under the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement. The guidance explains the most important provisions which both UK and EU businesses need to understand and comply with, in order to ensure that they pay zero tariffs.   The Trade and Cooperation Agreement: detailed guidance on the rules of origin UK-Singapore: Trade Continuity Agreement On December 10, the United Kingdom and Singapore signed a Continuity Trade Agreement.   Singapore is the UK’s largest trading partner in South-East Asia. Consequently, this continuity agreement will keep the benefits of the existing trading relationship, worth £17.6 billion last year.   Both countries also announced their intention to launch negotiations for a ground-breaking Digital Economy Agreement (DEA). This would be the first DEA that Singapore has struck with a European country. Singapore and the UK are both global leaders in the digital economy and about 70% of UK services exports were delivered remotely to Singapore last year, worth £3.2 billion.   UK-Singapore: Trade Continuity Agreement UK-Turkey: Trade Deal On December 29, 2020, the United Kingdom and Turkey signed a trade deal aimed to secure the previous EU-Turkey preferential tariffs.   Both countries committed to start negotiations for a more ambitious free trade agreement in the future, which will go further than the existing deal. The trading relationship between the two countries was worth £18.6 billion in 2019.   UK and Turkey sign trade deal UK-Vietnam: Free Trade Agreement On December 11, 2020, the United Kingdom and Vietnam concluded their Free Trade Agreement.   This agreement ensures the continuity of the existing trading relationship through the EU-Vietnam Agreement. Companies can continue to benefit from reduced tariffs on imports and exports, from increased access to services and from the protection of key British and Vietnamese products. This includes 65% of all tariffs that have already been eliminated on UK-Vietnam trade. This will increase to 99% of tariffs by the time of full implementation. The FTA also incorporates clean growth and sustainable development.   This agreement is also a key step towards the UK joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). As a founding member of the group, Vietnam has welcomed the UK’s interest in joining the CPTPP agreement and publicly shown their support for the UK’s accession to the CPTPP in the future. Accession to the CPTPP is a priority for the UK Government, which plans to apply for this in early 2021. CPTPP is one of the most important free trade agreements in the world, accounting for 13% of global GDP in 2019. This would rise to 16% of global GDP if the UK joins the partnership.   Joint statement by the UK and Vietnam https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-january-2021COVID-19 Update: December 16, 2020The first country to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 was the UK and, on December 10, the US authorized it for emergency-use. The first inoculations in both countries began shortly after.   There are more than 80 known agreements between drug makers and countries to deliver the first batches of vaccines, as soon as the corresponding approvals are granted. A total of five different vaccines are currently available in six countries at least.   Despite the approval of COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic is far from over: Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 70.4 million. In the Americas, there are more than 30 million cases, over 21 million in Europe, more than 11 million cases in South-East Asia, and over 1.6 million in Africa. The worst hit countries are the US, India and Brazil. The upcoming holidays are expected to include lockdowns, curfews and other restrictions in most regions. WHO The World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom remarked at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly that despite COVID-19 is a global health crisis, it has implications in every area of the UN work. Not all countries have responded equally to the pandemic, and have not been affected equally either. Many nations succeeded in preventing or containing widespread transmission of COVID-19 with proven public health tools.   Dr. Adhanom highlighted four key areas in which the leadership of nations is vital to end the pandemic and build the post-pandemic world: 1) invest in vaccines to end the pandemic; 2) invest in preparedness to prevent the next pandemic; 3) invest in health as the foundation of peace and prosperity; and 4) invest in multilateralism to safeguard our common future. UNCTAD According to a recent report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the least developed countries (LDCs) will experience their worst economic performance in 30 years in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. LDCs are collectively the world’s most vulnerable economies, with weak levels of resilience. In addition to this, they have the least financial and institutional means to react to external shocks such as the ongoing pandemic. Some of the consequences are falling income levels, widespread employment losses and widening fiscal deficits.   Rebuilding these economies post-COVID will be especially difficult if their production capacities are not improved. Structural barriers include widespread poverty, overdependence on imports of critical goods and services, and overly concentrated export markets. The UNCTAD calls the international community to support these vulnerable economies with an action plan for the development of productive capacities. IMF The International Monetary Fund (IMF) held the conference “COVID-19 Pandemic in Developing Countries”, which highlighted that the economic outlook significantly worsened in some emerging markets and low-income countries with a rapid rise of new infections. These economies may incur to a greater output loss over 2020-2021, compared to the pre-pandemic projections when compared to advanced economies.   According to the IMF, some measures to contain the spread of the virus have led to sharp declines in economic activity across the globe, particularly in the second quarter of 2020. The IMF “Economic Prospects and Policy Challenges for the GCC Countries” notes that Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries face a double impact: from the COVID-19 pandemic and from lower oil prices. GCC authorities have implemented several measures to mitigate the economic damage, including fiscal packages, relaxation of monetary and macroprudential rules, and the injection of liquidity into the banking system. Low oil prices have caused a sharp deterioration of external and fiscal balances, and fiscal strains are evident in countries with higher debt levels. WTO The World Trade Organization (WTO) received a petition asking for universally accessible and affordable COVID-19 vaccines. Over 900,000 individuals from around the world have signed the petition, which asks all governments, WTO members and pharmaceutical companies to “ensure access to lifesaving COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and equipment for everyone in the world”.   A recent speech by WTO Deputy Director-General, Yonov Frederick Agah, highlights that trade is expected to play a key role to help Africa mitigate the impact of the pandemic and to improve living standards. According to Agah, the successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) could set the continent on a path for renewed growth. The AfCFTA has great potential in boosting intra-African trade, making it easier for businesses across the continent to integrate into global supply chains.   A recent WTO report titled “Annual overview of trade-related developments” indicates a decline in trade restrictions by WTO members. The report reflects the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on trade and trade policy more in depth than the previous report issued in July 2020, which captured the early effects of the pandemic. Although world trade was slowing before the COVID-19 outbreak, merchandise exports in nominal USD terms were down 21% in the second quarter, compared to 2019. The report also provides information about several trade-facilitating and support measures introduced by WTO economies in response to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.  