For the Week Ending August 9, 2019

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A week after U.S. and Chinese negotiators completed another round of trade talks and President Trump’s decision to impose a 10 percent tariff on another $300 billion worth of Chinese goods beginning Sept. 1, the situation again heated up this week. On Monday, China halted all purchases of U.S. farm goods and later that same day, the White House designated China as a currency manipulator. Meantime, in a tweet Tuesday morning, President Trump wrote that more trade aid could be available next year. “As they have learned in the last two years, our great American Farmers know that China will not be able to hurt them in that their President has stood with them and done what no other president would do. And I’ll do it again next year if necessary,” he wrote. NPPC continues to stress the importance of ending the trade dispute with China that has placed a 50% punitive tariff on U.S. pork, in addition to the regular tariff of 12%, putting the U.S. pork industry at a significant disadvantage to its global competitors. Were it not for China’s trade retaliation, U.S. pork producers would be in a strong position to capitalize on an unprecedented sales opportunity in China, where domestic production is down significantly as African swine fever has ravaged the country’s swine herd.

This week marked an auspicious anniversary–it’s been one year since African swine fever (ASF) was reported in China’s swine herd. In a Hogs on the Hill blog post issued Thursday, NPPC outlined how it has been estimated that the number of sows China has lost to ASF is more than the entire U.S. sow herd. “While this deadly disease–affecting only pigs and with no human health or food safety risks–has thankfully not made its way to the United States, it’s important we remain vigilant to prevent the spread of ASF and other animal diseases.” In the blog post, NPPC outlined how it is requesting Congress to immediately provide critically needed funding for 600 new Bureau of Customs and Border Protection agricultural inspectors. Additionally, NPPC is urging USDA to use the funds provided by Congress in the 2018 Farm Bill for a Food-and-Mouth-Disease vaccine bank, needed to quickly contain and eradicate an outbreak and prevent catastrophic financial losses for the agriculture economy. Read the full blog post here.

U.K International Trade Secretary Liz Truss was in Washington, D.C., this week for a visit to work towards a trade deal with the United States. Truss met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and meetings with U.K.-U.S. business representatives in Washington and New York City. In October 2018, the White House announced plans to negotiate a trade agreement with the U.K. NPPC is supportive of negotiations, provided the agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff trade barriers on pork and embraces Codex and other international production standards. Given the United Kingdom’s population of 66 million and cultural and culinary tastes similar to those of the United States, a trade agreement with the country, in our view, offers the potential for a major increase in UK demand for U.S. agricultural products, including pork. However, for that potential to be realized, it is critically important that the United States use the trade agreements negotiations to ensure that U.S. pork products enter the United Kingdom duty free and not subject to the many European Union sanitary phytosanitary (SPS) measures that currently restrict U.S. exports to the United Kingdom, a member of the EU. Addition, NPPC seeks full recognition by the UK of the equivalence of UK and U.S. production practices for pork and acceptance of pork from all USDA-approved facilities.

On Monday, the U.S. Deputy United States Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney and African Union Commission Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga signed a joint statement to discuss and implement an African continental free trade agreement. “The United States and the African Union share a mutual desire to pursue deeper trade and investment ties beyond the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is scheduled to expire in 2025, eventually leading to a continental trade partnership between the United States and Africa that supports regional integration,” according to the joint statement. The U.S. pork industry faces a number of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade that prevent the industry from reaching its potential. NPPC is hopeful that this development brings us closer to resolving the numerous issues preventing our access.