Tuesday, August 06, 2013


TRADE:   The bill introduced to extend GSP was not approved.  As of Aug 1, GSP-eligible goods are no longer duty free.  Items affected include pickles, baby corn, pepperoncini and capers. There is still hope that a retroactive extension will be passed at a later date.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule defining and setting conditions on the voluntary use of the term “gluten-free.”  This rule will be applicable to both imported and domestically produced foods once effective Aug 5, 2014.  In addition to other requirements, the regulation sets a threshold for gluten of less than 20 parts per million in foods that are labeled "gluten-free," “no gluten,” “free of gluten,” and “without gluten.”

A port strike in Naples which began July 22nd finally ended on July 31st.  Here in the U.S., severe congestion continues throughout the NY/NJ Port.  The situation has been ongoing since early June when Maher Terminals encountered problems with a new terminal operating system.   Truckers are arriving as early as 4:00 AM and waiting as long as 12 hours to pick up from the pier.  Delays have made it difficult to remove import loads before free-time expires and demurrage charges begin. 

Some overseas firms are closed for Ramadan holiday from August 5-10.

CURRENCY: euro/dollar relatively steady at the moment.

PEACHES:  The figures from Greece are not promising;  Greek fruit crop will be down more than 50% compared to last year.  Canned fruit production is expected to be 41% lower.  Raw material price is up 32% compared to last year.

TOMATOES:  Italian tomato crop is set to begin this week (around Aug 8th); it is still believed that the crop will come in about 30% shorter than last year.  

ARTICHOKES:  Peru is set to begin their crop and initial opening prices are higher than the current market in Spanish.   Claiming higher productions costs as a reason, the Peruvians are nevertheless having a hard time concluding bookings.  Time will tell at what level the market settles.