For the Week Ending October 12, 2018

October 12, 2018

LIGHTHIZER BRIEFS SENATORS ON FUTURE TRADE GOALS

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer this week briefed a Senate advisory committee on the administration’s interest in negotiating free trade agreements with a range of countries, including Japan, the Philippines, the European Union and the United Kingdom. Free trade agreements with Japan, the Philippines and other countries in Asia are among NPPC’s top trade priorities. The council applauds advancement of trade talks with the EU and UK but has emphasized the importance of addressing tariff and non-tariffs barriers, including the adoption of science-based U.S. or international production standards, for any agreement to hold value for U.S. pork producers.

 

PORK GROUPS, USDA PROVIDE UPDATE ON ASF SURVEILLANCE, RESPONSE PLANNING

In September, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration officials met with U.S. pork sector groups – including the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the National Pork Board, the National Pork Producers Council and the Swine Health Information Center – to evaluate additional measures to prevent the spread to the United States of African swine fever (ASF), currently active in China and some European nations. Diagnostic preparedness, surveillance and response to infection were among the topics discussed. Click here for more details. Earlier this week, NPPC and other pork groups provided guidance on feed precautions. Click here for more information.

 

NPPC STRESSES NEED FOR REVISED FEDERAL TRUCKING RULES FOR LIVESTOCK HAULERS

In comments submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) this week, NPPC supported revisions to existing federal trucking regulations that allow livestock haulers to comply with the rules while maintaining the pork industry’s high standards for animal welfare.  Specifically, NPPC asked DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to change the Hours of Service (HOS) rules, which 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 either limit, they must wait 10 hours before driving again. NPPC supports:

  • Expanding the driving-time limit for livestock haulers from 11 hours to 14 hours.
  • Adding an exemption from the driving-time limit for “adverse driving conditions,” which should be defined to include not only incidences of rain, snow, ice and traffic disruptions but also excessive temperatures that would stress animals and prevent trucks from stopping.
  • Allowing livestock haulers in trucks with sleeper berths to break up the required 10-hour rest period into three separate periods provided that at least one is a minimum of six hours.

NPPC also asked the transportation agency to streamline the process for restoring “satisfactory” safety ratings for livestock haulers who are otherwise in compliance with the HOS rules’ safety and paperwork requirements. Often as a result of caring for animals rather than strictly adhering to the HOS regulations, some drivers have had their safety ratings downgraded from “satisfactory” to “conditional.” That has reduced the pool of available drivers and significantly increased barriers for livestock haulers to remain in business