Company News

December 10, 2018

Sarah Gelpi Judges Culinary Competition at UpperCrust in Mumbai

Company News December 10, 2018

Sarah Gelpi Judges Culinary Competition at UpperCrust in Mumbai
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India is an emerging market for the U.S. cranberry industry, and BCI works with the Cranberry Marketing Committee to increase awareness and utilization of U.S. cranberries through a mix of promotional, educational, and trade relations activities.  As a part of these efforts, CMC leads a USDA-funded Global Broad-Based Initiative project in India in collaboration with California Walnuts, USA Pears, the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, and Washington Apples to promote the use of these U.S. agricultural products as premium ingredients. 

At the UpperCrust Food and Wine show this weekend in Mumbai, BCI Marketing team-member Sarah Gelpi served as a judge for a culinary and mixology competition during which these products were featured in dishes and cocktails made by budding and professional chefs and mixologists.  Sarah said: “The creativity in using our U.S. agricultural products—including the fusion into Indian cuisine—was great to witness and to taste.  Activities like these reinforce the idea that U.S. ingredients like cranberries are versatile, and can complement Indian flavors well.  And while India does have a reputation for being difficult to penetrate, the market potential is evident.  With a growing middle-class, solid economic growth, and increasing demand for healthier foods, the market is ripe for development for products like U.S. cranberries.”   
November 7, 2018

Melissa Melgar Joins BCI

Company News November 7, 2018

Melissa Melgar Joins BCI
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Melissa Melgar joined Bryant Christie Inc. in November 2018 as a Financial and Grant Management Assistant. Her primary role is supporting BCI’s marketing staffShe has six years of administrative and operational support experience in both public and private sectors, including an internship with the World Affairs Council of Seattle. Professionally she has enjoyed working with federal and state grant process, managing cross-sector relations, and program management in various global affairs settings.

Melissa is a graduate from California State University, Bakersfield with a Bachelor’s in Political Science-International Relations and a minor in Business Administration. As an undergraduate, Melissa spent a year in Sweden where she participated in a study exchange at Uppsala University, learned Swedish, and coordinated the 2015 Uppsala Model United Nations conference.
October 30, 2018

Matt Lantz Attends the Commodity Expert Working Group (CEG) on Hops in Žalec, Slovenia

Company News October 30, 2018

Matt Lantz Attends the Commodity Expert Working Group (CEG) on Hops in Žalec, Slovenia
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The European Union is proposing to eliminate certain crop protection products used in hop production. Those proposals, dominated this week’s discussions at Commodity Expert Working Group (CEG) on Hops in Žalec, Slovenia. Matt Lantz, Bryant Christie’s VP for Global Access, is the only American member of the European CEG.

At the meeting, Lantz provided the European hop industry with a list of nine hop crop protection products that could be removed in the EU within three years. One is quinoxyfen (Quintec), a chemical that attacks a serious hop disease called powdery mildew. It could be removed from the EU next year, and while that would make it unavailable to EU hop growers, it would also effectively remove it from the US market because hops treated with it could not be exported to the EU. That could leave the 2019 hop crop vulnerable to this hop cone destroying mildew.

“The US and Europeans hop industries know they’ve got to encourage harmonizing technical standards’ Lantz said, “And they’ve got to present unified responses to EU proposals. BCI is helping with both.”

Shown here: Matt Lantz (at center), Dr. Kugel from Germany and Dr. Radišek from Slovenia enjoying the world’s only public beer fountain in Žalec, Slovenia.

October 22, 2018

Kristen Ford Joins BCI

Company News October 22, 2018

Kristen Ford Joins BCI
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Kristen Ford joined Bryant Christie Inc.’s Sacramento office in June 2018 as the firm’s Accounting Manager and Grants Finance Assistant. Split between these roles, she manages BCI’s main business finances and assists the federal grant accounting staff including client financial accounting and audit preparation.

Prior to joining BCI, Kristen worked as the Grants Manager/Finance Manager for Farmer Veteran Coalition where she gained experience in her work with USDA grants.

As a licensed customs broker, Kristen ran her own brokerage business for over 12 years, specializing in the food and beverage trade.

October 18, 2018

BCI Staff Tour Blue Diamond Packing Plant

Company News October 18, 2018

BCI Staff Tour Blue Diamond Packing Plant
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During the first week of October, BCI’s Sacramento team visited Blue Diamond Growers for a tour of its Sacramento plant.  The BCI team was able to watch as Blue Diamond prepared its signature flavored snack almonds, from the sorting of raw almonds, roasting and the application of Blue Diamond’s world-famous flavors, all the way through to packaging in the iconic Blue Diamond cans.  BCI also discussed the almond industry and international marketing efforts with Blue Diamond’s International Consumer team.

The visit provided an excellent opportunity to witness—in real time—the transformation of one of California’s most important crops into a value-added product with international reach.  Such experiences provide real-world context for the work that BCI does every day to assist agricultural groups to develop and sustain international trade.  This visit was organized as part of Bryant Christie’s BCXplore (BCX) program, designed to support leadership development and team building. 

October 16, 2018

Jakob Hofso Joins BCI

Company News October 16, 2018

Jakob Hofso Joins BCI
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Jakob Hofso joined Bryant Christie Inc. in September 2018 as an International Marketing Assistant. He assists members of the marketing team in the preparation of export strategies, market research, client communications, and grant writing related to USDA export assistance programs.

Jakob graduated from the University of California, Davis with a degree in Economics and a minor in English. He also speaks Spanish. Before joining Bryant Christie, Jakob worked as an intern for a regional economic development group.

