For the Week Ending October 21, 2016

October 21, 2016


Advisers for the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump this week discussed their candidates’ food and agricultural policies at a forum hosted by the Farm Foundation, a non-profit groups that works for sound agricultural public policy. An NPPC representative attended the forum, which was held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Former U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan spoke on behalf of Clinton, who strongly supports investing in clean energy, promoting USDA’s Beginning Farmers and Ranchers program and creating a nationwide Farm-to-Fork initiative to help connect urban and rural areas. Trump’s campaign co-chairman and lead agricultural policy adviser, Sam Clovis, relayed the Republican nominee’s support for eliminating the estate tax, reducing and regionalizing regulations and enforcing immigration laws. The two clashed over the role of regulations, with Clovis criticizing the Obama administration’s one-size-fits-all approach, particularly on environmental rules, and Merrigan supporting regulations that establish national standards. She said Clinton believes in the power of regulation to level the playing field; Clovis said Trump sees overregulation creating a barrier to entry for and choking out small business. On trade, both agreed that any agreement must create jobs and improve national security, and both said their candidate opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the 12-nation Asia-Pacific trade agreement, which NPPC strongly supports.



Ambassadors from Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam this week at an event hosted by the National Foreign Trade Council stressed the need for the U.S. Congress to vote on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in the “lame duck” session, the time between Election Day and the end of this congressional term. The TPP, negotiations on which were initiated in late 2008 and concluded last October, is a regional trade deal that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for nearly 40 percent of global GDP. Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Singapore’s ambassador to the United States, said his country hopes that the TPP will be ratified, and he ruled out chances for an alternative agreement between his country and America. “There is for the U.S. no plan B; there is for us no plan B with the U.S. in it,” Mirpuri said. “We need to have a U.S. player to go in the Asia-Pacific region; all the 11 ambassadors here from TPP countries, all our leaders see this as fundamentally important.” Pham Quang Vinh, Vietnam’s ambassador to the United States, explained how important TPP is to a “less developed country like Vietnam” and touted that 80 percent of Vietnam’s business community is backing the deal. “This is not just a way to level the playing field for market access, but for us we think this is a momentum for reform,” Vinh said. Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Sada Solana, praised how Mexico has changed since joining the World Trade Organization and implementing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). “We have been transformed in the last 35 years,” Solana said. “We decided to change, we decided to become from a closed economy to an open one. The WTO and NAFTA transformed us.” NPPC is urging congressional lawmakers to vote on the TPP this year, noting that the deal would increase U.S. pork exports to the Asia-Pacific region significantly, creating more than 10,000 pork industry jobs.



Passage of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union this week stalled as one of five regions in Belgium voted against the deal. Scheduled to be approved Tuesday, the agreement also saw opposition from Romania, which called for Canada to allow visa-free travel. However, Germany’s economic minister, Sigmar Gabriel, is confident the deal will be signed soon. “I don’t think the agreement can fail,” Gabriel said. “But Belgium and Romania, for example, still have questions that perhaps can be answered today. Perhaps we need a bit more time.” CETA holds implications for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a larger trade deal between the EU and the United States. A question raised by Peter Ziga, the Slovak economic minister, reflects concern about the EU’s ability to strike a deal with other nations. “If we are afraid of Canada, which has 38 million people – we as a European Union with 500 million people – with whom do we want to make a trade policy?” asked Ziga. EU leaders and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are scheduled to meet for a summit Oct. 27.



NPPC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom and Deputy Director of Science and Technology Dr. Dan Kovich this week attend the U.S. Animal Health Association (USAHA) annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C. USAHA is a science-based, non-profit, voluntary organization that works with state and federal governments, universities, veterinarians, livestock producers, national livestock and poultry organizations, research scientists, the extension service and several foreign countries to control livestock diseases in the United States. Its 1,100 members are state and federal animal health officials, national allied organizations, regional representatives and individual members. Wagstrom chairs the organization’s Pharmaceutical Committee, which is concerned with residue testing and U.S. Department of Agriculture antibiotic-use and resistance initiatives, as well as state legislation related to antibiotics.



The Committee on Residues of Veterinary Drugs in Food of the U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food-safety standards-setting body, this week met in Houston for its annual meeting. NPPC Deputy Director of International Trade Policy Courtney Knupp attended as a member of the U.S. delegation. Issues discussed during the meeting included the evaluation of veterinary drugs and the setting of maximum residue limits (MRLs); work to address the unintended presence of residues in food commodities, resulting from the carry-over of drug residues; and evaluation of meat product definitions. NPPC works closely with the U.S. government to provide technical support for Codex issues affecting the U.S. pork industry. (For more information on the application of Codex policies in the United States, watch this informational video.)




For questions, comments and suggestions or to subscribe, contact: Dave Warner, Director of Communications, NPPC, at (202) 347-3600, or via e-mail at