For the Week Ending June 21, 2019

June 21, 2019

MEXICO RATIFIES USMCA

On Wednesday, Mexico’s Senate voted to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). “USMCA passes! Mexico goes first with clear signal that our economy is open,” Jesús Seade, Mexico’s undersecretary for foreign affairs, wrote on Twitter. Mexico’s Senate passed it in a 114-4 vote, becoming the first of the three countries to ratify the agreement. The Trump administration is hopeful to vote on USMCA ratification before the August recess. NPPC continues to urge ratification of USMCA, preserving zero-tariff pork trade in North America for the long term.

WHITE HOUSE HOPEFUL USMCA VOTE BEFORE AUGUST RECESS

Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the administration is making progress resolving issues with lawmakers on a proposed U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) deal. “My hope is that over the next couple of weeks, we can make substantial progress. I believe we’re on track,” he said. The administration is pushing Congress to approve USMCA before the August recess. Meantime, a House working group met this week to discuss possible changes to the agreement. NPPC will closely monitor congressional votes on USMCA and continues to urge the administration to complete a trade agreement with Japan and resolve the trade dispute with China, where U.S. pork has a historic opportunity to dramatically expand exports given the countries struggle with African swine fever. 

USDA OFFERING $75 MILLION FOR PILOT PROJECT TO CONTROL FERAL SWINE

On Thursday, USDA announced it was offering $75 million in funding for the eradication and control of feral swine through the Feral Swine Eradication and Control Pilot Program. NPPC advocated for program funding during the development of the 2018 Farm Bill. The pilot program is a joint effort between USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The 2018 Farm Bill included this new pilot program to help address the threat that feral swine pose to agriculture, ecosystems and human and animal health. In a statement, NPPC President David Herring thanked USDA for implementing this program. “Wild pigs are difficult to control and when in close proximity to domestic production, they are almost impossible to control. Most seriously, we are concerned about the spread of feral swine carrying diseases, including African swine fever (ASF), an animal disease affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks. While outbreaks of ASF continue throughout China and other parts of Asia, there are no reported cases in the United States. With no vaccination available, prevention is our only defense and that’s why this program is so vitally important,” he added. Read NPPC’s full release here

TRUMP, XI TO MEET NEXT WEEK IN JAPAN

President Trump plans for an extended meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Japan next week. “I have a very good relationship with President Xi. We’ll see what happens. I think we have a chance. China wants a deal. They don’t like the tariffs,” Trump said to reporters on Tuesday. NPPC continues to advocate for the trade dispute with China to be resolved. China is the largest producer, consumer and importer of pork in the world. However, due to a combined 62% retaliatory tariff on U.S. pork, producers have lost $8 per hog or $1 billion on an annualized industry-wide basis. 

PORK GROUPS HIGHLIGHT ASF PREVENTION EFFORTS

In a joint letter, NPPC, the North American Meat Institute, National Pork Board, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians and the Swine Health Information Center provided pork processors with information they can provide to their producer partners to prevent African swine fever (ASF), which affects only pigs and presents no human health or food safety risks. Guidance includes obtaining a premises identification number, which will help track the animals’ locations, establishing enhanced biosecurity measures and training farm personnel. Read the joint letter here