October 5, 2018

BCI Attends the Women in Agribusiness Summit

Company News October 5, 2018

BCI Attends the Women in Agribusiness Summit
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Last week Sarah Gelpi Hooker, a BCI marketing business unit team-member, attended the Women in Agribusiness Summit in Denver, Colorado.  This annual event brings together women from across the U.S. to discuss a wide range of issues affecting U.S. agriculture and women in particular.  This year’s event drew more than 750 attendees from over 40 states and included executives, marketers, producers, and researchers, among others. 

At the summit, Sarah attended sessions on international trade, marketing strategy, and innovations in agriculture—all with an eye towards developments in the sector with the potential to affect BCI clients.  Overall, the three-day event provided BCI with an excellent opportunity to share with and learn from women leaders in the agricultural community.

October 2, 2018

BCI Works on U.S. NGO Registration in China

Company News October 2, 2018

BCI Works on U.S. NGO Registration in China
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President

James C. Christie met with USDA/FAS Administrator Isley and a group of FAS officials and cooperators in Hong Kong earlier this month.  Topics during this discussion included tariffs, non-governmental organization (NGO) registration, and doing business in China.

Later in September, James then traveled to Shanghai and Beijing to further efforts towards an NGO registration for one of BCI’s clients. It is a cumbersome process that can take months and requires active management thereafter.  “While I don’t believe agricultural and food marketing efforts are the primary target of the law,” James said, “The Chinese government is actively pursuing registration of all foreign NGOs operating in China.”

The Foreign NGO Law came into effect in China in January 2017.  It mandates that foreign NGOs must register with China’s Ministry of Public Security (MPS) or its provincial level equivalent before conducting activities within mainland China. If a foreign NGO wishes to carry out single activities in the market, it can file for a temporary activity permit, but even this process can be difficult and time consuming.  In both cases, foreign NGOs must coordinate with a domestic Chinese organization in addition to the MPS.

According to the law, foreign NGOs are permitted to work in economics, education, science, culture, health, sports, environmental protection, poverty, and disaster relief but “must not endanger China’s national unity, security, or ethnic unity; and must not harm China’s national interests, societal public interest,” or engage in or fund for-profit, political, or religious activities. 

Please contact Bryant Christie Inc. for more information.

October 2, 2018

James C. Christie Attends AsiaFruit Congress in Hong Kong

Company News October 2, 2018

James C. Christie Attends AsiaFruit Congress in Hong Kong
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BCI President James C. Christie attended the Asia Fruit Logistica exhibition in Hong Kong on September 3, 2018.  While there, he spoke with U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service officials regarding issues that affect BCI’s agricultural clients, including tariffs, marketing, and non-governmental organization (NGO) registration in China.

Asia Fruit Logistica is a leading trade show for the international fresh fruit and vegetable business. The show and associated AsiaFruit Congress is held annually in September and is considered the gateway to the Hong Kong market as well as the rest of Asia.

September 18, 2018

Matt Lantz Speaks to Kenyan Farmers in Nairobi

Company News September 18, 2018

Matt Lantz Speaks to Kenyan Farmers in Nairobi
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On Wednesday, September 5,  BCI's Vice President for Global Access addressed the Kenyan Fruit, Vegetable, and Herb Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.  Matt was asked to speak to Kenyan farmers about exporting and how to comply with international food safety requirements in foreign markets.   He also participated in several panel discussions during the meeting. 

While in Kenya, Matt had to opportunity to hold discussions with the East African Community, USAID, and USDA regarding Bryant Christie Inc.'s BCGlobal MRL databases and opportunities to provide the governments and growers in the region the important regulatory information the databases contain within.

Photo: Matt Lantz at the Kenyan School of Monetary Studies, location of the Kenyan Fruit, Vegetable, and Herb Conference in Nairobi.

September 12, 2018

BCI Attends "Women Changing The World Mixer"

Company News September 12, 2018

BCI Attends
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On August 23, Sarah Gelpi and Pam Araoz—members of BCI’s marketing team—attended a mixer hosted by the NorCal World Trade Center through their International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP).  This program, which is a partnership with the U.S. State Department, plans short-term visits to the United States for foreign leaders to exchange cutting-edge information with their professional counterparts, experience local culture, and cultivate relationships with U.S. citizens.  

The “Women Changing the World” mixer allowed BCI staff to network with women from Northern California, as well as to meet with women leaders from the municipal, state, and federal levels of government of Nepal.  BCI is appreciative of opportunities like this, that encourage communication with members of the local international trade community.

August 20, 2018

Matt Lantz Speaks at American Chemical Society Conference

Company News August 20, 2018

Matt Lantz Speaks at American Chemical Society Conference
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On Sunday, August 19, 2018, BCI's Vice President for Global Access spoke at the American Chemical Society conference in Boston.  Matt Lantz spoke on EU pesticide maximum residue level (MRL) policies and how they are liked to affect trade to the European Union in the coming years. 

The EU is poised on November 10 to enact new regulations that may result in the removal of many MRLs.  This will hinder the ability of shippers from around the world to export to the market.  Matt highlighted how regions around the world might be affected and noted specific concerns that US growers and shippers have with the new EU policies. 

