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Almond Byte, June 2023: McKalip Visits CA, MRL Workshop Recap, Labor Union Update

Highlights from the June 2023 Global Update from the Global Technical and Regulatory Affairs team at the Almond Board of California.


USTR Chief Ag Negotiator Visits California

After speaking at the recent Agri-Pulse Conference, ABC was able to arrange orchard visits for USTR Chief Ag Negotiator Doug McKalip. The almond and walnut orchards outside of Sacramento were the perfect venue to discuss the impact of tariffs and technical issues on the shipment of almonds. An important point that was highlighted was the fact that despite increases in shipments to several key markets, growers are operating at a considerable economic loss. Ambassador McKalip was keen to learn more about the impact on rural communities in the area, as well as the competitive situation with Australian and European production.

USTR is focusing on IPEF negotiations, which stands for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity and involves India, Japan, South Korea, and the US. The U.S. is also in parallel discussions for a trade agreement with Kenya. ABC will be holding further discussions with USTR on specific market access issues during the industry delegation trip to DC taking place later this month.

Highlights from MRL Harmonization Workshop

Several GTRA staff attended the annual MRL seminar put on by the California Specialty Crop Council that was held this year in San Diego. Participation included attendees from overseas, regulatory agency staff, chemical registrant companies, and commodity and trade associations. A big focus was on EU Farm-to-Fork policies, specifically, Sustainable Pesticide Use Directive, applying environmental factors to MRL settings, which contravene existing WTO norms, and applying Mirror Clauses to imported products.

There was a growing understanding among attendees that in addition to building alliances with EU businesses and trade groups, stakeholders who rely on exports to the EU must also liaise with each other and respective government agencies to counter the EU’s growing ambitions and attempts to influence policies in international fora such as CODEX and the WTO, as these would have a far-reaching impact on international food trade. For more information, please contact

Transportation/Labor Union Update

Due to lower container freight volumes coming into the United States, some west coast ports have been dropping shifts and slowing productivity. Additionally, International l Longshore & Warehouse Union (ILWU) has continued to undertake sporadic “job actions” as a leverage mechanism in the ongoing labor negotiations. Previously, these had been limited to actions at the Ports of LA/Long Beach, however, this tactic spilled over to Oakland in early June leading to a closure for a shift. Negotiations between the two sides have continued to drag on, with some progress being reported despite the occasional disturbances at the port. For more information, please contact