soybean field

USSEC Participates in First Vessel Comparison Study Between United States and China

The first Vessel Comparison Study (VCS) was conducted at Tacoma Export Marketing Company (TEMCO) in the Seattle/Tacoma, Washington area from February 22-March 2, 2013.  This study is the implementation of the memo of understanding, signed in 2010, on soybean inspection and quarantine cooperation between China’s Administration of Quality Supervision Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

A group of five Chinese inspectors, six industry representatives and three USDA / Foreign Agricultural Services (FAS), Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) officers participated in this study by jointly identifying the vessel, probing soybeans for samples and conducting surface inspections on selected holds.  Teams worked tirelessly despite rainy weather disrupting loading operations and other scheduled activities.  U.S. and Chinese participants worked together to complete the tasks as stated in the implementing protocol agreed upon by both countries.

FAS officer Mark Rasmussen (1st from left) and USSEC/NAEGA VCS program consultant Arvid Hawk (3rd from left), holding discussions with Wu Xinhua (2nd from right), head of the Chinese AQSIQ team and his colleagues.

The U.S. soybean industry anticipates that the conduction of this study will highlight differences, help find solutions and that appropriate measures will be taken to address the concerns of both countries.  Soybean trade relations between the U.S. and China should be further strengthened, with China continuing to be the biggest importer for the U.S. soybean industry.  Key participants representing the related agencies in both countries made presentations on the U.S. and Chinese inspection systems in addition to discussions that were held to build confidence in soybean inspection and quarantine systems in the U.S. and China in order to better understand the standard practice in sampling, grading and testing the soybeans at the loading port in U.S. and the discharging port in China.
Mark Andersen, USSEC Industry Relations Director, made a presentation to the Chinese team detailing USSEC’s role in the U.S. soybean industry and the commitments made to its partners in China.  Zhang Xiaoping, USSEC China Country Director, escorted the team on this trip to facilitate the communications between Chinese and U.S. government officers and the industry representatives to ensure that this mission was a success that will benefit both countries’ industries.
The group will meet again in China when the soybean carrying vessel Lady Maritearrives there to complete the sampling and testing for the first vessel comparison study.

Participants from China and the U.S. observe the mid-level probe sampling conducted by U.S. grading specialists, which is not a usual practice but will serve as a reference to compare with mechanical sampling in the U.S.