For the Week Ending December 8, 2017
NPPC CONTINUES EFFORTS TO KEEP UNITED STATES IN NAFTA
With trade negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico scheduled to meet in Washington, D.C., in mid-month before a formal sixth round of renegotiation talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) set for Jan. 23-28 in Montreal, NPPC is continuing to extol the benefits of the agreement in an effort to keep the United States in the deal. NPPC continues to meet with congressional lawmakers; reach out to the nation’s governors; participate in public events in support of NAFTA; and partner with many other organizations in an effort to preserve and enhance the agreement. This week, NPPC President Ken Maschhoff penned an op-ed that ran in the Capitol Hill publication The Hill, and agriculture economist Dermot Hayes wrote one that appeared in Agri-Pulse. Former NPPC president and Minnesota pork producer Randy Spronk had a blog post on NAFTA – with an accompanying video – published by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Spronk recently participated in a panel discussion on NAFTA hosted by the Chamber.
JAPAN AND EU COMPLETE NEGOTIATIONS FOR BILATERAL TRADE AGREEMENT
The European Union and Japan today announced that they have completed negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement. Announced earlier this year, the agreement, called the Economic Partnership Agreement, gives the EU free trade access for the export of food products, including pork. Japan gains improved access to the EU’s automobile market. With negotiations completed, the agreement needs to be ratified by each country before it is implemented. In addition to advocating for maintaining existing free trade agreements such as NAFTA and KORUS (the free trade agreement with Korea), NPPC is strongly urging the administration to initiate bilateral negotiations with Japan and other high-growth markets.
FDA REPORT NOTES REDUCTION IN LIVESTOCK ANTIBIOTIC SALES
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week issued its annual report on antibiotics sales for livestock agriculture. It showed the first decline in year-to-year sales since recording began. NPPC supports the responsible use of antibiotics and welcomed the news, but endorses the context provided by the Animal Health Institute (AHI) this week. According to AHI, “ Antibiotic sales – whether they go up or down – are not predictors of public health impact. While today’s sales report is an interesting piece of the story, we are more encouraged by the recent data from the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System that shows that for those pathogens that might transfer from animals to humans, resistance rates in people have been stable or declining. This trend of reduced resistance began long before implementation of FDA’s judicious use program and is evidence that producer supported antimicrobial responsible use programs have been working.” Click here to review AHI’s complete statement.
LAWMAKERS WANT DELAY FOR LIVESTOCK HAULERS OF TRANSPORTATION RULE
Senate and House lawmakers this week sent letters to their congressional leaders in support of including in the House-passed Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill language delaying for one year a Department of Transportation (DOT) requirement that livestock haulers install Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) in their trucks. The letters were signed, respectively, by 67 House members and 20 senators. NPPC, which in late November got a 90-day waiver of the ELDs mandate for livestock truckers – it was set to become effective Dec. 18 – has argued that the requirement could have a negative effect on animal well-being and that it is incompatible with DOT’s Hours of Service rules, which limit truckers to 11 hours of driving daily, after 10 consecutive hours off duty, and restrict their on-duty time to 14 consecutive hours, which includes nondriving time. NPPC also has asked DOT to grant livestock haulers a permanent exemption from the ELDs regulation. The organization strongly supports the congressional effort to delay the ELDs mandate for a year.
TAX-CUT BILLS MOVE TOWARD RECONCILIATION
The House this week voted to go to conference with the Senate to reconcile differences between each chamber’s proposed tax bill, and both houses selected their conference committee members. The Senate is expected to vote on going to conference in the coming days. NPPC will evaluate the effect on pork producers of the tax plan that comes out of the conference committee. Expected to be in the final tax measure are provisions that were in both bills, including ones that establish new pass-through tax rates, reduce rates for subchapter C corporations and consolidate individual tax rates; eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), expand the bonus depreciation deduction for certain assets and increase the deduction for Section 179 equipment; and increase the exemption from and eventually repeal the estate tax while retaining stepped-up basis. NPPC supports those provisions.
SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT TO SUBMIT KORUS PLAN TO PARLIAMENT
The South Korean government this week announced it will submit to parliament its plan for renegotiating the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). This comes after the United States and South Korea in early November mutually vowed to expedite the amendment process and after the Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy held two rounds of public hearings on renegotiating the agreement. For the United States to officially begin the renegotiation process, the Trump administration must send a letter to Congress notifying lawmakers of its intention to launch KORUS talks in 90 days, hold two public hearings and disclose 30 days prior to the launch of the talks its goals for the renegotiation. NPPC is continuing to urge the administration to maintain the zero-tariff treatment of U.S. pork going to the industry’s fifth largest export market and to protect other benefits of the agreement.
CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU IN CHINA
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week spent four days in China, where the potential for a free trade agreement between the two countries dominated discussions. With the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trade pact between the United States, Canada and Mexico, currently under renegotiation, Canada is exploring trade deals with other countries. NPPC, likewise, has asked the Trump administration to consider free trade agreements with other countries, particularly in the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region, beginning with Japan. It also is continuing to urge the administration to keep the United States in NAFTA given that Canada and Mexico are two of the U.S. pork industry’s top export markets.
HOGS ON THE HILL BLOG RELAUNCHED
NPPC Thursday relaunched its Hogs on the Hill blog. Billed as “the voice of the U.S. pork industry, with a swine’s eye view of the world,” the blog will give readers information on matters coming out of Congress, the executive branch and even state capitals that affect pork producers.
PORK INDUSTRY SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION OPEN
NPPC now is taking applications for the 2018 Lois Britt Memorial Pork Industry Scholarship program, which is sponsored by CME Group and the National Pork Industry Foundation. The program was introduced in 1990 by CME Group and NPPC to celebrate the 25th anniversary of CME hog futures and was renamed in 2006 to honor late-NPPC board member Lois Britt. A lifetime supporter of agriculture, Britt spent 34 years with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, finishing out her career for 15 years with Smithfield Hog Production, doing public and government relations work. The scholarship program annually awards $2,500 scholarships to 10 students who intend to pursue a career in the pork industry, with hopes that they may emerge as pork industry leaders. Applications for this opportunity are due Jan. 5, 2018. More information on the program is available at www.nppc.org or by clicking here.
U.S. AG CENSUS ON THE HORIZON
American farmers and ranchers, including U.S. pork producers, will soon receive the 2017 Census of Agriculture. The questionnaire, distributed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), can be returned via mail or by online submission forms. All submissions are due Feb. 5, 2018.