OECD According to a recent report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), gross domestic product (GDP) in OECD countries rebounded by 9% in the third quarter of 2020. However, it remains 4.3% below the pre-pandemic high. Among the major seven economies, the rebound was more strong in those economies that also suffered the sharpest GDP falls in the second quarter, such as France, which GDP rebounded over 18%, Italy which saw a 16.1% increase, and the UK with a 15.5% rebound.   The OECD issued its “Economic Outlook, December 2020”, which highlights that faster vaccine development together with better cooperation for its distribution would boost confidence and lower uncertainty. The vaccination campaigns, other health policies and government financial support are expected to lift global GDP by 4.2% in 2021 after a fall of 4.2% in 2020. However, possible delays in the vaccination development, together with the high probability of new COVID-19 outbreaks would weaken the previsions. The recovery is likely to be gradual. OECD’s recommendations to governments are: strengthening public health policies, and support people and businesses. INC Executive Committee Take on the Industry and COVID-19 On December 10, 2020, the Executive Committee of the INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council virtually convened to discuss, exchange views, and look forward to 2021. One section of this meeting was to highlight the state of the industry globally, as well as give a brief glance into what this winter and next year might bring.   The meeting examined the current state of the industry with inputs from all of the committee members, representing nearly every region of the world. The overarching theme and takeaway was that the nut and dried fruit sector has been able to withstand the global health crisis. While food service consumption dropped significantly over the course of the year, the retail and in-home consumption was able to offset the decrease. Taking all of that into account, the consumption was overall positive. On the other hand, the committee agreed that COVID-19 had dragged down the logistical side of the industry, but as the pandemic is brought under control with vaccines and other public health measures, ideally there would be a return normality with respect to logistics.   Looking into the coming months and years, the committee expressed optimism for even stronger consumption numbers for 2021. In general, with extremely strong production and supply figures, the prices for nuts and dried fruits are historically low. While this price has not been reflected yet on the shelves of retail stores, at some point in 2021, they will adjust. Once they come into equilibrium, these lower prices should give way to increases in consumption across all of the products under the INC umbrella.   By the end of the discussion, the key highlights from the discussion were clear; the nut and dried fruit industry held up strong during 2020 with retail consumption balancing out the decrease within the food service sector and, as 2021 approaches, low prices give reason for belief that consumption will be strong this coming year. Australia Australia’s Victoria eased COVID-19 restrictions on December 6. The de-escalation includes public gatherings of up to 100 people, with density rules of one person per two square meters, and 50% of office workers will be allowed to return to workplaces by January 11, 2021, among other measures. However, face masks remain mandatory at indoor venues and public transport.   Regarding international travel, Australia has extended the restrictions on overseas travel until March 2021, extending the emergency period by three months. The emergency period rules include limiting cruise ship’s movement and outbound international travel.  Brazil Brazil registered the highest COVID-19 death toll in almost a month. Quarantine orders were previously relaxed, which led to crowded bars and restaurants in certain cities. Experts worry that with the upcoming holiday season, the number of new cases is likely to increase due to greater social movement. China China is expected to have 600 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines ready for market by the end of 2020. Three inactivated vaccines are in the final stage of clinical trials. Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan told Chinese vaccine makers to get ready for mass production. In addition to this, Chunland said that the vaccination of high-risk groups should be finalized before the end of the year.   Hong Kong’s financial chief has warned that the city should be on COVID-19 alert during 2021, if vaccines are unable to eradicate all infections.  EU The European Council recently approved a set of conclusions on debt relief efforts for African countries. The conclusions highlight the increasing debt vulnerability in low income countries, especially in Africa, and recognize further debt relief for countries with unsustainable debt levels. In addition to this, the Council welcomed the G20 Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI), which offers a temporary debt moratorium to the poorest countries to help them manage the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council welcomed the extension of the DSSI until 30 June 2021 with the possibility of a further extension of six months.   On December 3, 2020, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel proposed an international treaty on pandemics within the framework of the WHO. In case of future pandemics, an international treaty, anchored in collective mobilization and solidarity, would enable the international community to better anticipate, prepare for and manage epidemics. The success of this collective action has been demonstrated in developing safe and effective vaccines in record time. The areas such a treaty could address are: 1) risk monitoring, 2) better financing and coordination of research, 3) a more efficient system of alerts and information sharing, 4) improving access to healthcare, 5) resilience: strengthening healthcare systems and securing supply chains.   On December 7, the European Council greenlighted a temporary VAT relief on COVID-19 vaccines and test kits, in order to ensure affordable access. Member States will allow a temporary VAT exemption of the aforementioned products, as well as closely related services until December 31, 2022.   The conclusions of the European Council meeting of December 10-11 highlighted that the arrival of vaccines does not mean the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is a positive step towards this goal. The Council commits to strengthening coordination, especially for the gradual lifting of restrictions when the public health situation improves. Vaccination should be treated as a public good, and the Council stresses the importance of preparations for a timely distribution. In addition to this, increased resilience in the area of health is needed, including the proposals for a Health Union.   The European Council presidency reached a political agreement with the European Parliament in order to adopt its next multiannual framework program for research and innovation. Horizon Europe is set to help overcome major global challenges, such as COVID-19 and climate change. The program for the period 2021-2027 contains the following main elements: 1) budgetary issues, which include additional funds; 2) synergies with other EU programs; and 3) international cooperation and association of third countries.  Belgium From December 18, Belgium is expected to reimpose compulsory 10-day quarantines for international travelers from COVID-19 high-risk countries. A large number of European countries remain in COVID-19 high-risk zones, which means that most EU travelers will be required to self-isolate or get tested upon arrival. Belgium authorities have obliged travelers during the recent months to follow quarantine rules to prevent the further spread of the disease.  