For the Week Ending July 6, 2018

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In response to today’s imposition by the United States of tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese goods, China tacked an additional 25 percent duty on a host of U.S. products, including pork. America’s pork producers now are subject to a tariff of more than 60 percent on product going to the Asian nation. Already subject to a 12 percent tariff, U.S. pork was hit with an extra Chinese duty of 25 percent on April 2. That retaliation was in response to U.S. tariffs on imported steel and aluminum; today’s duty was in response to U.S. tariffs prompted by China’s actions related to theft of U.S. intellectual property and forced transfers of U.S. technology. According to Iowa State University economists, the initial retaliation cost U.S. pork producers from early March through May about $18 per hog, or more than $2 billion on an annualized basis. NPPC has been urging the Trump administration to quickly resolve the trade dispute with China and to take steps to mitigate the financial harm pork producers and other U.S. farmers are experiencing because of the retaliatory tariffs.



President Trump this week announced his intention to delay signing a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) until after the midterm elections this fall. The president’s announcement comes as the United States is engaged in trade disputes with Canada and Mexico (and China) over U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The United States, Canada and Mexico launched NAFTA renegotiation talks in August 2017, with initial plans to finalize a deal before Mexico’s July 1 presidential elections. With current trade disputes continuing, protecting and maintaining zero-duty market access into Canada and Mexico is more important than ever for America’s pork producers and remains a top priority for NPPC.



NPPC late last week joined other agricultural and business associations in filing a motion to intervene in a lawsuit over the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia on June 11 issued a preliminary injunction against implementation of the regulation in 11 states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin – that challenged the rule. (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming in August 2015 obtained a preliminary injunction – for those states – in the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota.) The Obama-era WOTUS rule expanded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s jurisdiction over various waters to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters. It had included only “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. The Trump EPA announced a year ago that it would repeal and replace the WOTUS rule; it also delayed its effective date until 2020. Also last week, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt issued a supplemental proposed rule to clarify the agency’s efforts to rescind the rule and to work with stakeholders, including farmers, on a new regulation to protect the nation’s waterways. Earlier this year, NPPC and other agricultural and business groups asked the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas for a stay of the WOTUS rule, arguing that the EPA’s repeal-and-replace process likely will be subjected to legal challenges and that “a nationwide preliminary injunction is imperative.”



The U.N.’s Codex Alimentarius Commission, the international food safety standards-setting body, convened this week in Rome, and NPPC’s Courtney Knupp, deputy director of International Trade Policy, Sanitary & Technical Issues, attended as the delegate for the International Meat Secretariat. At the meeting, multiple issues were discussed, including objections to advancing standards that are outside of the scope of Codex and the commission’s interactions with the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization.