For the Week Ending March 9, 2018
March 9, 2018
IMPORT TARIFFS IMPOSED ON STEEL, ALUMINUM; GROUPS WARN ABOUT NEGATIVE CONSEQUENCES
President Trump Thursday imposed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum as a way to protect national security. The administration raised concerns about U.S. reliance on imported steel for defense systems. NPPC has expressed concerns that the restrictions will lead to lost American jobs and could lead to retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products, including on agriculture exports, from U.S. trading partners. A study released this week by Trade Partnership Worldwide, a private analytical firm, found that the proposed tariffs would cost the U.S. economy more than 179,000 jobs, with two-thirds of them being production and low-skill positions. Additionally, the National Foreign Trade Council this week announced the creation of the Alliance for Competitive Steel and Aluminum Trade to weigh in on the import tariffs. The alliance, whose membership is comprised of more than 30 associations, including NPPC, on Tuesday issued a policy paper, outlining its members’ concerns with the anticipated impacts of tariffs on U.S. exports, economic growth and production costs.
NPPC SEEKS FIX FOR DOT’s HOURS OF SERVICE, ELD RULES
NPPC this week met with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Raymond Martinez, urging his agency to come up with equipment and rules related to interstate trucking that meet the unique needs of the livestock industry. The Department of Transportation (DOT) in 2015 issued a regulation that all commercial truckers replace their paper driving logs with Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) by Dec. 18, 2017. Livestock haulers got a 90-day waiver, which expires March 18, from the ELD mandate because, argued NPPC and other groups, it is incompatible with DOT’s Hours of Service (HOS) rules. Those regulations limit commercial truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period. Once drivers reach that limit, they must pull over and wait 10 hours before driving again. Truckers hauling livestock within a 150-air-mile radius of the location at which the animals were loaded are exempt from the HOS rules, but the exemption is not uniformly recognized and its implementation varies by state. In a hearing this week before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, lawmakers questioned DOT Secretary Elaine Chao about the two regulations and about her agency’s efforts to fix the problem for livestock haulers. The secretary – and Administrator Martinez in his meeting with NPPC and other groups – said DOT is working on a solution.
SENATE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE ASSESSES ‘FARM ACT’
The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Waste Management, and Regulatory Oversight Thursday held a hearing on the recently introduced “Fair Agricultural Reporting Method (FARM) Act.” In April 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected an exemption for farms from reporting “hazardous” emissions under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). CERCLA is a law that provides federal funding for cleaning contaminant spills and uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites, while EPCRA requires entities to provide reports on the storage, use and release of hazardous substances to state and local governments, including first responders. The bipartisan FARM Act would restore the farm exemption for reporting emissions from manure to the U.S. Coast Guard, providing a solution for the misguided court decision. Early last month, the appeals court granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s motion for another extension of the reporting deadline. NPPC and the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association filed a brief in support of the agency’s request that the court give farms a delay in reporting air emissions from animal waste to May 1 from Jan. 22.
NPPC WELCOMES NEW MARKET FOR U.S. PORK
Under an export certificate recently negotiated between the two countries, the United States now can ship pork to Paraguay. NPPC worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to get U.S. pork into the market. Last month, USDA concluded talks with its Paraguay counterparts on the export certificate, which will allow the shipment of U.S. fresh, frozen, processed and thermally processed/commercially sterile pork and pork products. While the South American country is a modest consumer of pork, there is potential for U.S. pork export growth to its nearly 6.9 million people, who have a per capita income greater than, for example, the Philippines and Vietnam, two large pork-consuming nations.
TPP MOVES FORWARD WITHOUT U.S.
The 11 countries remaining in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), from which the United States withdrew in early 2017, Thursday signed the agreement. Now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, it still must be ratified by each of the signatory nations. NPPC, which supported the TPP, has expressed concern that the U.S. pork industry will start losing market share in countries that are part of the agreement and has urged the Trump administration to begin bilateral trade talks with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan.
FMC VOTES TO LAUNCH INVESTIGATION INTO SHIPPING PORT PRACTICES
The Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) this week voted to launch an investigation on detention and demurrage practices at shipping ports. The Coalition for Fair Port Practices, which includes NPPC, filed a petition on the practices in December 2016, asking the FMC to promulgate a new rule prohibiting terminal operators and shipping lines from charging detention, demurrage and per diem fees when circumstances – such as labor disputes – don’t allow cargo to be picked up or dropped off within contracted times. The federal Shipping Act requires that the fees and related practices be “just and reasonable.”
USDA ENDS REPORTING OF SWINE ENTERIC CORONARVIRUS DISEASES
Pork producers, veterinarians and laboratories no longer will need to report Swine Enteric Coronavirus Diseases (SECD) to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) this week rescinded the federal order first issued in 2014 requiring reporting of the diseases, which include Porcine Endemic Diarrhea virus. The action supports Agriculture Secretary Perdue’s focus on removing unnecessary regulatory requirements on farmers and ranchers, a move supported by NPPC.
NPPC’s WAGSTROM RECOGNIZED WITH AASV AWARD
NPPC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom this week was recognized with the American Association of Swine Veterinarian’s (AASV) Meritorious Service award as part of the organization’s annual meeting held in San Diego. Given annually, the award honors an individual who has demonstrated his or her longstanding dedication and service to AASV and its members. Prior to her current role at NPPC, Wagstrom served as an associate professor for the University of Minnesota’s Center for Animal Health and Food Safety and as the director of veterinary services for the National Pork Board, where she previously was assistant vice president for science and technology.
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 asking them to urge the Trump administration to pursue bilateral trade agreements, to establish and fund in the next Farm Bill a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank and to approve legislation that would exempt farmers from reporting emissions from manure. The organization’s Capitol Hill-famous reception, the Congressional Bacon Fest, will be held Wednesday, April 11, with large crowds of bacon-loving patrons expected.