For the Week Ending November 16, 2018

November 16, 2018


EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström was in Washington, D.C., this week to discuss a potential trade negotiation between the United States and the European Union. President Trump alluded to the need for free and reciprocal trade between the European Union and the United States in a series of tweets this week. One tweet in particular described the barriers that U.S. wine faces entering the EU. NPPC responded to this tweet, pointing to the barriers that U.S. pork faces as well and emphasizing the need for the EU to stop disparaging U.S. agriculture products and to remove unscientific barriers currently hindering U.S. exports to the EU. Unfortunately, while in Washington, Malmstrom argued that food and agriculture should not be within the scope of U.S.-EU trade talks. The Trump administration, on the other hand, continues to insist that food and agriculture be included in negotiations. NPPC, and presumably other U.S. food and agriculture groups, will oppose the initiation of trade talks that do not include food and agriculture. As in all prior U.S. free trade agreement negotiations, NPPC’s position is that all tariff and non-tariff barriers on pork must be eliminated. The EU’s reasoning for wanting to exclude food and agriculture from trade talks is blatantly transparent: EU agriculture is inefficient and shielded from competition. The United States produces the safest, highest-quality pork and other foods in the world. While U.S. agriculture runs a global trade surplus, the United States has a significant trade deficit in food and agriculture with the EU. That deficit only can be rectified through comprehensive trade negotiations with the EU that include food and agriculture, resulting in the elimination all tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.



Congressional lawmakers this week discussed a possible “lame duck” vote on the 2018 Farm Bill. (A lame duck session is the period between congressional elections and the start of a new Congress.) A conference committee, reconciling Senate- and House-passed legislation, was expected in late November to approve a final bill, which would need to be voted on by the Senate and the House. NPPC asked that the five-year agricultural blueprint establish and fund a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) vaccine bank, as well as include money for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network, which does animal disease diagnostics, and block grants for state animal-health agencies for efforts to prevent diseases. While the details of the conference committee bill aren’t known, the legislation is expected to include some mandatory funding for animal health and disease preparedness. If a vote on the 2018 Farm Bill does not occur before the end of the current Congress, it is likely the 2014 Farm Bill, which expired Sept. 30, would get a one-year extension, and new Farm Bill legislation would need to be introduced in the 2019 Congress.



Vice President Mike Pence was in Asia this week to attend meetings on behalf of President Trump with the leaders of several countries. Early in the week, Pence met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to discuss a U.S.-Japan trade agreement, among other things. NPPC strongly supports the initiation of trade talks with Japan and is hopeful that the two nations can quickly reach an agreement. Time is of the essence for U.S. pork producers as exports to their top international market are imperiled because of the imminent implementation of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) on Dec. 30 and the likely implementation of the Japan–EU free trade agreement early next year. The CPTPP is an 11-country trade deal that was known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership when it included the United States. U.S. pork’s competitors in Canada, Chile and Mexico, which are part of the CPTPP, will have preferential access to Japan and Vietnam.



NPPC’s Maria Zieba, director of international affairs, Friday testified at a public hearing on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). At a hearing held by the U.S. International Trade Commission, NPPC urged Congress to expeditiously pass the trade deal so that U.S. pork and other American farm products can maintain their zero-tariff access. If Congress fails to pass the USMCA, Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes forecasts that the U.S. pork industry eventually will lose the entire Mexican market.