August 6, 2018

BCI Staff Tour California Fruit Packing Operation

Company News August 6, 2018

BCI Staff Tour California Fruit Packing Operation
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During the first week of August, members of BCI’s trade policy and marketing teams visited a California cherry, apple, and walnut packing shed.  James Christie (BCI President), Will Callis (Marketing Account Manager), Sarah Gelpi (Marketing Account Manager), and Adam Hollowell (Trade Policy Specialist), witnessed the packer’s California apple and walnut lines in action, and discussed the testing and protocols in place to ensure high-quality and smooth shipments into international markets.  The group also discussed the recently concluded California cherry season, and marketing and trade policy priorities of the industry. 

BCI works closely with the California Cherry Board on its international program, including on export market development and trade policy and phytosanitary issues.

July 20, 2018

Michael Bowen Joins BCI's Technology Team

Company News July 20, 2018

Michael Bowen Joins BCI's Technology Team
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Michael Bowen joined Bryant Christie Inc. in 2018 as a Front-End Web Application Developer.  He is responsible for maintaining and enhancing BCI’s online systems and helping to create new initiatives and client applications.  This includes customized applications and the BCGlobal product line.

Prior to joining the firm, Michael worked for Microsoft as a Web Developer III.  In that role he developed web applications that helped manage data for Xbox.  Before that he was a Software Development Engineer at iSoftStone North America, where he developed POS and employee management systems for resorts across the western US.

Michael is a graduate of the University of Washington, with a Bachelor of Arts in English.  He also holds a certificate in full stack JavaScript development from Code Fellows.

July 20, 2018

Ola Wietecha Joins BCI's Marketing Team

Company News July 20, 2018

Ola Wietecha Joins BCI's Marketing Team
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Ola Wietecha joined Bryant Christie in April of 2018 as a member of the firm’s international marketing group. Ola participates in writing and administering of grants related to the United States Department of Agriculture export assistance programs. She also works with clients to implement their organization’s promotional activities. Her responsibilities also include strategic planning, project management, and financial management.

Prior to joining Bryant Christie, Ola spent two years as a reporter covering the seafood industry, focusing on market trends, international marketing activities and technological developments in aquaculture, among other topics.

Ola graduated from Seattle’s University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and a minor in French. She gained proficiency in the French language during her time studying in Montpellier and during her year teaching in Grenoble. She is also fluent in Polish.

July 17, 2018

Matt Lantz Presents at World Trade Organization

Company News July 17, 2018

Matt Lantz Presents at World Trade Organization
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On July 11, Matt Lantz, BCI's Vice President for Market Access, spoke at the World Trade Organization in Geneva  on the potential impact European pesticide regulatory policies may have on agriculture exports to the Community.  Drawing from a report Bryant Christie Inc. produced in October 2017, Lantz explained that up to 64% of agriculture exports to the EU could be affected.  While all regions of the world are likely to feel an impact from the EU policies, Central and South America and Sub Saharan Africa are the most likely to face challenges

The meeting, sponsored by the US and Canadian governments, brought together officials from numerous countries to discuss EU pesticide maximum residue level (MRLs) policies in international trade. 

June 28, 2018

Ann Stevenson Participates in Exchange Program on MRLs in China

Company News June 28, 2018

Ann Stevenson Participates in Exchange Program on MRLs in China
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On June 8-17, Ann Stevenson traveled to Beijing, Nanjing, and Shanghai, China as part of a Scientific Cooperation Exchange Program (SCEP) on pesticide maximum residue levels (MRLs). SCEP is a USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) program that facilitates the exchange of scientific and technical expertise between the US and China.

This is the first SCEP focused specifically on pesticide residues. It was led by Mayra Caldera from FAS and included Dr. Wayne Jiang from the Interregional Research Project Number 4 (IR-4) Project and Dr. Loren LaPointe from FAS. While in China, the team visited the Ministry of Agriculture Institute Control of Agrochemicals (ICAMA), the US Embassy, Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing Agricultural University, and several local farms and agricultural facilities.

An open dialogue on MRLs between the two countries is especially important right now because China is in the process of expanding their national MRL legislation. Updates to this standard affect US industry exporting to and sourcing food from China.

 

Photo: SCEP team touring residue field trials on rice crops at Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences facility in Nanjing. From left to right: Loren LaPointe, Wayne Jiang, Mayra Caldera, Ann Stevenson, and Wenbo Duan.

June 18, 2018

BCX Group Visits Trident Seafood

Company News June 18, 2018

BCX Group Visits Trident Seafood
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On June 13, members of BCI’s data services (Jeffery Mitchell, Karlee Kirking, Liz Cady, Maclyn Curley), marketing (Alissa Chevallier, David McCaleb), and research (Jack Callahan) business units toured Trident Seafoods’ Pier 91 plant and innovation center.  In addition, the group met with representatives from Trident’s global sales, regulatory, and research and development teams to learn more about the company’s story, the successes it has had in international markets, and the challenges it faces with exporting a wide range of seafood products around the world. 

Across the board, the visit was eye-opening for BCI participants as it provided real-world context for the day-to-day work that goes into the firm’s BCGlobal portal (http://www.bcglobalportal.com/) and other regulatory intelligence, research, and marketing products.  This visit was arranged as part of the firm’s BCXplore (BCX) program, which supports leadership development and team building at BCI. 

Thanks to Trident Seafoods for hosting our group!

June 18, 2018

BCI Participates in San Francisco MRL Workshop

Company News June 18, 2018

BCI Participates in San Francisco MRL Workshop
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Five staff members from Bryant Christie Inc. attended the San Francisco Pesticide Maximum Residue Workshop on May 30 and 31.  The annual meeting brings together government regulators, registrants, agricultural groups, and companies to discuss one of the most challenging issues in international agriculture trade: harmonizing international pesticide residue standards so exports are not affected.      