France France planned to lift stay-at-home orders on December 15, after performing massive testing. A daily curfew from 8:00 pm until 06:00 am is applicable until mid-December. However, the curfew will not be lifted for New Year’s Eve celebrations to prevent massive gatherings of people. The Government conditioned the easing of restrictions on a decrease of new cases. The opening of cultural venues has also been delayed until the end of the year.  Germany The Government agreed to implement a stricter lockdown starting on December 16, forcing all non-essential businesses to close until January 10, 2021. Previously, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for tougher COVID-19 restrictions, especially as the holiday season approached. The call included an extended holiday school break, the closure of non-essential businesses, and a strong recommendation on working from home.   In addition to this, certain regions like Bavaria are planning to impose curfews in some hotspots, due to an increase in COVID-19 infections. The southern state of Baden-Württemberg has imposed a curfew from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am, as well as strict movement limits during the day.  Greece In order to avoid further spread of the COVID-19 disease, Greece imposed mandatory 10-day quarantines to international travelers upon arrival. Students returning home and business travelers will also be required to self-isolate. In addition to this, Greece lockdown measures will be extended until January 7, 2021, with schools, sports venues, courts, bars, restaurants and other venues closed until then.  Italy Italy became Europe’s first COVID-19 hotspot in spring, and was the first EU country that imposed lockdown measures. Consequently, the number of new infections decreased in summer. However, during the first half of December, the country reported a record-high number of daily deaths. At this moment, Italy is the second highest COVID-19 hotspot in the EU, after France, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.   The country is set to adopt tighter restrictions over the end of the year holiday season, in order to prevent a third wave of infections. These restrictions include banning travel between regions from December 21 to January 6, 2021. The limitations also include a ban on leaving one’s home town on December 25 and 26, and on January 1, 2021. The country still applies curfew measures, from 10:00 pm until 5:00 am (extended to 7 am on New Year’s Day). The Netherlands As of December 15, travelers who are exempt from the EU travel ban, and who are not from countries on the EU list of low-risk regions, are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result, and a signed declaration in order to enter the Netherlands. These requirements do not apply to EU or Schengen countries nationals, including the Netherlands, but it does apply to nationals of Indonesia.  Spain During the first half of December, COVID-19 incidence rate in Spain was in a downward phase. The 14-day cumulative number per 100,000 inhabitants was 189 on December 10. However, the number is far from the authorities’ goal of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and there are concerns regarding the holiday season, which could lead to a rise in COVID-19 cases.   In order to prevent the spread of the virus, the Government has asked citizens to stay at home during the upcoming holiday season. Inter regional travel may be allowed between December 23 and January 6 only in some areas. On December 24, 25 and 31, and on January 1, 2021, social gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed, instead of the current 6 people limitation. United Kingdom After the UK’s approval of a COVID-19 vaccine, the country began its biggest vaccination program. People over 80 are the first ones to get vaccinated in the following days. India According to a recent USDA GAIN report, India’s trade volumes have not fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic, as the overall trade volumes fell 12% from April to October, compared to the same period last year. From March to October, container freight rates increased nearly 70% due to trade disruptions and shortage of containers. However, in October trade volumes increased a 5% compared to September. In Mumbai, the average port dwell time for import containers has improved to 19 hours. Tuticorin port prepared for Cyclone Burevi, to avoid possible damage as well as disruptions in port operations. In Chennai, after the Cyclone Nivar, port operations are back to normality. Cochin port reported slow truck movements.   Food inflation in New Delhi surpassed 11% in October, a six-year high, because of excess rains that damaged crops, in addition to higher cost edible oil imports. In Chennai, Koyambedu market opened its retail and semi-wholesale shops after being closed for seven months. However, the market is only operating at 27% capacity, as many workers remain in their home villages. In Bengaluru, vegetable prices declined reflecting the fact that both transportation and production conditions are returning to normal after lengthy COVID-19 restrictions.   According to another GAIN report, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the consumption of almonds and walnuts in India, due to their nutritional benefits which are being used to tackle the pandemic. These consumer behavior changes are expected to last even after the development of COVID-19 vaccines.   India hopes to receive up to 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by July 2021. However, the vaccination of over 1.3 billion people in the country in a short period of time may entail distribution problems.  Japan On December 10, Japan hit a record of COVID-19 infections. The increase of new cases has been registered in free of clusters’ areas, and after the closure of restaurants and other establishments from 10:00 pm became mandatory. Large cities in the island of Hokkaido and urban areas like Tokyo and Osaka have seen rising coronavirus cases since November.  South Korea South Korea, like many Asian countries, performed well during the pandemic. However, unlike many countries, such good performance did not entail lockdown measures, which were rejected early as they were considered too costly to people and businesses. Furthermore, in September the OECD projected that the Korean economy will contract by only 1% in 2020, compared with an average decline of 4.1% in G-20 countries. Unemployment is about 4%, higher than before the pandemic but far below the levels of other major economies.  United States The US approved the COVID-19 vaccine on December 10. Thousands of doses arrived at 50 states and inoculations began shortly after. The US plans to distribute 40 million vaccine doses by the end of the year, and 50 to 80 million in the beginning of 2021. However, experts warn that during the winter holidays the pandemic is likely to worsen before the majority of the population receives the vaccine.   Following the Thanksgiving holiday, the US hit a record 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases, adding more than one million new cases in the first five days of December. For this reason, hospitals are overwhelmed. Healthy, non-elderly Americans with no known underlying health conditions will likely start getting vaccinated in late March to early April. The first people to be vaccinated by the end of December, would be health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities. Recently, New York City’s number of COVID-19 cases hit the highest levels since May. In addition to this, certain areas of California announced new confinement measures, which affect tens of million people.   US president-elect Joe Biden announced he would ask citizens to commit to wearing face masks for 100 days, in order to curb down the surge of new COVID-19 cases. Furthermore, face coverings would be mandatory in federal buildings and public transportation.       The information above is a review of actions the INC has compiled from government sources, international organizations and press media. This news article is not intended to be exhaustive and it does not reflect the opinions of the INC. While the publishers believe that all information contained in this publication was correct at the time of publishing, they can accept no liability for any inaccuracies that may appear or loss suffered directly or indirectly by any reader as a result of any advertisement, editorial, photographs or other materials published in this news article. