Volume VI | Issue XII | December 21, 2020

USDBC wishes you a safe and relaxing holiday season, we look forward to seeing you in 2021!
Bean Bulletin
We are thrilled to announce that registration is officially open and it’s time to register for BeanCon21. We still have a few months to go but the agenda is finalized, panels are set, speakers are in place and it’s time to sign up. BeanCon 21 is a one-stop-shop for all things dry beans combining innovative sessions on future trends, harvest and quality updates, live chef demos, and one-on-one business networking sessions, all in a virtual setting. Among other topics you will hear about; why beans are the next big thing, the U.S. dry bean value proposition, innovation and trends from around the world, and global culinary inspiration. BeanCon21 will take place in three-hour blocks over the course of three days between March 2 - 4, 2021 in Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East/Africa and March 3 – 5, 2021 in Asia. Days 1 and 2 will feature the one on one meetings that participants will be able to sign up for to conduct private business sessions.
Over the next weeks and months, we will continue to provide a sneak peek into our speaker line up but suffice to say, we have assembled a global cross-section of bean innovators, businesses, chefs, dietitians, think tanks, and industry experts that you do not want to miss. We are also incredibly grateful to all of our sponsors and want to say a special thanks to the Nebraska Dry Bean Commission as our Platinum sponsor. 
2021 is going to be an exciting year and we are here for it!!! 
Sign up for BeanCon21 here: http://www.beancon21.com

USDBC Outlines Priorities for
Incoming Administration
Similar to the Presidential transition of 2016, over the past weeks USDBC has begun to outline policy priorities for the incoming Biden Administration. In early December we provided a one-page briefer for the Biden transition team together with our colleagues in the Food & Agricultural Dialogue For Trade coalition. Among other policy priorities, we outlined the importance of resolving the ongoing trade dispute and retaliatory tariffs with the EU, the importance of a trade agreement with the UK, and insisting on sound science in global import policy including reasonable tolerances (MRLs) for pesticides and herbicides. Last week we also signed off on a letter to the transition team on recommendations for U.S./Cuba policy together with the U.S. Agricultural Coalition for Cuba. Among other aspects, our recommendations focused on normalization of trade relations to Cuba and easing of travel restrictions back to 2017 levels, allowing for U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba. Now that several relevant Cabinet nominations have taken place, we will turn our attention to department-specific transition teams. Our goal is to get our priorities across early on so we can continue to follow up once appointments are confirmed and in place. If you would like to see a copy of either letter, please reach out.  
VIETNAM Report Looks at Challenges with MRLs
A report commissioned by USDBC looks at the critical challenge we are facing in the coming year and beyond as many of our most important trade partners look to impose restrictive policies on the import of crop protection products such as pesticides and herbicides. This initial report focused on Vietnam and presents recommendations that apply to many other export markets. While at this time, these restrictions apply mostly to the import of the product itself, such as glyphosate, or the use of that product for domestic agricultural production, we are beginning to see that spillover and threaten the import of agricultural products as well. Many of our trade partners are beginning to veer away from the tolerances (MRLs) established in Codex and are looking to apply zero or very low tolerances for different products, that we may not be able to meet. This could result in a massive disruption to global trade and to our ability to export to many markets. As a result this issue will be a critical area of focus and expanded research in 2021.

While still a relatively small export market for U.S. dry beans, Vietnam is important as it is a strong target market that holds great interest and potential for export growth. It is also a market that has been heavily influenced by EU trade standards, and consumer advocacy groups. EU standards are increasingly restrictive as they look to export the Farm to Fork policy with regards to pesticides and herbicide tolerances. Consumer advocacy groups and NGOs do not include the agricultural sector and rarely make recommendations based on sound science. There is a clear need for greater U.S. agricultural private and public sector involvement in this debate as we move forward to ensure adherence to sound science with regards to MRL development. This is the first step in our work and we intend to expand in 2021. The full report will be posted on our members-only webpage.

Example of an English language ad
published by consumer groups in Vietnam.
Chef Competitions in the Americas
Bean Versatility and Creativity
Over the last month, USDBC ran two concurrent Chef competitions through our Todo Con Frijol (Beans With Everything) program in the Americas. The contests generated an incredible range of creative recipes with beans but in the end, we had to choose a winner for each one. In Colombia, the winner of our “make it healthy with beans” competition, Sara Alonso (@cocinaconsarri), presented us with a delicious take on ceviche with her chicken and bean ceviche.

In Central America, the winner of our Super Chef contest was Johanna Sanchez (@johannasanchezhernandez) who knocked it out of the park with her black bean flour hamburger bun. These competitions generate a high level of interest and are an excellent and innovative way to promote U.S. dry beans throughout the Americas. Check out our Instagram @todoconfrijol to see the creativity of our Americas staff in promoting U.S. dry beans.


February 21 - 25, 2021

March 2 - 4, 2021/March 3 - 5, 2021 (Virtual Event)

We will update this list continually and hope to see in person travel resume in spring 2021.