BCI staff presented on the following topics:

  • President James Christie noted the importance of managing the challenges of international MRL issues and avoiding trade disruptions for agriculture. 
  • Vice President for Global Access, Matt Lantz, moderated the first morning and gave a presentation on early notification to changes in European MRL standards. 
  • Director for Data Services, Kimberly Berry, presented on effectively using BCI’s Global MRL Database host at www.globalmrl.com.

Alinne Oliveira, who just returned from MRL meetings in Brazil, and Ann Stevenson, who is heading to China in two weeks to discuss Chinese MRL policies, also attended the Workshop.

May 10, 2018

David McCaleb Speaks at Craft Brewers Conference

Company News May 10, 2018

David McCaleb Speaks at Craft Brewers Conference
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On April 30-May 3, Eric Rosenberg and David McCaleb attended the Craft Brewers Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. 

During the show, David participated on a panel discussion for the Brewers Association’s Export Development Program (EDP).  Along with representatives from Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, David spoke about international compliance issues and challenges when exporting beer. 

Nearly 150 brewers and importers attended the panel discussion, and their engagement demonstrated the growing interest in export opportunities among the U.S. craft brewing community. 

May 7, 2018

Tye Blazey speaks at the North American Meat Institute Summit

Company News May 7, 2018

Tye Blazey speaks at the North American Meat Institute Summit
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On April 18th, BCI's Director of Sales and Marketing presented at the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI) Annual Meeting.   This annual event brings together executives across the industry for educational programs on labor and employment issues, regulatory issues, and public affairs. 

The presentation was a part of the International Affairs Committee meeting and focused on the impact of veterinary drug residue levels on global trade.  Tye’s talk was followed by presentations from Gregg Doud, Chief Agriculture Negotiator, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and Ted McKinney, USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs. 

May 4, 2018

Photo shoot and recipe development for California olives

Company News May 4, 2018

Photo shoot and recipe development for California olives
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On May 3, BCI Marketing Business Unit members Sarah Gelpi Hooker and Catherine Nguyen attended the California Olive Committee (COC)’s international recipe photo shoot.  At the photo shoot, Sarah and Catherine witnessed the professional photography process that goes into creating every COC recipe photo. 

In addition, they learned more about the recipe development process from COC’s chef partner, who incorporated California ripe olives into Japanese and Chinese dishes.  Each COC recipe was created to enhance traditional flavors while highlighting the utility and versatility of California ripe olives. 

BCI works with the California Olive Committee on a range of international market development efforts to expand California ripe olive exports.

May 1, 2018

Matt Lantz Meets with Korean Government on MRL Issues

Company News May 1, 2018

Matt Lantz Meets with Korean Government on MRL Issues
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On April 16th, BCI's Vice President for Global Access met with officials from the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) to discuss the upcoming Korean transition to a positive pesticide maximum residue level (MRL) list on January 1, 2019.  Korea is the latest in a string of countries to establish a national list.

BCI is working on behalf of its clients to encourage the setting of MRLs at levels harmonized to US or international Codex standards to avoid potential trade disruptions.  While meeting with MFDS, Matt Lantz suggested several options to consider to ensure that trade is not affected by the upcoming change. The meeting was productive.  While in Korea, Matt also met with registrants to learn the latest on submissions to MFDS to set MRLs by the end of the year. 

 

Photo: Matt Lantz at the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in Korea.

 

May 1, 2018

BCI staff volunteer with IRC Women’s Empowerment Workshop

Company News May 1, 2018

BCI staff volunteer with IRC Women’s Empowerment Workshop
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On Saturday April 28, BCI-Sacramento staff Pam Araoz and Sarah Gelpi Hooker volunteered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) at a Women’s Empowerment workshop.  The IRC assists people across the globe who have been affected by various humanitarian crises, including conflict and natural disasters. 

At the workshop, Pam and Sarah assisted in providing financial literacy training to women recently resettled under Special Immigrant Visa status from Afghanistan and Iran.  This included reviewing U.S. currency (how to use coins and bills in their daily life) as well as how to assess their families’ needs vs. wants, and how to make a monthly budget.  These are important tools as they strive for self-sufficiency and to establish themselves here in the U.S.  More generally, these workshops serve the purpose of empowering women to engage themselves in their families’ affairs and to set goals for their lives (careers, learning English, etc.).

April 27, 2018

BCI Works to Increase Specialty Crop Imports in Tokyo

Company News April 27, 2018

BCI Works to Increase Specialty Crop Imports in Tokyo
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From April 15-21, 2018, James Christie, BCI President, and Sarah Gelpi Hooker, BCI Marketing Account Manager, traveled to Tokyo, Japan on behalf of the California Cherry Board (CCB) and California Blueberry Commission (CBC). 

The purpose of this visit was to meet with major importers of California cherries and blueberries, as well as key retailers, to discuss CCB and CBC’s joint California Grown promotions in Japan funded by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.  BCI is managing this initiative for the California cherry and blueberry industries with the goal of increasing exports to this important market.

 Pictured: James Christie, Sarah Gelpi, and Todd Sanders (Director of Trade and Technical Affairs, California Blueberry Commission)

April 16, 2018

BCI Staff Attend US-UK Trade Panel Discussion

Company News April 16, 2018

BCI Staff Attend US-UK Trade Panel Discussion
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On April 11, Alissa Chevallier and Dexter Leland of BCI's international marketing team attended a moderated Q&A discussion with UK Secretary of State, Liam Fox.  The event was hosted by the Washington Council on International Trade (WCIT) at the Columbia Tower in Seattle, Washington.  The discussion covered topics ranging from US-UK trade and investment, to free-trade agreement negotiations, to the future of Brexit, and other trade issues.