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/covid-19-update-december-16-2020New Personalized Experience for INC Academia 2021Personalized Nut & Dried Fruit Education The Third Edition of the Executive Program on Nuts and Dried Fruits was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic that swept across our world. Even now, almost a year into the global health crisis, things are not as they were both. Nevertheless, the 2020 Edition is finishing strong with a total of 64 students from 26 countries. Given this success, the INC continues to work hard to provide an unparalleled learning experience for students of the INC Academia.   With all of that in mind, for 2021, the INC has searched for new topics of special interest and has expanded its training offer. New to 2021, INC Academia students will now be able to select between two self-paced training tracks: General Industry Track and Specialized Elective Track.  General Industry Track The General Industry Track will provide students with a basic overview of the entire nut and dried fruit industry. The track is presented as a full package that combines online lessons, with reading materials, videos, and self-assessment tests, plus an optional intensive On-site course that includes technical visits, networking, and learning through case studies. Students will have the possibility to only undertake the online portion of the full package. Due to COVID-19, information regarding the on-site course will be made available later on. The online program consists of 12 units, 10 of which are required, and 2 that are electives. The 10 required units cover topics like soil and climate, varieties, nutrition facts, processing, food safety, quality standards, and industry statistics, among other subjects. Specialized Elective Track This track enables students to pick their courses from a list of 4 specialized courses. From this list, students can select the 2 elective courses that are required to complete the General Industry Track. The topics that are available with the Specialized Elective Track include:   Arbitration rules International market opportunities Cross-cultural negotiations Risk & insurance For more information, click here.https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/new-personalized-experience-for-inc-academia-2021Pesticides Update: DecemberAustralia: MRLS Update Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) issued the proposal to amend Schedule 20 of the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (November 17, 2020). Among other changes, the table to section S20-3 in Schedule 20 is amended as follows: The MRL for acequinocyl in apricots, dried, and prunes set at 1 ppm is omitted. The MRL for fludioxonil in dried grapes (currants, raisins and sultanas) set at 5 ppm is omitted. The MRL for pydiflumetofen in dried grapes (currants, raisins and sultanas) set at 5 ppm is omitted. The deadline for comments is December 14, 2020. The proposal can be found here (pp. 17-22). Brazil: MRLs Update The Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency has notified the World Trade Organization of the draft resolutions regarding the active ingredients M45-Mandipropamid, F66-Flubendiamide, A38-Acibenzolar-S-methyl, C58-Alpha-cypermethrin, C20-Chlorpyrifos and G01-Glyphosate of the Monograph List of Active Ingredients for Pesticides, Household Cleaning Products and Wood Preservers, published by Resolution RE n° 165 of 29 August 2003, on the Official Gazette (DOU Diário Oficial da União) of 2 September 2003. The MRL for mandipropamid in macadamia nuts culture is set at 2.0 ppm with a safety security period of 1 day. In grape culture, the MRL is set at 0.6 ppm with a safety security period of 7 days. The MRL for flubendiamide in peanuts changes from 0.01 to 0.07 ppm. The MRL for acibenzolar-S-methyl in Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, pecan nuts and pine nuts I set at 0.2 ppm with a safety security period of 1 day. The MRL for alpha-cypermethrin in peanuts is set at 0.05 ppm with a safety security period of 15 days. The MRL for chlorpyrifos in peanuts is set at 0.1 ppm with a safety security period of 25 days. The MRL for glyphosate in pecan nuts is set at 0.1 ppm with a safety security period of 15 days. The final date for comments is January 9, 2021.   M45-Mandipropamid  Canada: MRLs Update Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency has proposed new maximum residue limits (PMRL) for carfentrazone-ethyl. The PMRL proposed in Tree nuts (crop group 14-11) is 0.10 ppm. The deadline for comments is January 24, 2021.   Consultation on Carfentrazone-ethyl, Proposed Maximum Residue Limit PMRL 2020-41 In addition, new maximum residue limit (PMRL) for carfentrazone-ethyl and pydiflumetofen were proposed.   The PMRL for carfentrazone-ethyl in tree nuts (crop group 14-11) is set at 0.10 ppm. The deadline for comments is January 24, 2021.   The PMRL for pydiflumetofen in dried prune plums is set at 1.0 ppm and in tree nuts (crop group 14-11) at 0.07 ppm. The deadline for comments is February 8, 2021.   Consultation on Carfentrazone-ethyl, Proposed Maximum Residue Limit PMRL 2020-41 Consultation on Pydiflumetofen, Proposed Maximum Residue Limit PMRL 2020-44 EU: Pesticides, Extension of Approval Periods The European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1643 of 5 November 2020 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) No 540/2011 as regards the approval periods of the active substances calcium phosphide, denathonium benzoate, haloxyfop-P, imidacloprid, pencycuron and zeta-cypermethrin.   This regulation entered into force on November 26, 2020.   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1643 of 5 November 2020 EU: MRLs Update  The European Commission published the Commission Regulation (EU) 2020/1633 of 27 October 2020 amending Annexes II, III, IV and V to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels for azinphos-methyl, bentazone, dimethomorph, fludioxonil, flufenoxuron, oxadiazon, phosalone, pyraclostrobin, repellants: tall oil and teflubenzuron in or on certain products. As previously announced, the Regulation establishes the following MRLs: The MRL for azinphos-methyl in tree nuts, apricots, prunes, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs and peanuts is set at 0.01* ppm. The MRL for oxadiazon in tree nuts, apricots, prunes, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs and peanuts is set at 0.01* ppm. The MRL for pyraclostrobin in grapes is set at 0.3 ppm. EU: MRLs Update, Draft Commission Regulations The European Commission notified the World Trade Organization of the two Draft Commission Regulations amending Annexes II and III to Regulation (EC) No 396/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards maximum residue levels.   As regards maximum residue levels in nuts and dried fruits for clethodim, dazomet, hexythiazox, metam and sethoxydim in or on certain products, the following MRL are amended (see previous post): The MRL for clethodim in tree nuts, apricots, prunes, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs and peanuts is lowered from 0.1 to 0.02* ppm. The MRL for metam in tree nuts, apricots, prunes, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs and peanuts is lowered from 0.02* to 0.01* ppm. The MRL for hexythiazox in tree nuts is lowered from 0.5 ppm to 0.05 ppm; in apricots is lowered from 1 ppm to 0.7 ppm; in plums is increased from 0.5 ppm to 0.7 ppm; in cranberries, figs and peanuts is lowered from 0.5 ppm to 0.01* ppm. The MRL for sethoxydim in tree nuts and peanuts is set at 0.02* ppm; and in apricots, plums, grapes, cranberries, dates and figs at 0.01* ppm.   The deadline for comments is January 4, 2021. The proposed date of adoption is July 2021. It is expected to be published in October 2021.   