FPAA Spring Policy Summit Returns

TUBAC, AZ —  The Spring Policy Summit, which for years has brought regulators and industry to identify practical, goal-oriented outcomes for key issues facing the fresh produce industry at the Southwest border, is back.

Cancelled last year due to the government shutdown, the Spring Policy summit returns March 24 this year to Tubac, Ariz., offering a sunny break from winter weather for attendees, and the chance to make an impact on issues that impact your business.

“First and foremost on everyone’s mind today is the USMCA, and we are bringing in experts from Washington, DC, to talk about the changes,” said FPAA President Lance Jungmeyer. “But there are many other issues on the table, from how to handle increased tomato inspections to the potential for 100% scans of commercial cargo by Customs. The border is ever-changing, and we have to keep importers up with new developments.”

The event is March 24, 2020, in Tubac, Ariz., at the Tubac Resort. Find more details here: https://www.freshfrommexico.com/event/spring-policy-summit-2020/

Following is the agenda:

LOCATION: Tubac Resort, Tubac, Ariz.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Executive Summary: The 2020 FPAA Spring Policy Summit will feature interactive sessions designed to bring together regulators and industry to identify practical, goal-oriented outcomes for key issues facing the fresh produce industry at the Southwest border.

9:30 am. Welcoming Remarks and President’s Introduction – Lance Jungmeyer, FPAA President

9:35 am -10:30 am. OPENING SESSION: USMCA, WTO and trade – The new U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement promises to bring some improvements to the trading environment. These include improved cooperation in customs and food safety between the three nations and industry, as well as provisions for labor, the environment and more. Hear from experts at FDA, Customs & Border Protection, and others about the changes that will impact the industry. In addition to USMCA, there are changes at the World Trade Organization that will impact how trade disputes are handled.

10:30 am -11:15 am. Focus on Mexico Farm Labor – One of the key provisions of USMCA is in labor enforcement. In a report for the Wilson Center, entitled “Farm Labor and Mexico’s Export Produce Industry,” researchers visited Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Baja California and Sinaloa. The report found that Mexico’s export-oriented agriculture has a significant positive impact on wages, worker education, family resources such as childcare, and migration stability. The report also looks to the future and how these significant programs can further benefit Mexico’s workforce.   Hear from Chris Wilson, Deputy Director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute (INVITED).

11:15 am -12:00 pm.  Trends and Data of Trade with Mexico: Join the FPAA as we highlight some of the key trends on trade and fresh produce.  We take a deep dive into the data that illuminates the importance of trade for U.S. companies and consumers. 

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm.  NETWORKING LUNCHEON: Step outside to the patio for a delicious carne asada luncheon, exhibits and networking.

1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. BREAKOUT TRACKS – Geronimo Room

1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. REGULATORY BREAKOUT TRACK: Inspections play a crucial role at the border. Some have been long-required, and some are new, such as for tomatoes. This breakout track features sessions designed around several inspections.

  • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm.  DOUBLE TIME INSPECTIONS-  With the April 1 start of USDA tomato inspections, the percentage of Mexican produce requiring USDA quality inspections will rise from about 15% a year to as high as 30%. Items like grapes, citrus, onions and more already require USDA quality inspections. How will regulators balance their workflow with the logistical challenge of seasonal changes in product mix?  Hear from USDA and state agencies in Arizona, Texas and California as they get ready to fully implement the inspections.  Come prepared to learn and offer your feedback about how to ensure the inspections are implemented efficiently and with minimal added costs.
  • 2:00 pm – 2:40 pm. PLANT DISEASE – USDA/APHIS has been developing a risk analysis for imported fruit and Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus. Inspections have disrupted supply chains. What steps can industry and regulators take together?
  • 2:40 pm – 3:30 pm. FOOD SAFETY – With the Food Safety Modernization Act implemented, how is FDA is working along the border to monitor food safety, while also relying on importers to verify that foreign suppliers are following the Produce Safety Rule?  What are FDA programs for ongoing outreach and education with foreign partners?  Hear about new developments in enforcement and training from the experts at FDA.

1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. TRADE, TRANSPORTATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE BREAKOUT TRACK: In moving $14 billion in Mexican produce across the Southwest border, it is key to understand the coming developments in trade flows, infrastructure improvements. This session brings together experts in these subjects.

  • 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm. TRADE FLOWS – Arizona has completed its Trade Flow Study. Mark Sanders from ADOT will share the details.
  • 1:30 pm – 2:00 pm. FLYOVER COUNTRY – Nogales is due for a $135 million highway “flyover” project that will speed delivery times more than 10 minutes per truck, resulting in huge systems efficiencies. Hear from experts at the Arizona Department of Transportation.
  • 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm. IT’S GETTING COLD IN THERE – The FPAA, along with local partners and the state, are installing a cold inspection facility at the border. This facility promises to bring new items like berries, and to expand the importing season for many items. What do all these improvements mean for future growth? Panel Moderated by FPAA’s Georgina Felix.
  • 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm. NON-INTRUSIVE INSPECTIONS – As technology gets better and faster, and as Customs and Border Protection (CBP) works with industry to enhance enforcement at the border, talk returns to 100% non-intrusive inspections of cargo imported at the Southwest Border. There are even bills in Congress looking at this issue. Hear from CBP experts on the future on NII programs at our ports of entry. 
  • 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm. GOOD TO BE BLU – Trucking safety continues to improve as a result of Arizona’s innovative Border Liaison Unit (BLU), which combines technology with good old-fashioned pragmatism to create a safer, more compliant border trucking industry.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. CLOSING RECEPTION – A chance to network with attendees and extend the day’s conversations.

About the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas:

Founded in 1944, the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas (FPAA) is a nonprofit trade association headquartered in Nogales, Arizona, that represents over 120 U.S. member companies involved in importing and marketing fresh fruits and vegetables grown in Mexico and distributed across North America and the world.