Attending events like these keeps BCI aware of the trade challenges and opportunities that are present in key foreign markets, and ultimately helps BCI increase the export success of its clients.

April 11, 2018

BCI Coauthors MRL Article in the British Food Journal

Company News April 11, 2018

BCI Coauthors MRL Article in the British Food Journal
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BCI's Vice President for Global Access, Matt Lantz, and former staffer, Alyse McConnell, joined three Canadian authors to publish a recent article in the British Food Journal entitled: "Declining Harmonization in Maximum Residue Levels for Pesticides."  The article appears in Vol. 120 Issue: 4, pp. 901-903. The article explores how pesticide maximum residue levels (MRLs) are being established at differing levels in countries around the world and the implications of that for food security and international trade.

The abstract for the article states:

Purpose

Maximum residual limits (MRLs) for pesticides are based on science. This is true both for MRLs devised by national governments and multilaterally through the Codex. Science-based Codex MRLs are internationally harmonized to facilitate trade. Since the 1990s, an increasing number of countries have devised national MRLs and eschewed those of the Codex. These differing national standards are becoming important barriers to trade. The purpose of this paper is to explore the ramifications of these diverging MRLs for food security, investigate the reasons for the rise of national standards, and explore the role of science in regulatory processes.

Design/methodolodogy/approach

The approach is an examination of the scientific basis for MRLs in the context of food safety  outcomes.

Findings

It finds that there is no improvement in food safety from the move to national MRLs, only a loss of the benefits of trade. As all countries, along with the Codex, claim that their MRLs are based on science, suggesting that there is a need for an examination of the role of science in the making of public policy.

Originality/value

This study identifies a potential risk to food security for food policy makers. Given future food security challenges and that pesticides are used almost universally in conventional agriculture, trade barriers based on divergent interpretations of science need to be addressed by food policy makers.

To purchase the article, please visit Emeraldinsight.com

April 11, 2018

BCI Visits Vietnam and Thailand on Market Development Effort

Company News April 11, 2018

BCI Visits Vietnam and Thailand on Market Development Effort
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BCI President James Christie visited Vietnam and Thailand in March to investigate market opportunities for U.S. agricultural exporters.  He was accompanied by a group of fresh fruit exporters from California.  The group met with importers and retailers along with U.S. government officials in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Bangkok. 

During meetings with the U.S. officials, James took the opportunity to discuss market access efforts in both countries for a number of BCI clients, and he explored opportunities for harmonization of maximum residue level (MRL) standards in the region.  Market opportunities abound in the region, particularly in Vietnam which has lower import tariffs than Thailand on most U.S. agricultural products.

Pictured from left to right:  James Christie - BCI;  Gerald Smith - USDA/FAS/Ho Chi Minh City;  Thanh Vo - USDA/FAS/Ho Chi Minh City; and Frances Lee who serves as a marketing representative for a number of U.S. agricultural products in the region.

April 2, 2018

BCI staff visit a California olive canning facility

Company News April 2, 2018

BCI staff visit a California olive canning facility
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Last week Sarah Gelpi Hooker and Catherine Nguyen, members of BCI’s marketing team, were invited to visit a California olive processing facility to observe their day-to-day operations.

Along with California Olive Committee (COC) representatives and other COC consultants, BCI staff watched as olives were sorted, processed, and then packaged into a final product. Through this visit, BCI staff gained valuable insight into the California ripe olive industry and their processing techniques. On behalf of the industry, BCI works with COC on its international marketing program to expand exports of California olives around the globe.  

March 19, 2018

BCI Welcomes Catherine Nguyen

Company News March 19, 2018

BCI Welcomes Catherine Nguyen
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Catherine Nguyen joined BCI in January 2018 as an international marketing assistant.  Catherine supports the firm’s account managers with grant writing and reporting duties pertaining to USDA export assistance programs, project planning and implementation, as well as financial management tasks. 

Prior to BCI, Catherine worked as a research specialist for Real Capital Analytics, sifting through commercial real estate data to compose comprehensive case histories, as well as identifying crucial financing information for an internal database. Catherine has also worked as a remote fundraising coordinator for ETIV do Brasil, and has experience in applying for philanthropic grants geared towards environmental conservation initiatives.

In 2015, Catherine graduated from the University of California, Davis with a B.A. in International Relations in addition to minors in German, International Agricultural Development, and Sustainability. She is fluent in Vietnamese, proficient in German, and is currently studying Brazilian Portuguese.

March 13, 2018

Matt Lantz Attends EU Minor Uses Coordination Meeting in Brussels

Company News March 13, 2018

Matt Lantz Attends EU Minor Uses Coordination Meeting in Brussels
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On March 13, Matt Lantz, Vice President for BCI Global Access participated in the European Minor Use Coordination Meeting in Brussels on behalf of the US hop industry. The goal of this group is to obtain additional crop protection options for European farmers. Matt is one of two American members of this organization.  

The US and European hop industries are coordinated in their crop protection needs, so the meeting provides a strong forum for sharing information and cooperating on international trade issues associated with pesticide Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs).

Photo:  EU Commodity Expert Working Group on Hops

March 2, 2018

Michael Shumyater Attends Fraud Prevention Workshop

Company News March 2, 2018

Michael Shumyater Attends Fraud Prevention Workshop
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On Wednesday, February 28, 2018, BCI Finance Manager Michael Shumyater attended an all-day Fraud Prevention Workshop organized by the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA). The main presenters were attorneys Katherine Heekin and Joe Hobson, who have worked with WUSATA and USDA export assistance grant programs for many years. Alongside presenters from WUSATA, they discussed different types of fraud, how to prevent it, and tips from the “Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse” which is prepared every other year by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.  