As regards maximum residue levels in nuts and dried fruits for ametoctradin, bixafen, fenazaquin, spinetoram, tefluthrin and thiencarbazone-methyl in or on certain products, the following MRL are amended:   The MRL for fenazaquin is lowered from 0.2 to 0.01* ppm in grapes. The MRL for spinetoram is lowered from 0.05* to 0.02* ppm in tree nuts, plums, dates, figs and peanuts; and from 0.5 to 0.4 ppm in grapes. The MRL for tefluthrin is lowered from 0.05 to 0.01* ppm in tree nuts, apricots, plums, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs, and peanuts. The MRL for thiencarbazone-methyl is set at 0.01* ppm in tree nuts, apricots, plums, grapes, cranberries, dates, figs, and peanuts.   The deadline for comments is January 12, 2021. The proposed date of adoption is February 2021. It is expected to be published in March 2021. EU: Pesticides, Renewal Procedures On November 23, 2020, the European Commission published the Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1740 of 20 November 2020 setting out the provisions necessary for the implementation of the renewal procedure for active substances.   This Regulation establishes rules on the procedure for the renewal of the approval of active substances within the meaning of Regulation (EC) No 1107/2009, and shall apply to the renewal of the approval of active substances whose approval period ends on or after March 27, 2024. Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1740 of 20 November 2020 Japan: MRLs Update The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare of Japan notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) of the Revision of the Standards and Specifications for Foods and Food Additives under the Food Sanitation Act (revision of agricultural chemical residue standards).   As for nuts and dried fruits, the following MRLs were proposed: The MRL for cartap, thiocyclam and bensultap in apricot, cranberry, date, pecan, almond, walnut, and other nuts is lowered from 3 ppm to 0.01 ppm; and in grape from 3 ppm to 2 ppm. The deadline for comments in January 5, 2021. The MRL for myclobutanil in apricot is increased from 2 ppm to 3 ppm; in Japanese plum (including prune) from 0.5 ppm to 2 ppm; and in raisin from 0.01 ppm to 6 ppm. However, in cranberry and date is lowered from 1 ppm to 0.01 ppm; and in grape from 1 ppm to 0.9 ppm. The deadline for comments is January 19, 2021. The MRL for deltamethrin and tralomethrin in grape is lowered from 0.7 ppm to 0.6 ppm. The deadline for comments is January 19, 2021. In addition, the MRLs for dieldrin, benfuracarb, carbofuran and carbaryl previously notified were adopted and published on July 14, 2020. The MRL for dieldrin in peanuts, pecan, almond, walnut and other nuts is lowered from 0.06 ppm to 0.05 ppm; in apricot, cranberry and date from 0.05 ppm to 0.01 ppm. In addition, in grape is newly set at 0.01 ppm. The MRL for benfuracarb in peanuts is lowered from 0.3 ppm to 0.02 ppm; in apricot, cranberry, grape, date, pecan, almond, walnut and other nuts from 0.5 ppm to 0.01 ppm. The MRL for carbofuran in peanuts is lowered from 0.2 ppm to 0.1 ppm; in apricot, cranberry, grape, date, pecan, almond, walnut and other nuts from 0.3 ppm to 0.01 ppm. The MRL for carbaryl in peanuts is lowered from 5 ppm to 0.05 ppm; in apricot from 10 ppm to 0.01 ppm; in cranberry form 7 ppm to 5 ppm; in grape from 1.0 ppm to 0.01 ppm; and in date from 2 ppm to 0.01 ppm. For further information, please contact us at inc@nutfruit.org. USA: MRLs Update The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established tolerances for residues of mefenoxam and indoxacarb in or on multiple commodities.   Among others, the tolerance of mefenoxam in tree nut, crop group 14-12 is set at 0.3 ppm. This regulation is effective since November 13, 2020. Objections and requests must be received on or before January 12, 2021.   The tolerance of indoxacarb in tree nut, crop group 14-12 is set at 0.08 ppm. This regulation is effective since November 16, 2020. Objections and requests must be received on or before January 15, 2021.   Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 220. Friday, November 13, 2020. Pages 72571-72574 Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 221. Monday, November 16, 2020. Pages 72968-72971https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/pesticides-update-decemberSustainability Update: December 2020EU: Reducing Packaging Waste Open Consultation The European Commission (EC) opened a public consultation about the action plan for the development of EU organic production.   Within the EU Action Plan for a circular economy, the EC identified plastics as a key priority confirmed it would focus on plastics production and use and work towards the goal of ensuring that all plastic packaging is recyclable by 2030.   The EC will review the requirements on packaging and packaging waste in the EU. This will include assessing how to improve packaging design to promote reuse and recycling, increase recycled content in packaging, tackle excessive packaging, and reduce packaging waste.   The purpose of the consultation is to gather views from citizens and stakeholders on possible measures to review the Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste. The deadline for submitting comments is January 6, 2021.   Reducing packaging waste – review of rules   USA: Impacts of the EU F2F and Biodiversity Strategies The USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) published the report Economic and Food Security Impacts of Agricultural Input Reduction Under the European Union Green Deal’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. This report examines the economic implications of the EU Green Deal’s Farm to Fork and Biodiversity Strategies. To do that, the study focused on several selected agricultural input reductions specified in the Strategies: reduction of pesticide use by 50%, reduction of fertilizer use by 20%, reduction of antimicrobial use for livestock by 50%, and removal of 10% of existing farmland from agricultural use.   The study concludes that the EC’s 10-year plan of targeted reductions in the use of land, antimicrobials, fertilizers, and pesticides would lead to a reduction in EU agricultural production and reduce its competitiveness in domestic and export markets. If the plan were adopted beyond the EU, those impacts would also expand with consequences for worldwide welfare and food insecurity.https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/sustainability-update-decemberOrganic Production: DecemberEU: Organic Agriculture The European Commission has published the following regulations:   Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1667 of 10 November 2020 amending Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/977 as regards the period of application of the temporary measures in relation to controls on the production of organic products. The temporary measures provided in the Regulation 2020/977 shall apply until February 1, 2022.  Regulation (EU) 2020/1693 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 November 2020 amending Regulation (EU) 2018/848 on organic production and labelling of organic products as regards its date of application and certain other dates referred to in that Regulation. This Regulation modifies the date of application of the Regulation 2018/848, which establishes a new regulatory framework for organic production. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/organic-production-decemberOfficial Controls Update: DecemberChile: Pistachios from California The Agriculture and Livestock Service of Chile notified the World Trade Organization of the phytosanitary requirements for the importation of pistachio trees (Pistacia vera) from California.   Among other requirements, shipments must include an official phytosanitary certificate issued by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), declaring that the shipment has been treated against insects and mites (name of the substance, treatment, dose…).   The deadline for comments is January 29, 2021.   Draft (in Spanish)https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/official-controls-update-decemberLatest Trade News and Agreements: DecemberEU-US: Additional Tariffs On November 10, 2020, the EU applied retaliatory tariffs on certain US origin products as a response to the Airbus-Boeing dispute.   