For the Week Ending May 8, 2020

May 8, 2020

NPPC EDUCATES LAWMAKERS ON EUTHANASIA 
As it advocates for compensation for euthanized pigs, NPPC this week distributed this fact sheet to lawmakers to educate them on the impact of COVID-19 on farmers and why euthanasia is necessary to prevent animal suffering. NPPC is also seeking funding to address depopulation and disposal costs. In related news, Illinois’ five Republican congressmen, Reps. John Shimkus, Rodney Davis, Mike Bost, Darin LaHood and Adam Kinzinger, recently asked Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds to help compensate farmers for euthanization and disposal. For a state to be eligible for emergency support from FEMA, the governor must make the request.


SBA RE-OPENS EMERGENCY DISASTER LOAN PROGRAM FOR AGRICULTURE BUSINESSES
Following several weeks of NPPC advocacy, on Monday the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened its Emergency Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application for a limited time to U.S. agricultural businesses which were previously excluded from the program. Recently signed legislation provides an additional $60 billion in funding for eligible businesses, farmers, ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses affected by COVID-19 pandemic. Funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Among details, the program is for any small business with fewer than 500 employees and the loans are capped at $2 million for six months of working capital. More information is available here. NPPC had heard from producers who wanted to participate in the EIDL, but were unfairly left out of the program and not eligible to apply. NPPC worked with Congress and the administration to ensure agriculture was included in the SBA EIDL loans, as was intended in the CARES Act.


FIRST ROUND OF U.S.-UK TRADE TALKS BEGINS
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and United Kingdom International Trade Secretary Liz Truss began meeting this week via video conference to formally begin trade talks between the two nations. “Both parties agree that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would contribute to the long-term health of our economies, which is vitally important as we recover from the challenges posed by COVID-19. An FTA is a priority for both countries and we share a commitment to secure an ambitious agreement that significantly boosts trade and investment. We will undertake negotiations at an accelerated pace and have committed the resources necessary to progress at a fast pace,” according to a joint statement issued Tuesday. The first round of trade negotiations continue through May 15. In October 2018, the Trump administration announced its intention to negotiate a trade agreement with the U.K. NPPC is supportive of negotiations, provided the agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff trade barriers on pork.  


FEDERAL MARITIME COMMISSION ISSUES FINAL RULE TO ALLOW FOR MOVEMENT OF SHIPPING CONTAINERS
In response to advocacy efforts by NPPC and other agriculture associations, the Federal Maritime Commission recently released a Final Interpretive Rule to allow for the continued free movement of shipping containers to international markets of critical food and agricultural products. The rule, which applies to import and export shipments, provides that carriers/terminals should not charge detention, demurrage, or per diem under the law when it is not possible for the shipper or trucker to pick up or return a container due to numerous issues. Previously, ocean carriers imposed detention and demurrage fees even when containers were not physically available to be picked up. The rule’s provision encouraging notice of cargo availability will also serve to improve efficiencies at ports and throughout the entire U.S. freight delivery system, benefiting both importers and exporters.