As BCI’s lead on financial management and compliance, Michael’s participation in workshops like this ensure that our firm remains on the cutting edge of financial and compliance issues and is able to best serve its clients that receive funding from the Market Access Program and other USDA grants.

February 28, 2018

Matt Lantz at the WTO in Geneva

Company News February 28, 2018

Matt Lantz at the WTO in Geneva
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On February 24 and 25, Matt Lantz, BCI's Vice President for Global Access, traveled to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva to participate in a workshop on missing Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) in international agriculture trade.  Government and industry officials from 17 countries came together to assess options for establishing and harmonizing MRLs among trading partner to facilitate agriculture exports. 

Photo:   Matt Lantz with officials from Peru, Kenya, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Uganda, and Canada. 

February 15, 2018

BCI staff conduct market assessments in Southeast Asia

Company News February 15, 2018

BCI staff conduct market assessments in Southeast Asia
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From January 4-20, BCI’s Director of Research Julie Cerenzia and Research Project Manager Hans Stroo traveled to six Southeast Asian countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam – to conduct market assessments for the U.S. Dry Bean Council (USDBC) and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council (USADPLC).  The team conducted multiple supermarket visits and almost 50 interviews that will help validate activities proposed for support by the USDA Emerging Markets Program. 

 

Photo:  Julie Cerenzia and Hans Stroo meet with Chef Vindex Tengker, Vice President of Garuda International Airlines, and Ms. Pornnicha Sathujarun of Agrisource Co. Ltd., regional representative of USDBC and USADPLC.

 
February 13, 2018

BCI volunteers with Dress for Success

Company News February 13, 2018

BCI volunteers with Dress for Success
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Earlier this month, several BCI staff members teamed up for a volunteer opportunity at Dress for Success Seattle

Staff spent an afternoon organizing clothing racks and pulling together ensembles which were photographed for promotional purposes, as well as sorting shoes for the "closet" that stylists pull from when outfitting their clients for professional interviews. Staff also took product shots which are now being posted to the Dress for Success Facebook page to promote their March sale – one of the funding streams which supports their program in Seattle.

Dress for Success is a non-profit organization that provides women in need with professional workplace attire. They have locations all over the globe, including an operation out of the YWCA in downtown Seattle.

 


Shown at top from left to right: Karlee Kirking, Alinne Oliveira, Dexter Leland, Heather Daveno, Ann Stevenson and Maclyn Curley.

Photos at left are courtesy of Ann Stevenson.


 


February 13, 2018

Bryant Christie Inc. meets with major Canadian retailers to promote California fruits

Company News February 13, 2018

Bryant Christie Inc. meets with major Canadian retailers to promote California fruits
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On January 16-19, Will Callis, a member of the Bryant Christie Inc. (BCI) marketing team, visited Toronto and Montreal, Canada to organize promotions of California cherries and pears for the upcoming harvest.  Will met with the produce category managers at Loblaws, Sobeys, and Metro on behalf of the California Cherry Board and the California Pear Advisory Board.  During the meetings, Will discussed the promotional opportunities for both commodities with these major grocery retailers.  Canada is a strategically crucial market for both California cherries and pears, and the goal of this visit was to ensure that both industries secure strong promotional campaigns during the upcoming year.

As Bryant Christie celebrates its twenty-fifth year in business, we would like to extend a special thanks to the California cherry and pear industries, which have partnered with Bryant Christie for over twenty years.

Photos courtesy of the California Cherry Board and the California Pear Advisory Board.


February 12, 2018

Jack Callahan Joins BCI

Company News February 12, 2018

Jack Callahan Joins BCI
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Jack Callahan joined Bryant Christie Inc.’s Seattle office in January 2018 as a member of the firm’s research and evaluation team.  Jack contributes to the maintenance of BCI’s customized trade regulation databases, is helping implement database improvements, and also provides research and analysis in support of ad hoc research projects for clients.

Jack graduated from the University of Washington and Jackson School of International Studies with degrees in International Studies and Political Science. As an undergraduate, Jack worked as a Research Fellow with the Global Intelligence team at AS Solutions, helping provide long-term strategic intelligence and analysis to the Global Security team at Microsoft, and conducted data analysis for logistics firm, Expeditors International.

February 5, 2018

BCI welcomes Ben Britz

Company News February 5, 2018

BCI welcomes Ben Britz
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Ben Britz joined Bryant Christie Inc. in January 2018 as a Web Application Developer on the Technology Service team.  Ben works on building new products and features for the BCGlobal platform, which covers pesticide, veterinary drug, and food additive regulations.  His responsibilities include front-end and middle-tier development, as well as UX/UI graphic design.

Prior to joining BCI, Ben worked as a front-end developer for 14Four, a web development and digital marketing company located in Spokane WA.  While there he specialized in bridging the gap between digital graphics and the Web, working on several initiatives for organizations such as Coca-Cola, State Farm, Frito-Lay, and Toyota.  He also led 14Four’s internship, community outreach, and convention panel planning programs.

Ben is a graduate from Eastern Washington University with a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication Design.

