For the Week Ending July 19, 2019

July 19, 2019

NPPC PRESIDENT TALKS CHALLENGES BEFORE HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE
On Tuesday, NPPC President David Herring testified before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, outlining the numerous challenges the U.S. pork industry faces both abroad and domestically.  “One of the most damaging threats to the U.S. pork industry has been the punitive, retaliatory trade tariffs that China and other countries have imposed,” Herring told the subcommittee, noting that China’s 62% tariff on American pork have cost domestic producers $1 billion on an annualized basis. In addition to trade issues, he talked about NPPC’s request for appropriations funding for 600 additional U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agricultural Inspectors at our borders, as well as development of a Foot-and-Mouth-Disease vaccine bank needed to quickly contain and eradicate an outbreak. A full copy of his prepared remarks is available here.

U.S. PORK TRADE CHALLENGES PERSIST IN CHINA, JAPAN AND OTHER KEY MARKETS, NPPC TELLS RADIO PROGRAM
The United States produces the safest, highest-quality and most affordable pork in the world, and the pork industry is highly dependent on exports, shipping more than 25% of total production to foreign markets. However, the U.S. pork industry currently faces big challenges in China, Japan and other markets. In an interview on Friday with Mike Adams on national radio program “Adams on Agriculture,” NPPC Vice President and Counsel, Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano outlined the trade headwinds facing the pork industry and how to ensure U.S. producers compete on a level playing field. In China for example, U.S. pork producers face a 50% punitive tariff, on top of the 12% import tariff assessed on pork from competitor nations. African swine fever “is ravaging the Chinese [pork] herd,” he said, noting that China is the largest producer and consumer of pork in the world. “There is an unprecedented opportunity there and the big question is, ‘Are we going to get the main course or are we going to get the crumbs off the table?'” He added, “We’re the most competitive supplier in the world and we can’t get the China problem [50% tariff] resolved fast enough.” The full audio interview is available here

OMB FINISHES REVIEW OF USDA’S TRADE MITIGATION PAYMENTS PLAN
The White House’s Office of Management and Budget recently completed its review of the second tranche of its trade relief package in response to trade retaliation against U.S. agriculture, indicating that the program specifics will likely be released shortly. USDA’s trade retaliation relief program, announced by the administration in May, includes direct payments to qualifying pork producers, pork surplus purchases for the benefit of low-income families and others in need, and additional funding to develop new export opportunities. The amount of farmer payments and commodity purchases have not been announced. While NPPC has expressed appreciation to the administration for partial relief the program provides, it continues to push for an end to the trade dispute with China, USMCA ratification and a trade agreement with Japan.

FINAL WOTUS RULE SENT TO OMB FOR REVIEW
EPA’s final rule on a new Waters of the United States (WOTUS) regulation was sent to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget on Friday, July 12. The regulation would replace the WOTUS rule issued in August 2015 by the Obama administration’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That measure gave EPA broad jurisdiction over U.S. waters to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters. Prior to the 2015 rule, EPA’s jurisdiction over waterways – based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions – included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. Since the day it was first proposed, NPPC has been one of the primary organizations leading opposition against the WOTUS rule, which is a land grab that promotes federal control over private property, grows the size of government and allows activists to extort and micromanage all kinds of farming and business activities.

EU TRADE OFFICIAL MEETING WITH ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
The European Commission’s director general for trade will meet in Washington, D.C., next week for trade talks with the Trump administration, Politico reported on Monday. The European Union maintains high levels of tariff protection, as well as scientifically unjustifiable sanitary-phytosanitary and technical barriers to trade that make shipment of U.S. pork to the EU difficult, if not impossible. NPPC expects the EU to: a) eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers in line with the trade agreements it has with 20 other nations and b) recognize the equivalence of U.S. pork production practices and accept exports from all USDA-approved facilities.