For the Week Ending October 28, 2016

October 28, 2016


Tensions between Belgium and its own Wallonia region over the free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada this week subsided as Wallonia announced its support for the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA). The agreement, seven years in the making, was nearly blocked by Wallonia over concerns about surging pork and beef imports from Canada and an independent court system critics worried would allow multinationals to dictate public policy. In attempts to reach an agreement, the EU had threatened to cancel the previously planned Thursday CETA signing ceremony with Canada. But Thursday morning Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel announced that Wallonia had accepted the CETA, with new guarantees for farmers and a corporate dispute settlement system. Since the adjustments need to be approved by the 27 other EU countries, Canada has agreed to postpone the signing. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “We are confident that in the coming days we will see a positive outcome for this historic deal.” Once signed, however, the future of agreement still may be murky; each of the 38 nations and regions of the EU retain the right to cancel the deal once it is in place. CETA has been equated to a test model for the passage of the even more controversial EU-U.S. Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. NPPC supports TTIP but is skeptical of progress being made on it based on the intransigence of the EU on various issues. While the EU is willing to eliminate tariffs on nearly all goods, for example, it announced publicly it is unwilling to eliminate them on beef, poultry and pork. NPPC wants in TTIP the same deal it has gotten in the 20 other free trade agreements the United States has concluded: elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers on U.S. pork exports.



The United States this week received some stark reminders of what failure to implement the Trans-Pacific Partnership would mean. Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore’s deputy prime minister, said if the United States doesn’t ratify the TPP deal, it would be a “major setback” for America’s standing in Asia, signaling U.S. retreat from the Asia-Pacific region. Singapore is one of 12 countries, including the United States, that is part of the TPP, which was finalized a year ago but is awaiting approval in each of the partner nations. The intimation of a retreat may have prompted Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines, which has expressed interest in joining the TPP in a second round, to announce recently that his country would “separate” from the United States and seek closer ties with China, which is continuing to press negotiation on the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal. Earlier this month, China completed a study for the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, a multilateral agreement that is expected to be offered at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit Nov. 19-20. Meanwhile, in Japan, a special TPP committee of the lower house of the Diet had to reschedule local public hearings on the agreement, which is seeing increasing opposition, with 8,000 people rallying last week in Tokyo against it and lawmakers of the Japanese Democratic and Communist parties boycotting a TPP hearing by the special committee. NPPC strongly supports the TPP, which would exponentially increase U.S. pork exports to the Pacific Rim countries and create 10,000 U.S. jobs, and is urging Congress to pass the agreement this year.



The United States and Argentina are continuing efforts that could lead to closer commercial ties, a move that would bode well for the U.S. pork industry. This week in Washington, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker met with Argentine Minister of Production Francisco Cabrera for the U.S.-Argentina Commercial Dialogue, an effort to boost trade and investment between the countries. Earlier in the week, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency said it would undertake development programs in Argentina that will help support the economic reforms being pushed by Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, who also wants to open the country’s markets and borders. The pro-trade Macri assumed office last December, vowing to move Argentina away from 12 years of protectionist rule under Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The efforts follow a March meeting between Macri and President Obama where the discussion centered on trade. Macri indicated his country could eventually sign a free trade agreement with the United States, and Obama said the two nations could more immediately address trade issues through a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement. (TIFA provides a structure for dialogue on trade and investment issues between the United States and countries with which it does not currently have an FTA.) NPPC continues to look for opportunities to expand exports in Latin America, and, among the non-FTA partner nations there, Argentina presents the best opportunity for expanding U.S. pork exports. NPPC already has been working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in negotiating an export certificate with Argentina that would open that country’s market to more U.S. pork. Compared with other nations in the Southern Hemisphere, Argentina has a high per capita income and a large population, and it has experienced a very significant increase in pork consumption over the past 10 years, with future increases expected.



South Dakota pork producer James Leafstedt this week was presented the United States Animal Health Association’s (USAHA) top award for members. Leafstedt was commended for his service as former USAHA president and recognized for his leadership during the elimination of swine pseudorabies (PRV) from the United States. He served on the National PRV Control Board that helped write the state-federal-industry cooperative program standards that provided guidance for the eradication of PRV. 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. NPPC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom serves on the USAHA’s Pharmaceutical Committee.


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