January 30, 2018

Bill Bryant Offers Guest Comments in Good Fruit Grower Magazine - Troubling Signs on Trade

Company News January 30, 2018

Bill Bryant Offers Guest Comments in Good Fruit Grower Magazine -  Troubling Signs on Trade
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BCI Chairman Bill Bryant writes about trade issues to watch for in 2018 and how they could impact the U.S. apple industry.  A copy of the article from the Good Fruit Grower January 2018 may be found at this link
January 5, 2018

Specialty Crop Block Program now accepting proposals for Washington State

Company News January 5, 2018

Specialty Crop Block Program now accepting proposals for Washington State
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The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has announced the beginning of the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) application process for 2018.  There will be around $4.1 million available in total SCBGP grant funds, which will be allocated in ranges of $25,000 to $250,000 to chosen projects.  Initial concept proposals are due on February 5, 2018, after which full proposals for selected projects will be due on March 19.

Those eligible to apply include non-profit and for-profit organizations, public and private universities, and government organizations at the local, state, and federal level.  Although the program WSDA administers is Washington State-specific, applicants from outside the state are eligible to apply so long as their proposed project will benefit the specialty crop growers of Washington.  Grant funds may be used for a range of purposes including research, technological innovation, training and education, and marketing.  Specialty crops are defined in the Farm Bill as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops.  If you are uncertain whether your product is a specialty crop, you can find a list of them here.

Bryant Christie Inc. has successfully assisted a range of clients with SCBGP applications and program implementation in the past.  BCI has previously worked on SCBGP projects related to industries including wine, hops, pistachios, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and canned fruits.  If you would like to learn more about how BCI can assist you with the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, please contact us at (206) 292-6340 or at bci@bryantchristie.com.

December 6, 2017

Matt Lantz Participates in US-China Agriculture Negotiations

Company News December 6, 2017

Matt Lantz Participates in US-China Agriculture Negotiations
Matt Lantz, traveled to Sanya, Hainan Island, China to participate in the 25th US-China Plant Health Negotiations.

 

From December 3-6, BCI's Vice President for Global Access, Matt Lantz, traveled to Sanya, Hainan Island, China to participate in the 25th US-China Plant Health Negotiations. These talks bring USDA's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service members together with their Chinese counterparts, AQSIQ, to discuss opening each other's markets for new fresh products. Discussions are based on quarantine concerns and proposed mitigation measures.  

Matt traveled to Sanya representing several fruit and vegetable commodities seeking market access to China. This is the 12th such US-China bilateral talks in which Matt has participated.  

Photo:  Matt Lantz with AQSIQ officials at 25th US-China Bilateral Plant Health Negotiations.

December 5, 2017

Alissa Chevallier

Company News December 5, 2017

Alissa Chevallier
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Alissa Chevallier joined Bryant Christie in November of 2017 as a member of the firm’s international marketing group. Alissa participates in the writing and administration of grants related to the United States Department of Agriculture export assistance programs. She also works with clients to implement their organization’s promotional activities. Her responsibilities also include strategic planning, project management, and financial management.

Prior to joining BCI, Alissa studied and worked in the wine industry in France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, and Chile. She worked in production and marketing in small and large wineries, and conducted scientific research on the chemical composition of wine. 

Alissa graduated with honors from Haverford College, with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry.  She holds a Master of Science in Wine Marketing, Viticulture, and Enology from the Ecole Superieure d’Agriculture in Angers, France.  In addition, she has a Master of Philosophy in the History of Science from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom.  She is fluent in French and proficient in Spanish.

November 30, 2017

Dr. SaMi Lee from Korea Visits BCI

Company News November 30, 2017

Dr. SaMi Lee from Korea Visits BCI
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On November 30, 2017, Dr. SaMi Lee, Bayer CropScience's Asia-Pacific Trade Flow and Regulatory Policy Manager visited Bryant Christie Inc.'s Seattle offices to discuss pesticide regulatory issues throughout the Asia Pacific region. 

Dr. Lee is an expert on the current Korean government transition to a positive maximum residue level (MRL) system, which is scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2019.   She is also working on crop protection and MRL issues throughout the region.  

BCI and Dr. Lee discussed Bayer Crop Protection products in Korea during the transition and MRL policies in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, India and throughout Southeast Asia.

November 30, 2017

Alinne Oliveira Joins BCI

Company News November 30, 2017

Alinne Oliveira Joins BCI
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Alinne B. Oliveira joined Bryant Christie Inc. in November 2017 as a Trade Policy Specialist. As part of the Global Access team, she works to open foreign markets for U.S. agricultural commodities, monitors trade policy issues, and supports BCI’s MRL monitoring systems.

Prior to joining BCI, Alinne served as Head of the International Relations department for the Brazilian Confederation of Agriculture and Livestock (CNA), an organization that represents over two million farmers in Brazil. At CNA, she was responsible for advising the president on international and trade policy matters, developing advocacy strategies, and leading the work of seven international specialists as well as offices in Brussels and Beijing.  She also worked as International Negotiations Specialist for the Brazilian National Confederation of Industry (CNI), and for the Brazil Industries Coalition, in Washington D.C., as a registered lobbyist representing the Brazilian private sector interests in the United States. She has experience volunteering and working in multiple countries and cultures.

Alinne is a Project Management Professional (PMP), earned a Master’s in Latin American Studies from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, an executive certificate in Mastering Trade Policy from Harvard University, and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Central Florida.

November 3, 2017

BCI attends 68th annual PMA Fresh Summit Convention & Expo

Company News November 3, 2017

BCI attends 68th annual PMA Fresh Summit Convention & Expo
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On October 19-21, James Christie and Sarah Gelpi Hooker attended the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Fresh Summit Convention and Expo in New Orleans, Louisiana.  At this event, BCI met with international attendees, industry associations, and in-country representatives on behalf of clients and discussed current global marketing trends and plans for the coming year.

