For the Week Ending August 23, 2019

August 23, 2019

NPPC WINS COURT DECISION AGAINST HSUS ATTACK ON ANIMAL AGRICULTURE

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of NPPC in its appeal to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The court’s decision upholds the National Pork Board’s 2006 federally approved purchase from NPPC of trademarks associated with the organization’s “Pork: The Other White Meat” campaign and payments associated with the agreement. Contrary to its claims — including assertions that proceeds from the transaction were misappropriated by the National Pork Board, the pork “checkoff” – the D.C. Circuit found that HSUS and its fellow plaintiffs failed to demonstrate that they had suffered harm from the transaction, including the associated payments. To read NPPC’s full statement, click here.


U.S./JAPANESE TRADE OFFICIALS MEET TO DISCUSS POSSIBLE TRADE DEAL

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi met in Washington, D.C. this week, continuing negotiations and laying the groundwork for a summit meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Donald Trump on the sidelines of a Group of Seven summit in France later this month. The negotiations this week were originally scheduled for just Wednesday and Thursday, but were extended for a third day to Friday to continue discussions. On Thursday, Lighthizer said the two countries were “getting closer to reach a conclusion.” U.S. pork producers are currently at a significant disadvantage in Japan because international competitors have recently entered into trade agreements with the country, including the EU and CPTPP nations. NPPC is urging the Trump administration to expeditiously finalize negotiations and quickly implement a deal in 2020 with Japan to prevent continued U.S. pork market share loss in its top value export market.

CHINA ESCALATES TRADE DISPUTE WITH U.S.
On Friday morning, China announced plans to impose additional tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports. While media reports suggest that new tariffs will be placed on U.S. pork, NPPC is working to independently verify. Currently, U.S. pork producers face retaliatory tariffs of 50% on exports to China, in addition to the existing 12% import tariff, for a combined tariff rate of 62%. Were it not for China’s trade retaliation, U.S. pork producers would be a strong position to capitalize on an unprecedented sales opportunity in China, where domestic production is down significantly as African swine fever has ravaged the country’s swine herd. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to end the trade dispute with China.


WOTUS RULING A VICTORY FOR AGRICULTURE
In a significant victory for agriculture, the United States District Court for Southern Georgia issued an order on Wednesday declaring the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule illegal, both in violation of the Clean Water Act’s limitations on EPA’s authority, as well as the Administrative Procedure Act’s due process protections for impacted stakeholders. That includes pork producers who have been leading efforts to push back on the 2015 rule since EPA first began its formulation early in the Obama Administration. Of the numerous legal challenges to WOTUS, this is the first time a court has reached a final decision regarding the legality of WOTUS.  The rule, designed to clarify the limits of EPA’s jurisdiction, in fact greatly expanded the agency’s reach, giving it nearly unlimited control over land use decisions by declaring broad swaths of land (including farm land) as “jurisdictional” and asserting regulatory control over all manner of farm ditches. The court’s order sends the rule back to EPA to be redrafted, but states the current injunctions against enforcement of the WOTUS rule shall remain in place until EPA finalizes a new rule. The Trump Administration has been working on rules to repeal and replace WOTUS, expected to be issued this fall.  


USMCA RATIFICATION, FMD VACCINE BANK AMONG NPPC CONGRESSIONAL ASKS

In a Hogs on the Hill blog post this week, NPPC highlighted the number of pressing issues that need Congressional attention this fall. Among the priorities is congressional ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) agreement, allowing the U.S. pork industry to maintain zero-duty market access to two of its largest export markets. Another top issue for NPPC is continued vigilance to prevent foreign animal disease outbreaks in the U.S. Specifically, the 2018 Farm Bill contained language championed by NPPC to establish permanent, mandatory funding for animal disease prevention and preparedness efforts, including a Foot-and-Mouth vaccine bank to quickly contain and eradicate an outbreak. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has yet to establish the vaccine bank. NPPC will urge Congress to support USDA implementation of the bill as intended to protect the rural economy. To read the full blog, click here.


NPPC JOINS LETTER WELCOMING NEW UN AMBASSADOR

NPPC joined 19 other organizations in sending a letter to United Nations U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft on Wednesday, congratulating her on her recent appointment and highlighting the important role the United Nations plays in fostering a stronger, more prosperous world. “In particular, the U.S. private sector remains firmly committed to open, transparent and high-quality initiatives at global institutions that address global challenges effectively and promote U.S. global economic leadership in ways that facilitate continued U.S. competitiveness. We welcome the opportunity to work with you in support of effective initiatives and activities, and believe that such initiatives should be grounded in the core missions and strengths of the United Nations and its specialized agencies; should operate transparently and inclusively with all stakeholders, including the private sector; should develop and advance effective policy recommendations based on sound science and evidence; and should align with the goals and priorities of member states such as the United States,” the letter said.