For the Week Ending December 6, 2019

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NPPC and the American Farm Bureau Federation jointly filed a legal challenge Thursday to California’s Proposition 12, which imposes animal housing standards that reach outside of California’s borders to farms across the United States and beyond. “Proposition 12 revolves around a set of arbitrary standards that lack any scientific, technical or agricultural basis, and will only serve to inflict further harm on U.S. hog farmers,” said Jen Sorenson, NPPC vice president. Beginning Jan. 1, 2022, Proposition 12 prohibits the sale of pork not produced according to California’s highly prescriptive production standards. The proposition applies to any uncooked pork sold in the state, whether raised there or outside its borders. Currently, less than 1% of U.S. pork production meets Prop 12’s requirements. In order to comply with Proposition 12, U.S. pork producers need to start making investment decisions today to be ready by the implementation date. The complaint asks the courts to strike Proposition 12 as invalid under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. To read the full release, click here.

This was a momentous week for the U.S.-Japan trade deal, as Japan’s legislative Diet approved the agreement on Wednesday. This allows the agreement to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. “I commend Japan’s quick action to approve these important trade agreements between our two nations, which are the world’s first and third largest economies…..Now, U.S. farmers and ranchers will have significantly improved access to Japan’s market, and America’s leadership in the growing digital economy will continue to flourish to the benefit of all our workers,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Next week, President Trump will sign an implementing proclamation on the agreement. Once implemented, the trade agreement will place U.S. pork producers back on a level playing field with international competitors in one of our most important export markets. Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist at Iowa State University, estimates exports to Japan could grow from $1.6 billion in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion over the next 15 years under market access terms included in the agreement.

Securing zero-tariff access to China for U.S. pork would be an economic boon for American agriculture and the country, according to an analysis released recently by NPPC. Based on the analysis by Iowa State University (ISU) Economist Dermot Hayes, NPPC said unrestricted access to the Chinese chilled and frozen market would reduce the overall trade deficit with China by nearly six percent, generate 184,000 new U.S. jobs in the next decade and produce $24.5 billion in sales, all in the next decade. “The U.S. pork industry is missing out on an unprecedented sales opportunity in China when it most needs an affordable, safe and reliable supply of its favored protein,” said NPPC President David Herring, a hog farmer from Lillington, N.C. “The United States is the lowest-cost producer of pork in the world, but with 72 percent tariffs we are not nearly as competitive as Europe, Brazil, Canada and other nations.” NPPC also launched a digital communications campaign [link] to broaden awareness for the unique opportunity for U.S. pork in China. The analysis and campaign received a significant amount of media coverage, including from Politico,BloombergAdams on Agriculture and DTN, and was covered in a Hogs on the Hill blog post.

Mexican negotiators, House lawmakers and the administration continue to work towards a deal on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement. U.S. officials are urging Mexico to accept a compromise deal relating to labor enforcement. Mexican Undersecretary for North America Jesus Seade met twice this week with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. If an agreement is reached shortly, a House vote could be scheduled by Dec. 20. An agreement would provide much-needed certainty for U.S. pork producers, ensuring zero-duty market access to two of its largest export markets. Since the trade agreement was signed last November, NPPC and its members have been aggressively working to ensure ratification, educating lawmakers about the significant benefits that USMCA provides for U.S. hog farmers and becoming a “top ask” during our spring and fall congressional fly-ins. Additionally, NPPC recently launched a new campaign, “It’s Pork O’ Clock Somewhere,” which focuses on the importance of USMCA by highlighting pork and the many ways it’s enjoyed across North America. NPPC urges Congress to quickly reach consensus on any outstanding issues and swiftly bring USMCA up for a vote.  

A House bill to provide congressional funding for more U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agricultural inspectors got a boost recently when four additional lawmakers signed on as co-sponsors. U.S. Reps. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.), Bill Huizenga (R-Mich.), John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and Elaine Luria (D-Va.) joined colleagues in support of H.R. 4482, by Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas). There are now 19 lawmakers who support the bill. The bill authorizes $222 million over three years to enable CBP to hire 240 new agriculture specialists and 200 new agriculture technicians each fiscal year until the shortage is filled. The bill also authorizes 60 new canine teams over the next three years. Rep. Vela’s legislation is a companion to a Senate bill that recently passed by unanimous consent in that chamber. For more than a year, NPPC has led agriculture’s call for a solution to the ag inspector shortage to bolster the nation’s defenses against foreign animal diseases.