For the Week Ending February 23, 2018

February 23, 2018

SENATORS URGE PRESIDENT TRUMP TO RE-ENGAGE ON TPP      

A group of 25 Republican senators late last week sent a letter to President Trump urging him to re-engage the United States in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The senators stressed the potential for TPP to unleash the full potential of the U.S. economy and expand export market share. President Trump withdrew from the agreement last January shortly after assuming office. Under terms of the agreement, for example, TPP would have dramatically reduced tariffs on U.S. pork based on Japan’s “gate price system.” The CPTPP was finalized Wednesday following a series of negotiations between TPP’s 11 remaining member nations and is scheduled to be signed in March. NPPC supports bilateral and multilateral trade agreements that expand export opportunities for U.S. pork. Absent these agreements, U.S. pork will lose market share in Japan and other high-growth Asia-Pacific countries.

 

NPPC SEEKS CLARIFYING GUIDANCE ON DOT’s HOURS OF SERVICE RULES

NPPC along with other livestock groups urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to issue clarifying guidance on the DOT’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules for livestock haulers. In a letter submitted to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao and FMSCA Administrator Raymond Martinez, the organizations urged the DOT to grant livestock haulers a waiver and limited exemption from a mandate that they install Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) on their trucks until HOS rules are aligned with the animal welfare requirements of the livestock industry. Under the current provisions of the HOS rules, commercial motor vehicles transporting livestock are exempt from logging requirements if they’re driving within a 150 air-mile radius of the location at which the animals were loaded. However, the exemption is not uniformly recognized and its implementation varies by state. The DOT granted a 90-day waiver – until March 18, 2018 — to livestock haulers from complying with the ELD mandate following the receipt of a letter signed by NPPC and other livestock groups late last year.

 

HOUSE REPUBLICANS PUSH FOR LEGISLATIVE FIX TO SECTION 199A

Rep. David Young, R-Iowa, along with 85 of his House colleagues pushed for the adoption of a legislative fix to Section 199A of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act this week in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. The provision grants farmers a larger tax deduction if they sell their agricultural products to cooperatives, leaving independently-owned buyers at a disadvantage. The lawmakers stressed the instability of grain and livestock markets that has resulted from the provision’s implementation. NPPC is urging Congress to pass a legislative solution to Section 199A to provide support for free market competition and ensure a level playing field for all market participants.

 

WHAT’S AHEAD

STATE PORK ASSOCIATION ANNUAL MEETINGS ROLL ON

Throughout February, many state pork associations will host their annual meetings. For more on the meetings, visit NPPC’s website here.

 

SEVENTH ROUND OF NAFTA RENEGOTIATION TALKS APPROACHING

Trade negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico will meet Feb. 25-March 5 in Mexico City for the seventh round of renegotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

 

NATIONAL PORK INDUSTRY FORUM NEXT WEEK

The National Pork Industry Forum will be in held next week in Kansas City, Mo., taking place from Feb. 28 to March 2. During the event, NPPC will conduct its annual meeting, electing new officers and members to its board of directors.