Katrina hurts sugar refining

Hurricane Katrina made an already tight US sugar market even tighter. In response, USDA is increasing domestic marketing allotments and has allowed early entry of some imports scheduled for the new fiscal year. USDA increased the FY05 overall allotment quantity for domestic supplies by 225,000 short tons, raw value. It also allowed early entry for FY06 refined sugar imports beginning in early September instead of the traditional October 1 start date. The devastation to Louisiana hit the domestic sugar industry hard. Two major refineries had to shut down.

More access to global markets?

For US manufacturers seeking a greater share of global trade, The Trade Rights Enforcement Act may be as important as the recently passed Central American Free Trade Agreement. The measure has been passed by the House but awaits Senate approval.

"This bill gives US companies the tools to offset unfair subsidies that benefit competitors in China and other nations," said John Engler, president of the National Association of Manufacturers. "This bill ensures that Americans have rights guaranteed under World Trade Organization rules."

The measure could increase US manufacturers' access to markets in China and with other trading partners.

HACCP rules for smaller plants under review

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is reviewing comments regarding the financial impact of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations on small and very small plants. FSIS is conducting a review of the regulations established by the pathogen reduction/HACCP final rule under Section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act. These provisions require Federal agencies to review existing regulations that have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities to determine whether the impact can be minimized.

Small plants are defined as having between 10 and 499 employees or more than $2.5 million in annual sales. Very small plants have fewer than 10 employees or less than $2.5 million in annual sales.