EU, Mercosur approach a deal on sidelines of WTO meeting

(Adds comments from Brazil Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes,
recasts first paragraph)

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Trade talks between the
European Union and South America's Mercosur bloc are approaching
agreement on a deal on the sidelines of the World Trade
Organization ministerial conference in Buenos Aires, negotiators
from both sides said on Tuesday.

The deal could come early in the new year, European Trade
Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom told reporters.

Brazil says near resuming beef exports to United States

BRASÍLIA, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Brazil's Agriculture Minister
Blairo Maggi on Tuesday said the country will resume 'very soon'
beef exports to the United States, breaking a ban implemented in
June after U.S. officials said quality problems were found in
some shipments.

Maggi said resumption of beef exports could happen as soon
as early next year, but did not elaborate.
(Reporting by Ricardo Brito
Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

White House to host fresh biofuels talks to help refiners -sources

Dec 12 (Reuters) - The White House will host talks between
the rival oil and ethanol industries on Wednesday in hopes of
brokering a deal to help refiners struggling to meet the
country's biofuels policy, according to sources familiar with
the matter.

The meeting comes after the White House last week pressured
Midwest lawmakers to take part in talks over possible tweaks to
the Renewable Fuels Standard, a law that requires refiners to
blend increasing amounts of biofuels, mainly corn-based ethanol,
into the nation's fuel supply each year.

Weekend rains seen relieving parched Argentine soy and corn areas

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Rains expected this weekend
in Argentina's main soy and corn growing areas will provide some
relief to drought-stricken areas in the country's central farm
belt, holding out hope that crop losses may yet be minimal,
meteorologists said on Tuesday.

UPDATE 1-U.S. soybean, wheat ending stocks up as exports fall -USDA

(Recasts; adds market reaction, adds quote)

By Mark Weinraub

WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Stockpiles of U.S. soybeans
and wheat are expected to rise due to lower export demand amid
heightened competition from rival global suppliers, government
data on Tuesday showed.

UPDATE 1-U.S. sugar production forecast to hit record in 2017-18 -USDA

(Adds details, milestone, link)
NEW YORK, Dec 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of
Agriculture (USDA) forecast domestic sugar production to hit a
record in the current 2017-18 crop year as beet supplies swell,
reducing the need for imports from top international supplier
Mexico.
The USDA slightly increased the closely-watched
stocks-to-use ratio to 14.3 from last month's 14.1, but it was
down from 14.8 in the previous marketing year.
The agency also projected U.S. beet and cane production to

UPDATE 1-EU, US, Japan to slam WTO countries flooding global markets

(Adds background on Chinese trade practices, U.S. trade policy
stance, quote from Malmstrom)

By Eliana Raszewski and Luc Cohen

BUENOS AIRES, Dec 12 (Reuters) - The European Union, United
States and Japan will issue a joint statement on Tuesday
criticizing countries with too much factory capacity, though it
will not directly name China, a major source of concern, EU
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said.

U.S. soybean, wheat ending stocks up as exports fall -USDA

By Mark Weinraub

WASHINGTON, Dec 12 (Reuters) - The U.S. Agriculture
Department on Tuesday raised its ending stocks forecast for
domestic wheat and soybeans due to dwindling export demand for
U.S. supplies.

The government also trimmed its supply view for corn due to
rising usage from the ethanol sector.

Thriving French organic food market needs domestic supply boost -study

PARIS, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Farmers need to boost organic food
production in France to meet fast-growing demand or consumers
will turn to imports at the expense of some environmental
benefits, credit insurer Coface said on Tuesday.

Organic food sales are expected to reach 8 billion euros
($9.4 billion) in 2017, up 14 percent on last year, and the pace
of growth should continue at 10-15 percent for the foreseeable
future, it said.

Brazil beefs up agribusiness governance after meatpacker scandal

BRASILIA, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Brazil's Ministry of
Agriculture launched a program on Tuesday to ensure farmers
comply with anti-corruption, environmental and child labor
laws, after a highly publicized meatpacking scandal raised
doubts about the country's food products.

The program set up by the ministry and the farm lobby CNA
will grant an agricultural seal of integrity to companies that
comply.

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