The countermeasures have been agreed by EU Member States –the US has not provided the basis for a negotiated settlement yet. The European Commission said it is willing to settle this dispute with the US and also to agree on long-term disciplines on aircraft subsidies.   The products subject to additional tariffs include, among others:   HS Code Description Additional Tariff 0802 90 85 Other 25% 0804 10 00         Dates 25% 1202 41 00 Peanuts, in-shell 25% 1202 42 00 Peanuts, shelled 25% 2008 19 99 Roasted nuts, other 25%   Background:   On October 13, 2020, the World Trade Organization (WTO) allowed the EU to raise tariffs of up to $4 billion US imports as a countermeasure for subsides to the US aircraft maker, Boeing. Previously, in October 2019, the WTO allowed the US to take countermeasures against EU exports worth up to $7.5 billion, which were imposed on October 18, 2019. Nuts and dried fruits were not included among the products  (see previous post).   Press release: Boeing WTO case: The EU puts in place countermeasures against U.S. exports Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/1646 of November 7, 2020  EU-China: Geographical Indications On November 23, the European Council adopted a decision on the conclusion of the agreement between the European Union and the government of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation and protection of geographical indications (GIs).   A list of 100 EU and 100 Chinese agri-food GI’s will be legally protected, ensuring mutual respect of agricultural traditions of both parties. Regarding nuts and dried fruits, the following recognition has been granted: China will recognize EU’s GI of the following good: Pruneaux d'Agen The EU will guarantee the Chinese GI of the following products: Hongyazi Peanut Junan Peanut Lincang Macadamia Boli Pine Nut Neihuang Peanut Zhengyang Peanut   It is expected that the agreement will enter into force at the beginning of 2021.   EU-China: Council gives final green light to the agreement on geographical indications EU-New Zealand: Future Trade Agreement The ninth round of negotiations for an EU-New Zealand trade agreement was held from November 23-30, 2020.   The outcome of this round of negotiations is a provisional agreement on two additional chapters: ‘Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)’ and ‘Capital Movements’. Both parties also held thorough discussions covering the majority of the areas of the future agreement.   EU and New Zealand reach provisional agreement on two more chapters of future trade agreement EU-Eastern and Southern African Countries: EPA Negotiations The third round of negotiations to deepen the existing Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with five Eastern and Southern African partners (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe) was held from November 24-27, 2020.   The parties progressed on the issues already discussed in the first two rounds: customs and trade facilitation, technical barriers to trade, food safety and plant and animal health standards, rules of origin and agriculture. A first text-based discussion also took place on trade and sustainable development, including a presentation by the European Commission of a new article on Trade and Gender Equality.   The next round of negotiations is expected for April 2021.   Commission reports on negotiating round with five Eastern and Southern African countries EU: Market Access, Complaint Mechanism On November 16, 2020, the EU Commission Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) launched the Single Entry Point (SEP) and complaints mechanism for the enforcement of EU trade agreements and arrangements.   The SEP is the centralized contact point for all EU-based stakeholders who want to lodge a complaint on market access issues or non-compliance with Trade and Sustainable Development (TSD) or Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) commitments. Its main objective is to streamline internal processes to tackle market access issues and non-compliance with TSD/GSP system commitments, as well as to prioritize better the EU’s enforcement action. However, the SEP does not deal with trade defense complaints (anti-dumping, anti-subsidy or safeguards). For such matters, please refer to the trade defense complaints office.   Market access complaints are open to: 1) EU Member States, 2) entities having their registered office, central administration or principal place of business within the EU, 3) industry associations of EU companies, 4) EU employers’ associations, and 5) trade unions. TSD/GSP complaints are open to the previous entities and to EU citizens and EU NGOs. The complaint forms can be found on the ‘Access2Markets’ webpage. Guidelines for the SEP and complaints mechanism EU: DG Trade Strategic Plan 2020-2024 The European Commission Directorate-General for Trade (DG Trade) recently published its Strategic Plan 2020-2024.   This plan sets how DG Trade will pursue its agenda in the next five years (2020-2024). DG Trade will pursue its specific objectives under two of the Commission's general objectives: 1) an economy that works for people, and 2) a stronger Europe in the world.   In the current particularly challenging environment, the EU’s trade policy aims to make more progress on: Strengthening international cooperation and coordination in favor of rules-based trade. Gradual and reciprocal opening of markets, effective implementation of trade, and investment agreements and enforcing EU rights. Strengthening and extending rules for trade and investment which support open markets and reflect EU values. The promotion of sustainability and equitable development. Establishing a level playing field and protecting EU companies and citizens from unfair trade. DG Trade Strategic Plan 2020-2024 EU-UK: Channel Tunnel Rail Traffic On December 2, 2020, the Council’s Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) agreed on a mandate to ensure the continuation of the Channel Tunnel rail traffic at the end of the transition period.   Coreper agreed on a negotiating mandate for discussions with the European Parliament on a proposal aimed at ensuring that rail traffic can continue in the Channel Tunnel from January 1, 2021.   According to the draft regulation, the safety authorization issued to the infrastructure manager of the Channel Tunnel would remain valid for two months after the end of the transition period defined in the withdrawal agreement. Moreover, certain safety certificates and licenses, which have been issued under EU law to rail companies established in the UK and using the cross-border infrastructure, should be extended for nine months from the date of application of the regulation.   By temporarily extending the validity of these safety authorizations and certificates, the measure gives French authorities more time to arrange the future binational administration, so that railways can continue to operate in the Channel Tunnel after January 1, 2021.   Channel Tunnel rail traffic at the end of the transition period RCEP, the World's Largest Trading Bloc On November 15, 2020, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and the 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).   This Partnership will represent the world’s largest trading area, as the total population, economic volume and trade of the 15 RCEP members account for 30% of the global total. It is expected that the RCEP will eliminate about 90% of tariffs between members.   It is also expected that this Partnership will promote international cooperation against COVID-19, support free trade and multilateral trading system, keep the region’s supply chain stable, and boost regional and global economic recovery and development.   The RCED will enter into force when the 15 countries finished their corresponding domestic approval procedures.   RCEP: Asia-Pacific countries form world's largest trading bloc UK-Canada: Trade Agreement On November 21, 2020, the United Kingdom and Canada secured an agreement for a continuity trade deal.   This agreement rolls over the provisions of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and shall give certainty for bilateral exports of goods and services. Several agricultural products will continue to benefit from zero tariffs.   