For the Week Ending March 10, 2017

March 10, 2017

ADMINISTRATION’S REGULATORY REFORM EFFORTS CONTINUE

The Trump administration, which put regulatory reform at the top of its “Make America Great Again” plan, is following through by requiring federal agencies to include regulations they want to dump in the biannual Unified Agenda and Regulatory Plan. The document of pending rules now will be known as the Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions. A presidential executive order directs agencies to eliminate two existing regulations for each new one proposed. Dominic Mancini, acting administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, this week asked agencies to include in the spring regulatory document estimated costs for significant new regulations they expect to issue by Oct. 1 – the start of fiscal 2018 – and to list the rules they will eliminate. The spring Unified Agenda of Federal Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions is due March 31. NPPC supports the administration’s regulatory reform efforts and will be submitting a list of federal rules it would like to see rescinded.

 

NAFTA RENEGOTIATIONS EXPECTED LATER THIS YEAR

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Wednesday provided an update on the timing of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He told Bloomberg News, “I would like the results tomorrow, but that is not the way the world works.” He expects talks on modernizing NAFTA to begin later this year. The Trump administration’s priorities in negotiations with Canada and (mostly) Mexico likely will include addressing the U.S. trade deficit, adding new regulations on services and the digital economy and tightening rules of origin. NPPC has said that any redone NAFTA deal must not disrupt U.S. pork exports to the pork industry’s No. 2 (Mexico) and No. 4 (Canada) markets. (Last year, the U.S. pork industry shipped nearly $1.4 billion of pork to Mexico and almost $800 million to Canada.) The organization will insist that tariffs on North American pork trade remain at zero.

 

EU PURSUING FTAS IN ASIA-PACIFIC; NPPC URGES TRUMP TO DO SAME

While the United States walked away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the European Union is moving forward aggressively on free trade talks with countries in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region. Late last week, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay met in Brussels, Belgium, to conclude preliminary discussions on a free trade agreement (FTA). The EU is New Zealand’s second-largest trading partner, with annual trade between them topping $7.5 billion. Malmström was in the Philippines Friday for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) economic ministers and EU trade consultations to discuss trade relations and to advance plans for a region-to-region FTA between the EU and the 10-nation ASEAN. (Several of the ASEAN countries were part of the TPP.) The EU already has concluded agreements with Vietnam and Singapore. NPPC, which strongly supported the TPP, is urging the Trump administration to initiate bilateral FTAs with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, beginning with Japan, the U.S. pork industry’s No. 1 value market. NPPC Vice President and Counsel Nick Giordano recently was in Japan to discuss trade issues with industry and government officials.

 

PHILIPPINES OFFICIAL REITERATES COUNTRY’S DESIRE FOR FTA WITH U.S.

The Philippines continues to signal to the Trump administration that it would like to forge a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, with Rafaelita Aldaba, assistant secretary with the country’s Department of Trade and Industry, being the latest government official to weigh in. (In February, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez said the government is open to negotiating an FTA with its third-largest trading partner.) At a news conference this week, Aldaba said that, since the United States has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, “the best alternative is really to go for a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S.” NPPC strongly supports a trade deal with the Pacific island nation, a top 10 market for U.S. pork. (The U.S. pork industry last year shipped nearly $79 million of pork to the Philippines.) NPPC Vice President and Counsel Nick Giordano recently was in Manila to discuss trade issues with industry and government officials.

 

WHAT’S AHEAD

 

HOUSE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE TO HOLD MORE FARM BILL HEARINGS

The House Committee on Agriculture next week will continue with hearings on the 2018 Farm Bill. The full committee will hold a session Wednesday to examine tax reform and agriculture. Next Thursday, the panel’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research will look at agricultural research, and the Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry will hold a hearing on forestry initiatives.