For the Week Ending February 7, 2020

February 7, 2020

CHINA TO SLASH TARIFFS ON U.S. GOODS
On Thursday, China announced it would cut tariffs in half on $75 billion of U.S. imports. Beginning Feb. 14, the country will slash tariffs on some U.S. goods from five percent to 10 percent, while levies on some other items will be reduced to 2.5 percent from five percent. Punitive tariffs on U.S pork will be reduced by five percent, leaving the total duty at 63 percent. NPPC continues to urge China to remove all punitive tariffs on U.S. pork to get us on a level playing with international competitors that are at eight percent. If all restrictions on exports to China were removed, in 10 years, U.S. pork would double sales, create 184,000 new American jobs and reduce the U.S. trade deficit with China by nearly six percent.  

INDIA, U.S. TO ANNOUNCE LIMITED TRADE DEAL
India and the United States are set to complete a limited trade deal later this month during President Trump’s visit to India. The president’s trip is scheduled for Feb. 23-26 and the limited trade deal will likely include agricultural products. Virtually all pork production in India is backyard and there is no significant pork industry in the country. However, India does not allow pork from the U.S., while pork from other nations is allowed. NPPC believes India should lift its de facto ban on U.S. pork and remains hopeful this limited trade deal will reverse this ban.   

U.S., CANADA TRADE REPS TO MEET, DISCUSS USMCA RATIFICATION

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will meet with Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland today, Feb. 7, to discuss ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. Last month, President Trump signed USMCA into law, which, once implemented, will provide much-needed certainty for U.S. pork producers. Both the U.S. and Mexico have ratified USMCA and Canada is expected to follow suit in the next few months.  USMCA provides U.S. pork producers with certainty in two of our largest export markets. In 2018, Canada and Mexico took over 40 percent of the pork that was exported from the United States and a similar percentage is expected in 2019. U.S. pork exports to Canada and Mexico support 16,000 U.S. jobs. 

USDA ANNOUNCES THIRD TRANCHE OF TRADE MITIGATION PAYMENTS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will proceed with its final and third round tranche of trade relief payments to American farmers as a result of retaliatory tariffs, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue confirmed on Monday. “It’s been a great start to 2020 for American agriculture with the signing of the historic phase one deal with China and the signing of USMCA,” said Perdue. “While these agreements are welcome news, we must not forget that 2019 was a tough year for farmers as they were the tip of the spear when it came to unfair trade retaliation….The payments will begin to show up in farmers’ bank accounts by the end of this week,” he said. In May 2019, the agency announced it would again provide payments under the Market Facilitation Program, valued at $16 billion. As part of the trade relief payments, eligible U.S. pork producers would receive $11 per head based on inventory between April 1-May 15, 2019. Additionally, the agency would make pork purchases of $208 million to support its programs for the food insecure. For more information on the Market Facilitation Program, visit here

WHAT’S AHEAD?

NPPC SPEAKING AT ASF PANEL NEXT WEEK

NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom is speaking Tuesday, Feb. 11 on a panel in Washington, D.C., about the global threat of African swine fever (ASF), an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks. ASF is growing as outbreaks continue throughout China and other parts of Asia. The panel, hosted by the Washington Ag Roundtable, will also feature Dr. Paul Sundberg of the Swine Health Information Center. NPPC is focused on ensuring ASF doesn’t enter the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agricultural inspectors are the first line of defense against diseases and pests at U.S. land, sea and airports, and NPPC supports the addition of 60 new canine teams and 600 additional CBP agricultural inspectors. NPPC also supports funding for additional signage and other awareness mechanisms.