In addition to this, both countries agreed to start negotiations in 2021 on a new UK-Canada trade deal, with the potential to go further in areas such as digital trade and environment provisions, among others.   UK secures vital rollover trade deal with Canada and agrees to start negotiating more advanced deal next year UK-Kenya: Trade Agreement On November 3, 2020, the United Kingdom and Kenya finalized negotiations on a trade deal. The agreement is a translation of the terms previously agreed between the EU and the East African Community (EAC) and includes clauses to allow other East Africa Community states to join in the future.   Both countries will continue to benefit from duty-free access. The deal is expected to be formally signed once it passes bilateral revisions.   UK and Kenya secure a trade agreement https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/latest-trade-news-and-agreements-decemberINC Introduces the INC Short Form ContractOver 200 participants joined the Introduction to the INC Contract webinar to watch and learn about the new short-form contract that the INC is offering its members. Mr. Giles Hacking, former INC Chairman and current member of the INC Business Integrity Committee chaired the webinar. Alongside Mr. Hacking, representatives from top organizations also took part. Dr. Helena Melnikov, Waren-Verein der Hamburger Börse e. V. WV, Germany, Ms. Barbara Niemens, NZV Netherlands,  Mr. Liam O’Gorman, Nut and Dried Fruit Trade Association NDFTA, UK, Mr. Jeremiah Szabo, DFA of California, USA, Mr. Bob Bauer, Association of Food Industries AFI, USA,  and Mr. Craig Duerr, California Almond Exporters Association CAEA, USA each gave short presentations on what products and services their organizations can provide. These six arbitral organizations are all supporters of the INC Short Form Contract and can be selected for arbitration when using the contract. Moreover, Ms. Tara Smith, a representative of Clyde & Co, and three more members of the INC Business Integrity, Mr. Andrew Waring, Mr. Pratap Nair, and  Mr. Stephen Meltzer joined to give their input. Following the description of the new INC Short Form Contract by Mr. Hacking, and the presentations from the guest speakers, a short Q&A session gave attendees to address questions directly to the panel. All in all, the webinar continued the recent trend of online services for INC members considering the current public health situation. View the preliminary INC Short Form Contract! Thank you to everyone who attended and thank you to all of our speakers for providing wonderful content for INC members. If you missed the live webinar or would like to re-watch it, you can find it in the INC TV Channel. https://www.nutfruit.org/consumers/news/detail/inc-introduces-the-inc-short-form-contractCOVID-19 Update: December 3, 2020Global COVID-19 cases surpassed 62 million, and the worldwide death toll is over 1.45 million people. It took just 17 days to go from 50 million cases to 60 million, compared with the 21 days it took to go from 40 million to 50 million. Several countries are reporting a high rate of daily new cases. Countries such as Serbia, South Korea or Turkey have reported more than twice as many new cases compared to the previous 14 days, and Algeria, Brazil, Canada, Russia, and the US, among others, reported more cases, whereas countries such as Argentina, Austria, China, India, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain reported fewer new cases. The rising number of new infections has led countries around the world to impose new restrictions in recent weeks. Given the unprecedented global mobilization of scientific know-how and pharmaceutical resources, it is expected that a new COVID-19 vaccine may be approved by the end of the year in the US and in the EU. As a consequence, the significant progress on vaccine development, together with other public health measures, raises hopes for ending the pandemic.   The International Air Transport Association is working on a Travel Pass, which will display test results together with proof of inoculation, as well as listing national entry rules, among other details. WHO The World Health Organization (WHO) Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, in the G20 Leaders’ Summit highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the foundations of social, economic and political stability. Dr. Adhanom focused on three key areas in which the G20 has a vital role, both in ending the pandemic and building back better: 1) vaccines, as they are vital to end the pandemic and to boost global recovery, 2) preparedness to prevent future outbreaks and their impacts on lives, livelihoods and economies, and 3) leadership, because the G20 represents 2/3 of the global population and 80% of the global economy, and consequently has a unique role to play in fostering solidarity in order to end the pandemic.   Dr. Adhanom also remarked that there is a real hope that vaccines, together with other public health measures, will help to end the pandemic. In addition to this, the urgency with which the vaccines have been developed shall be matched by the same urgency to distribute them fairly.  IMF The International Monetary Fund (IMF) issued its Annual Report 2020, which stresses that the global economy is facing a deep recession with the ongoing impact of the pandemic. The report also states that uncertainty, in combination with long-term forces, influences the countries’ response to the COVID-19 and their recovery. Governments around the globe invested nearly $12 trillion in fiscal actions and about $7.5 trillion in monetary actions in order to save lives and help the global economy. However, ongoing global forces and the current crisis may offer opportunities to build a better future.   The EU announced a contribution of €183 million to the IMF Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT), which provides debt service relieve to countries hit by catastrophes including public health crises. The CCRT allows the IMF to support international debt relief efforts when poor and vulnerable countries are hit by natural disasters or public health crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic. The IMF has already disbursed about $500 million in immediate debt relief to all 29 CCRT-eligible members since the beginning of the pandemic.  WTO The World Trade Organization (WTO) issued the World Trade Report 2020 –an annual publication that aims to deepen understanding about trends in trade, trade policy issues and the multilateral trading system. The 2020 issue looks at the role of innovation and technology policies. The report highlights the fact that in the digital age, a growing number of governments have adopted policies aimed at boosting growth through innovation and technological upgrading. Furthermore, the crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic is leading countries to strengthen these policies, and the outbreak has accelerated the uptake for e-commerce and digital innovation. OECD The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued the report “New Horizons: Structural policies for a strong recovery and a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future”. This report had been requested by the G20 to support its Action Plan in response to the crisis, and highlights that the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in the economy which can only be fixed through greater global cooperation and strong, targeted policy action. The OECD also recommends that governments need to plan for the recovery while continuing to live with the virus. Additionally, emergency economic measures need to be adopted, the support given to both people and businesses shall become more targeted, and new policies need to be adopted in order to make a stronger, sustainable and inclusive global economy.   The OECD identifies the need for stronger cooperation between governments in a number of fields: 1) health, from research to distributing COVID-19 vaccines, 2) trade, to ensure robust global production and supply chains, 3) the taxation of multinationals as the economy becomes increasingly digitalized, 4) environmental sustainability, and, 5) preventing sudden outflows of capital and sovereign debt crises in emerging markets and developing countries.   