Attended by over 19,000 industry professionals representing over 60 countries, the annual PMA Fresh Summit convention is the largest trade show of its kind in the United States.  Each year, industry professionals gather at this event to introduce new products and meet with experts, leaders and decision makers from every link of the supply chain. 

In 2018, the PMA Fresh Summit will be held in Orlando, Florida from October 18-20.

November 3, 2017

BCI leads China and India reverse trade mission during the Wisconsin cranberry harvest

Company News November 3, 2017

BCI leads China and India reverse trade mission during the Wisconsin cranberry harvest
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From October 25-28, BCI International Marketing Account Managers Alyson Segawa and Sarah Gelpi Hooker hosted a delegation of Chinese and Indian media and trade on a reverse trade mission on behalf of the Cranberry Marketing Committee.  The primary objectives of this trade mission were to highlight the versatility and health benefits of U.S. cranberries, as well as to provide Chinese and Indian trade and media with a firsthand look at the Wisconsin cranberry harvest and processing facilities. 

Attendees were given presentations on the U.S. cranberry industry and cranberry health benefits and were able to wade in a cranberry marsh during an industry facility visit.  The event received positive coverage from Wisconsin media on television (WKBT and WXOW) as well as online (Wisconsin Ag Connection and  Wisconsin State Farmer).

October 23, 2017

Matt Lantz Meets with European Officials on MRLs

Company News October 23, 2017

Matt Lantz Meets with European Officials on MRLs
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Matt Lantz, BCI's Vice President for Global Access, met with officials from the European Commission, the European Food Safety Authority, the US Mission to the European Union, and with Bayer Crop Science to discuss the most recent European Union policies on crop protection products and how they might affect exports of US commodities to the EU. The EU is undertaking substantial changes to its pesticide regulatory policies that differ greatly from US standards, which may restrict the ability of crops to access the European market.   Meetings were held in Brussels, Belgium and Monheim, Germany. 

While in Brussels, Matt participated in a two day conference on maximum residue levels (MRLs) sponsored by the European Crop Protection Association.  BCI manages GlobalMRL.com, which maintains the MRL information for over 100 markets.  Bryant Christie Inc. will continue to work with the US government, registrants, and commodity groups to ensure that products exported to the EU are safe for EU consumers and that trade is not affected by differing regulatory systems.

Photo:  Matt Lantz with officials from the Minor Crop Farmers Alliance at Bayer CropScience in Monheim, Germany.

October 16, 2017

USDA Announces Value-Added Producer Grant for 2017-18

Company News October 16, 2017

USDA Announces Value-Added Producer Grant for 2017-18
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On August 29, the USDA officially announced that applications are being accepted for the Value-Added Producer Grant (VAPG) for 2017-18.  This year’s program has approximately $18 million in funding available to independent agricultural producers and producer cooperatives.  Deadlines for submission are January 31, 2018 for paper applications, and January 24, 2018 for online applications.

The VAPG program is designed to assist independent farmers, ranchers, and producer-based businesses in activities related to the marketing, development, and processing of value-added agricultural products.  Grants will be awarded for projects in either planning or working capital capacities, in increments of up to $75,000 and $250,000, respectively.

Bryant Christie Inc. has successfully assisted a range of clients with VAPG applications and program implementation in the past.  Some examples of VAPG projects that BCI has previously worked on include the international promotion of wine, hops, cranberries, dairy products, and canned fruits.  If you would like to learn more about how BCI can assist you with the Value-Added Producer Grant, please contact us at (206) 292-6340 or at bci@bryantchristie.com.

October 16, 2017

BCI Attends Global Minor Use Summit 3

Company News October 16, 2017

BCI Attends Global Minor Use Summit 3
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In early October, Bryant Christie Inc. staff members Matt Lantz, Kimberly Berry, and Ann Stevenson attended the third Global Minor Use Summit in Montreal, Canada. This meeting occurs once every five years to discuss how crop protection products can be more broadly available to growers of specialty crops around the world.

Participants from over 30 countries participated in the meeting. Matt, Kimberly, and Ann met with foreign government officials, registrants, and grower groups, and also made presentations and ran break out groups. There was significant discussion of BCI's GlobalMRL database and making it more widely available to the developing world.

September 20, 2017

BCI Staffers Co-Author Book on International Pesticide Regulation

Company News, Global MRL News September 20, 2017

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This month saw the publication of a book coauthored by Bryant Christie Inc.’s Vice President for Global Access Matt Lantz and former staffer Alyse McConnell. Declining International Cooperation on Pesticide Regulation; Frittering Away Food Security is one of few books published concerning the challenges to international agricultural trade posed by differing international pesticide Maximum Residue Level (MRL) standards. 

Differing MRL standards have been an increasing problem for the last decade as more and more countries have developed their own unique pesticide regulations with standards that are not harmonized at international levels or with those of trading partners. The result is a variety of MRLs, causing food that is perfectly legal in its country of origin to be rejected upon arrival in an export market due to differing or missing standards. The cost to shippers and industry reputations can be enormous. 

The book provides background on this issue, outlines how serious the problem is, reviews how different countries address international MRL issues, and proposes options for minimizing negative effects on trade while providing for consumer safety.

The book is published by the Palgrave Studies in Agriculture Economics and Food Policy and can be purchased at: https://www.palgrave.com/la/book/9783319605517

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