Objective: The fundamental objective of FAEA is to identify and understand what foreign Nations/officials are considering in terms of establishing, revising, and implementing food/feed safety and animal health/production laws and regulations and then taking action to intervene BEFORE any potential trade restricting barriers are put into place.
Strategy: The strategy is to first identify where food/feed safety and animal health laws and regulations are being developed or changed for the products represented by FAEA members. We then prioritize to focus on those countries where FAEA members share a common interest in maintaining or gaining access to some of the most important growth markets for the export of their products. Historically, we have worked primarily in Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Myanmar, and Vietnam) and sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya, Nigeria, and Ghana). Each year we evaluate progress in the markets where we are working and also consider any new opportunities or challenges that develop globally.
Activities: FAEA implements its strategy by conducting four categories of activities known as MICA, that is, Management and Administration; Information Gathering, Analysis, and Intelligence Sharing; Capacity Building Activities; and Advocacy for Codex and Science-Based Standards as described in greater detail below:
A. Management and Administration: The day-to-day management and administration of the FAEA project is carried out by three FAEA staff with overall leadership, guidance, direction, and support provided by the eight FAEA Board members and two U.S. Grains Council staff.
a. FAEA Board Members: Responsible for providing overall leadership and guidance in setting FAEA priorities, determining strategic direction, and evaluating program and staff performance
b. Executive Director (ED) – Responsible for the overall management, administration, and implementation of the FAEA strategy and activities
c. Program Coordinator (PC) – Responsible for assisting with all administrative and program activities
d. Codex Coordinator (CC) – Responsible for assisting with implementing all aspects of the Codex strategy and activities
e. USGC staff – Responsible for supporting all the day-to-day administrative and program activities and serving as the liaison with the Foreign Agricultural Service.
B. Information Gathering, Analysis and Intelligence Sharing: Accurate and timely information is critical to the successful performance of the FAEA project. FAEA uses its network of U.S. Government, FAEA member staff, and contractors to gather information on a monthly and “alert” basis, analyze it, and share that information with our members as well as our U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) partners. FAEA uses its resources to assist foreign Nations in establishing food/feed safety and animal health laws and regulations by implementing activities in collaboration with each Nation’s Executive, Legislative and Judiciary branches of government to ensure that laws, regulations and standards are science-based and do not act as Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).
C. Capacity Building Activities: The bulk of FAEA resources is used in implementing technical capacity building activities. Most activities take place in the target markets and involve providing technical assistance and education to ministry regulatory, health and judicial decision-makers, technical staff, and legislative (law makers) representatives in the host countries. These activities typically are carried out in the form of workshops and seminars by U.S. technical or regulatory experts that FAEA hires on an activity-by-activity basis. We also hire in-country contractors to assist in implementing activities and to report to us on new developments or proposals that are being considered.
D. Advocacy for Codex and Science-Based Standards: Advocacy and outreach for supporting U.S. positions is another “preventative” initiative that FAEA carries out on an on-going basis. We rely on our information network and contacts to identify Nations and officials that share the same policies or positions on Codex and standards set by other international bodies (e.g., OIE and IPPC). FAEA then sponsors like-minded officials to participate in Codex meetings that are of key importance to FAEA members. We also use our information and intelligence network to learn about and share standards related issues with FAEA members and our U.S. Government partners.
The following general continuum is representative of FAEA work in selected markets:
Stage 1 (The assessment stage) is to determine the viability of working with a nation or region. Is the target market in the processes of or considering altering their food and feed safety laws? If so, can the FAEA influence such legal and regulatory development?
Stage 2 is the development of the necessary relationships and confidence factors to engage those who are developing the laws and regulations.
Stage 3 involves working with government regulators to ensure that proposed new regulations are transparent, open to amendment, and notified to the SPS and/or TBT Committees. Stages 2 and 3 take significant FAEA time in-country and may include a series of workshops to address a country’s rights and obligations as a WTO member, possible visits to the U.S., and sharing of expertise in plant and animal health.
Stage 4 includes the establishment of laws and regulations critical to establishing a science-based food and feed infrastructure that is supportive of trade.
Stage 5, Finally, FAEA completes the project and turns over the follow-up responsibilities to individual Members.
FAEA Program Objective, Strategy and Activities
Figure 1: Continuum of FAEA Engagement and Progress
Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5