For the Week Ending September 28, 2018

September 28, 2018


Advancing one of NPPC’s top trade policy priorities, the Trump administration announced on Wednesday that the United States would begin trade talks with Japan, the U.S. pork industry’s No. 1 value market, importing in 2017 more than $1.6 billion of U.S. pork. This positive development comes at a time when U.S. pork is at risk of losing market share because of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP minus the United States) trade agreement and an agreement Japan has negotiated with the European Union. These deals are set to become effective early next year.



The Trump administration this week reiterated its intention to provide to Congress by Sept. 30 the text of the trade agreement with Mexico. The administration has indicated that it will go ahead with a deal whether Canada is included or not. NPPC strongly supports the trade deal with Mexico and is optimistic that Canada will sign onto the agreement. NPPC also continues to advocate for a quick resolution to the aluminum and steel issues with Mexico so that country will drop its punitive 20 percent tariff on U.S. pork.



The United States and South Korea this week signed a revised free trade agreement between the countries. Since the Trump administration initiated a renegotiation of the agreement last year, NPPC strongly advocated for maintaining the favorable terms enjoyed by U.S. agriculture, including zero-tariff access for pork. These terms are maintained in the new agreement. Last year, the United States shipped $475 million of pork to South Korea – a 30 percent increase over 2016 – making it the No. 5 U.S. pork export market.



The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will hold two public listening sessions on possible changes to the Hours-of-Service (HOS) rules that govern some truck drivers. The regulations limit certain commercial truckers to 11 hours of driving time and 14 consecutive hours of on-duty time in any 24-hour period. Once drivers reach that limit, they must pull over and wait 10 hours before driving again. FMCSA previously requested comments on changes related to the HOS rules’ limit on short-haul trips, the exception for adverse driving conditions, the 30-minute rest break provision and the sleeper berth rule to allow drivers to split their required 10-hour rest period. Comments are due to the agency by Oct. 10. The listening sessions will be held today in Joplin, Mo., and Oct. 2 in Orlando, Fla. The sessions will be webcast. NPPC has been working with FMCSA to make the HOS rules compatible with hauling livestock. It also is seeking a limited exemption for drivers transporting livestock from the agency’s Electronic Logging Device mandate, which requires truckers to replace paper driving logs with electronic devices that record driving time, engine hours, vehicle movement and speed, miles driven and location information, electronically reporting the data to federal and state inspectors to help enforce the HOS rules. (For more information on the listening sessions and on submitting written comments, click here.)



U.S. tariffs on auto imports likely would prompt retaliation from some of American agriculture’s biggest trading partners, leading to catastrophic financial harm to farmers, warned NPPC in comments submitted Wednesday to the Senate Committee on Finance. In its ongoing efforts to realign U.S. trade policy, the Trump administration is considering duties on autos and auto parts under the 1962 Trade Expansion Act’s Section 232 for national security reasons. NPPC reiterated its concerns with regard to existing U.S. tariffs imposed on metal imports based on national security concerns and said this week it cannot afford the retaliation that will come should tariffs on automobile imports be implemented. U.S. tariffs on auto imports could affect Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and at least four members of the European Union – Germany, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom. All are customers for U.S. pork. Canada, Japan, Mexico and South Korea are four of the U.S. pork industry’s top five export markets.



NPPC is joining with more than 100 public- and private-sector U.S. organizations in a global initiative to create international standards and codes of practices to prevent unsafe residues of veterinary drugs in food, to develop integrated surveillance that can help mitigate risks associated with antibiotic use and to minimize the development and spread of antimicrobial resistance in humans and animals. Known as the “AMR Challenge” and being led by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the initiative is bringing together pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, food animal producers and purchasers, medical professionals, government health officials and leaders from around the world to collaborate on efforts to address antibiotic resistance, which in the United States annually affects about 2 million people, with 23,000 of them dying. The international effort will focus on improving antibiotic uses, including ensuring people have access to them when needed; developing new vaccines, drugs and diagnostic tests; improving infection prevention and control; and enhancing antibiotic use data sharing and data collection. NPPC will provide pork industry knowledge and scientific evidence to inform the development of the standards on antibiotic residues and utilize communications channels to increase industry knowledge and adoption of standards that ultimately are accepted by the World Organization for Animal Health and the U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food-safety standards-setting organization.