The report also states that exceptional fiscal spending and monetary support should be maintained as long as needed in order to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic. Furthermore, the crisis is accelerating changes to the economy, which are often disruptive. Governments will need to assist workers and businesses to transition from shrinking to expanding sectors: by removing barriers to mobility, increasing competition, and making it easier for firms to access finance and advanced technologies or to restructure.   The OECD issued another report, “Health at a Glance: Europe 2020”, which warns that Europe needs to prepare better for coming out of new strict containment measures, as the COVID-19 is spreading rapidly. The introduction of new mitigation measures is vital for policymakers to plan strategies to re-open their economies and to avoid stricter lockdown measures. More testing, tracing and isolation policies need to be implemented, as well as improved social distancing measures.   The report also provides comparative data on both the evolution of the pandemic in Europe as well as the policies aimed to mitigate its negative consequences. The report shows that some of the measures taken by European countries, such as banning large gatherings, enforcing the use of face masks and limiting capacity in indoor spaces, among others, had a positive outcome at slowing down the spread of the virus.  INC The INC International Nut and Dried Fruit Council organized the First INC Online Conference on November 17-19. Among many interesting online sessions, such as the regional working groups, scientific and regulatory webinar, nutrition webinar, and industry marketing program update, three internationally renowned keynote speakers provided insights into the impact of COVID-19.   The first one, Mr. Javier Solana, former Secretary General of NATO (1995-1999) addressed “Geopolitics in the Post-COVID-19 World”. He looked into what the geopolitics of the US, China, and Europe might look like once the pandemic slows down and we return to a "new normal".  He outlined the role that the US has played in the international community and highlighted the drastic look that it will have towards the world under a projected Biden Administration. The overarching theme of his presentation was the importance of multilateral organizations and agreements to achieve great things.   The second keynote speech was titled “Goal Overview & Australia - Impact of COVID-19 in near and medium term” by Mr. Alan Oster, Group Chief Economist, National Australia Bank. Mr. Oster presented global GDP forecasts that showed a -3.9% drop in GDP for 2020. He put this into context reminding attendees that the worst outcome before had essentially been 0%. From his perspective, Europe and other regions could experience a “W” recession in which the economy experiences a first drop in output, following by a brief recovery, before once again falling. He stressed that the main factor in regards to the economy is how well countries manage the coronavirus outbreak. And finally, keynote speaker Mr. Haim Israel, Global Strategist, Managing Director of Research at Bank of America, gave a speech titled "Transforming World! The World After COVID". Mr. Israel’s presentation stressed the idea that we are living in a revolutionary time period. He listed five megatrends that he believes will be important after COVID-19: Geopolitics, Tech Wars, Big Governments, Health, and the New Consumer. Israel’s experience in thematic investing provided a glimpse into the future and the challenges and opportunities that await us. Watch the keynote presentations in the INC TV Channel of the Member's Area. Australia On November 10, a new electronic border pass system came into effect in order to enter Queensland from another state or territory, if passengers have not been in a COVID-19 hotspot area in the past 14 days. However, specialist or essential workers are able to enter Queensland following certain requirements.   Australia’s second most populous state, Victoria, recently lifted the 112-day lockdown, with almost 5 million residents in Melbourne confined at home. However, there was a cluster of infections in the north of Adelaide, after several months of no community transmission. China According to a recent USDA GAIN report, the Chinese retail food industry was especially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic during the first half of 2020. During the lockdown e-commerce sales increased significantly, but supermarkets also experienced growth in sales.   The Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional (HRI) sectors suffered losses during the first quarter, but sales rebounded in the second quarter. In addition to this, COVID-19 testing caused longer port clearance time.   From November 22, Hong Kong and Singapore were expected to launch a travel bubble, which implied quarantine free flights between the two regions. However, the decision has been postponed until the first weeks of December, after a COVID-19 surge. EU On November 18, the European Council and the Parliament reached a political agreement on REACT-EU –an emergency legislative initiative to release €47.5 billion through the structural funds to the hardest hit Member States and regions. This additional funding will come from the European Recovery Instrument. REACT-EU is expected to bolster health services, jobs, small and medium-sized enterprises while stimulating green and digital transformations. In 2021, the additional resources will be of €37.5 billion, and €10 billion in 2022.   In addition to this, the Council and the Parliament also reached a political agreement on the next multiannual financial framework, the EU’s long-term budget, which gives more flexibility to allow the EU to respond to unforeseen needs, and a targeted reinforcement of EU programs, including EU4Health program. The budget also establishes new revenue structures to repay €750 billion in debt the EU will take on to finance coronavirus assistance and recovery.   The European Commission approved a contract in order to secure 300 million doses of the new COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected to be available within the first three months of 2021.   On November 16, the EU Council adopted conclusions setting out how recovery from the COVID-19 crisis can be used as leverage for a more dynamic, resilient and competitive European industry. The conclusions reiterate the need for European solidarity, the green and digital transition, and achieving strategic autonomy while preserving an open economy.   On November 19, after the video conference of the EU Council members, the European Council president, Charles Michel, highlighted that the COVID-19 situation in Europe remains serious and concerning. The discussed topics were COVID-19 tests, vaccines and the lifting of restrictive measures. On testing, a common EU-approach for the use of rapid antigen tests was discussed. On vaccines, they agreed to speed up the preparations of national vaccination plans to ensure available and affordable vaccines to all EU citizens.   On November 21-22, at the G20 Summit, Michel said: "An international Treaty on Pandemics could help prevent future pandemics and help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner. It should be negotiated with all nations, UN organizations and agencies, in particular the WHO. The WHO must remain the cornerstone of global coordination against health emergencies. A Treaty on Pandemics could complement its efforts."   On November 23, Michel held a phone call with the US president-elect Joe Biden. The EU leader emphasized that the EU is ready to tackle together with the US some of the main global challenges: The COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery, climate change, security, and multilateralism.  Belgium Belgium is one of the EU countries with the highest COVID-19 infection rates. Hospitals are almost running over capacity. New strict lockdown measures were announced, including a six-week closure of non-essential businesses and shops, and a November school break was extended by a week. A r