For the Week Ending May 31, 2019

May 31, 2019

TRUMP ANNOUNCES TARIFF ON MEXICAN IMPORTS; NPPC URGES RECONSIDERATION OF TRADE DISPUTE
Late Thursday, President Trump announced plans to impose five percent tariffs on all Mexican imports as of June 10, 2019, with tariffs ratcheting up to 25% if Mexico does not stop the flow of Central Americans into the United States to the satisfaction of the administration. In a statement, NPPC President David Herring said we “appeal to President Trump to reconsider plans to open a new tariff dispute with Mexico. American pork producers cannot afford retaliatory tariffs from its largest export market, tariffs which Mexico will surely implement. Over the last year, trade disputes with Mexico and China have cost hard-working U.S. pork producers and their families approximately $2.5 billion.” NPPC urged we move past these tariffs by ratifying the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement, complete a trade agreement with Japan and resolve the trade dispute with China. Read NPPC’s full statement here.

 

NPPC FIGHTS BACK AGAINST FOOD PURCHASE FOREIGN OWNERSHIP CONCERNS
On Thursday, nine Senate Democrats sent a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, urging that the agency’s Food Purchase and Distribution Program doesn’t benefit foreign-owned companies. In interviews with both The Washington Post and Politico, NPPC strongly pushed back against the inaccuracies made in the letter. Under current law, the program already requires any purchases to be domestically produced and processed in the United States. Purchases are already made through a competitive process for approved vendors. When the purchases are complete, they’ll take about a week’s worth of supply off the market – and deliver a nutritious food product to the needy. “The real purpose [of the program] is to take product off the domestic market that otherwise would have been exported,” said NPPC Director of Economics Dustin Baker. “By preventing companies from joining, all you’re doing is increasing the cost of delivering that product to those who need it the most,” he told the Post.

 

COURT RULES EPA VIOLATED LAW IN WOTUS FINAL RULE
On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas ruled that EPA violated the law in making changes to the 2015 waters of the United States (WOTUS) final rule that were not in the proposed rule. According to the court filing, it found that “that the final rule violated the notice-and-comment requirements of the APA (Administrative Procedures Act) and therefore grants summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs on this ground.” The court decision sent WOTUS back to EPA, and according to news reports, the rule is still on the books in about half the states not covered by the preliminary injunctions. The 2015 WOTUS rule 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.

 

U.S., DENMARK DISCUSS ASF PREVENTION PLANS 
USDA Chief Veterinarian Jack Shere visited his counterpart in Denmark last week to discuss plans that the country has to prevent the entry of African swine fever, as well as their response preparation. NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom was in attendance last week, along with the Danish pork industry. As part of the trip, the group visited the fence being built along the border with Germany, their mandatory truck washes for livestock transporters entering Denmark and the wild boar depopulation program in a forest in the south of the country.

 

NPPC ATTENDS PARIS OIE CONFERENCE, WITH ASF AMONG TOPICS DISCUSSED
NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom attended the 87th General Session of the World Assembly of National Delegates of the OIE this week in Paris, as part of the U.S. delegation. African swine fever was among topics discussed and the need to work on ASF-specific standards for regionalization and compartmentalization. She also met with other delegations interested in controlling ASF, as well as the need of global acceptance for regionalization and compartmentalization by trading partners. Other topics of interest included work on antimicrobial resistance, animal welfare and animal disease reporting.

 

U.S., JAPAN TRADE TALKS ONGOING
On Tuesday, President Trump returned to Washington, D.C. after a four-day visit to Japan, meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Both officials agreed to accelerate trade talks between the two countries, although President Trump indicated a deal would likely be delayed until after July. NPPC urges the U.S. to expeditiously initiate a bilateral trade agreement with Japan. The country is the largest value market and the second largest volume market for U.S. pork exports.

 

U.S. RATIFICATION OF USMCA MOVES ONE STEP CLOSER
The White House on Thursday sent a draft “Statement of Administrative Action” to Congress, triggering a process that allows President Trump to submit the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal for approval within 30 days. The document outlines the U.S. laws that will change in order for USMCA to go into effect. NPPC strongly supports USMCA ratification, which preserves zero-tariff trade for U.S. pork to two of its largest export markets. However, given Thursday’s announcement about a tariff being imposed on all Mexican imports, it’s unclear what affect this will have on USMCA ratification.

 

CANADA, MEXICO MOVING AHEAD WITH USMCA RATIFICATION
On Wednesday, the Canadian government formally presented draft legislation to parliament that would ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). The move comes after President Trump lifted the steel and aluminum tariffs earlier this month on Canada and Mexico. However, there is only a limited amount of time for Canada to debate the issue. Their summer recess begins on June 21 and are not scheduled to return until November. NPPC strongly supports USMCA ratification, which preserves zero-tariff trade for U.S. pork to two of its largest export markets. Canada is the fifth largest volume and fourth largest value market for U.S. pork exports. Meantime, on Thursday, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sent the renegotiated trade deal for Senate approval. He’s asking lawmakers to hold a special session to approve the deal prior to their next regularly scheduled meeting in September. It’s not clear when the U.S. Congress plans to take up USMCA ratification. However, given Thursday’s announcement about a tariff being imposed on all Mexican imports, it’s unclear what affect this will have on USMCA ratification.