For the Week Ending March 30, 2018

March 30, 2018

U.S., SOUTH KOREA FINALIZE RENEGOTIATED FTA; LIGHTHIZER OPTIMISTIC ON NAFTA

The United States and South Korea this week announced they’ve reach agreement on a renegotiated Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). NPPC is very pleased with the outcome of the negotiations. Under the terms of the renegotiated deal, agriculture is not impacted and U.S. pork will continue to flow to South Korea with no tariff. Last year, the U.S. shipped $475 million of pork to South Korea – a 30 percent increase over 2016 – making it the No. 5 U.S. pork export market. President Trump said final execution of the agreement may be delayed until pending nuclear arms talks with North Korea are seen to be progressing in a positive direction. While not impacting agriculture, the renegotiated deal addresses vehicle exports between the countries and establishes a quota for South Korean steel exports to the United States. The Asian nation remains exempt from tariffs the Trump administration recently imposed on steel and aluminum imports. In other trade news, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this week voiced optimism about efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), telling CNBC, “I think we are making progress. I think that all three parties want to move forward; we have a short window, because of elections and things beyond our control. But if there’s a real effort made to try to close out and to compromise … I’m optimistic that we can get something done in principle in the next little bit.” NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to maintain zero-duty market access for U.S. pork exports to Mexico and Canada and to caution that a U.S. withdraw from NAFTA would cost the pork industry $1.5 billion. The eighth round of negotiations on the agreement is tentatively scheduled for early next month.

 

DOT ISSUES FAVORABLE INTERPRTATION OF ELD EXEMPTION

The Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) this week released a favorable and broad interpretation of the omnibus spending bill provision addressing the Electronic Logging Device mandate, stating, “Livestock (as defined in 49 CFR 395.2) and insect haulers are not required to comply with the ELD rule for the duration of the fiscal 2018 appropriations bill, which runs through Sept. 30, and any subsequent continuing resolutions.” Last week, the president signed $1.3 trillion federal spending bill that provided for a delay in the mandate. NPPC has advocated for the exemption until rules tailored for the unique animal welfare requirements of the U.S. pork industry are established.

 

NPPC SUPPORTS REAUTHORIZATION OF ‘ADUFA’

NPPC along with 22 other agriculture and animal health organizations, in a letter to the chairmen and ranking members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, this week expressed support for reauthorization of an enhanced Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA). The reauthorization includes expansion of FDA authority for conditional approval of new animal drugs, addressing serious and life-threatening unmet medical needs for major uses in major species. This is a crucial step in ensuring that animal health, human health and food safety are protected. Failure to renew the laws by the deadline will result in a major disruption of the availability of new animal drugs to the livestock production industry.

 

NPPC CEO FEATURED IN PORK MAGAZINE ARTICLE

NPPC CEO Neil Dierks, in a recent interview with JoAnn Alumbaugh of Pork Magazine, took a moment to reflect on his time with NPPC and the journey of the U.S. pork industry, offering credit to producers, staff and industry leaders for successes achieved and challenges overcome. Dierks talked about the joys of the job, industry issues and advice he offers. Dierks joined the council in 1990 and took over as CEO in 2002.

 

WHAT’S AHEAD

PORK PRODUCERS TO LOBBY CONGRESS ON INDUSTRY ISSUES

NPPC April 11-12 will host its spring Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C. The biannual fly-in draws from around the country about 125 pork producers. Producers will lobby congressional lawmakers on issues of importance to the U.S. pork industry, including the importance of maintaining and expanding export opportunities, funding a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank in the next Farm Bill and establishing a regulatory environment that keeps food affordable. The ever-popular Congressional Bacon Fest will be held Wednesday, April 11.