For the Week Ending December 7, 2018
NPPC CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF TARIFFS ON MEXICAN METAL
NPPC, while pleased with the new United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) on trade, late last week called for the end of a dispute that could undermine the trade deal and that already has cost U.S. pork producers an estimated $1.5 billion this year, according to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes. NPPC is asking for the removal of tariffs on Mexican metals imports so that Mexico will lift its retaliatory tariffs of 20 percent on U.S. pork. Hayes estimates that live hog values this year have been reduced by $12 per animal because of the retaliatory tariffs, which were imposed in June. The loss estimate of $1.5 billion is based on an expected total harvest of 125 million hogs in 2018. The Mexican tariffs, along with China’s retaliatory tariffs, have turned what promised to be a profitable year into a year of losses for export-dependent U.S. pork producers.
U.S., CHINA REACH TRADE TRUCE; DAMAGES TO U.S. PORK ESTIMATED AT $1 BILLION
President Trump met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last weekend in Argentina, during the G20 Leaders Summit. The meeting focused on the trade differences between the countries. The two leaders agreed on a 90-day trade truce between the countries, during which no new tariffs will be imposed on each other’s products. U.S. pork is subject to 50 percent retaliatory tariffs China imposed in response to U.S. tariffs on its steel and aluminum imports and related to its theft of U.S. intellectual property. The tariffs are taking a severe financial toll on the U.S. pork industry, with Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes estimating industry losses at $1 billion. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to end the dispute with China as quickly as possible.
U.S. GOVERNMENT PASSES LEGISLATION TO AVOID PARTIAL SHUTDOWN
Congress on Thursday passed a two-week “continuing resolution” to keep the government funded through Dec. 21, avoiding a partial shutdown. The previous funding bill would have expired Dec. 7. Passage of the legislation pushes debate over funding for President Trump’s border wall to later this month, a heated topic among members of Congress. Trump has requested $5 billion in funding, while congressional Democrats, who take over the House next year, only will support reauthorizing about $1.3 billion for border security.
NOMINEES AWAIT FULL SENATE APPROVAL
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry this week confirmed by voice vote the nominations of three candidates for important position at the U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dr. Mindy Brashears for undersecretary for food safety; Scott Hutchins for undersecretary for research, education and economics and chief scientist; and Naomi Earp for assistant secretary for civil rights. The nominees now await approval by the full Senate.