**The European Union’s new trade chief will visit Washington D.C. next week in a bid to repair relations frayed by U.S. measures against imports from the EU.

Agweb.com reports, Phil Hogan will meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to discuss disputes including an American threat to hit $2.4 billion of French goods with tariffs in retaliation over a digital-services tax.

**2020 starts on an optimistic note for agriculture.

According to agriculture.com, the soybean market may have the most positive outlook going forward, as the Chinese Trade agreement “Phase 1” is pretty much everything agriculture needs. But, things are likely to even get better in 2020 for agriculture, and that momentum will probably build over the next few years.

2019 was a difficult year for many in agriculture, as the Chinese-U.S. trade feud continued and left U.S. commodity prices at the bottom of the historic price range all year.

**Wenatchee-based Starr Ranch Growers has new sustainable packaging for organic apples.

The company is starting a trial with a carton for organic fujis, with plans to extend the packaging for all organic apples.

Star Ranch business development director, Dan Davis tells thepacker.com, the corrugated packaging replaces plastic clamshells. The initial package is an 8-count in a pulp tray, with nine in a master carton.

The new box design maximizes product visibility while protecting the fruit.

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