For the Week Ending May 14, 2021

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NPPC, through its membership in the Tax Aggie Coalition, sent a letter Monday to congressional leadership reiterating that any tax reform needs to have built-in protections for family-owned farms. “As Congress turns its attention to making investments in our nation’s infrastructure and human resources, we urge you not to alter or eliminate long-standing tax code provisions that are fundamental to the financial health of production agriculture and the businesses that supply its inputs, transport its products, and market its commodities,” the letter explained. The letter focused primarily on the current proposal to eliminate the step-up-in-basis and impose capital gains taxes at death. These proposals have gained significant traction in recent weeks as the Biden administration proposed such measures to pay for upcoming infrastructure investment, with few details on how farms will be exempted. The letter also emphasized coalition support for maintaining Section 199A deductions and “like-kind exchange” provisions as key to maintaining profitability amongst farm operations. To read more about Biden’s tax and infrastructure proposal, click here. To read the coalition’s letter, click here

In testimony to the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai said the nation is “turning the page on erratic trade policies. USTR’s goal is to pursue smarter policies that expand global market opportunities while enforcing global trade standards and ensuring that trading partners live up to their commitments.” During remarks, Tai indicated her office was still conducting trade negotiations with the U.K. and Kenya. On a possible U.K. trade deal, “there have been five rounds, but very critical areas are still open,” she said. Noting that trade isn’t on the back burner, she said there continues to be discussions with both countries. NPPC has been engaged in both negotiations and is advocating for the elimination of all tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Meantime, several senators asked about the status of re-engaging on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). “…[W]e’ve seen through recent history that while there was bipartisan support for TPP, there was also bipartisan opposition to TPP. We are looking for multilateral agreements that have broad, bipartisan support,” she added. Re-joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), which was developed after the Trump administration withdrew from the proposed TPP, is among NPPC’s top trade priorities and would provide significant, new market opportunities for U.S. exporters. 

On Thursday, the Senate approved the nomination of Jewel Bronaugh as deputy USDA secretary. Once sworn in, she will be the first Black woman and woman of color to serve as the agency’s deputy secretary. Earlier in the week, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved her nomination. Most recently, Bronaugh was Virginia’s agriculture commissioner and previously was the Virginia state executive director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency. NPPC congratulations Bronaugh and looks forward to working with her on issues of importance to U.S. pork producers. 

To combat rising pork prices and stabilize supplies, the Philippine government announced last month it would provide more market access for pork imports. This week, Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte signed an executive order reducing the minimum access volume (MAV) for pork imports from 404,210 metric tons (MT) to 254,210 MT. The decision was prompted by concerns from local pork producers, upset with the quota increase. An executive order could also be signed that increases the tariffs—which were reduced last month—by five percent. Under the previously announced tariffs for imported pork under the MAV, those are reduced for twelve months, from 30 percent to five percent for the first three months, and then 10 percent thereafter. Tariffs for imported pork above the MAV are reduced for twelve months from 40 percent to 15 percent for the next three months, and then increase to 20 percent thereafter. Securing better access to the Philippines market has been a top, long-term trade priority for NPPC. The Philippines has been battling African swine fever (ASF) since 2019 and NPPC has been pressing both the U.S. and Philippines governments to lower pork import tariffs since ASF outbreaks began in the country. Learn more here

This week, Thailand’s International Economic Policy Committee announced it will need an additional 50 days—until June 25—to decide whether the country should join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Even if a decision is made, the government still has several more steps in the process, making it unlikely the country would submit its official request this year. The government had previously set a May deadline for deciding whether to join. The CPTPP includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, some of the world’s largest pork-consuming nations. NPPC continues to advocate for Thailand to eliminate its de facto ban on U.S. pork. In 2018, NPPC petitioned the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to review Thailand’s U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) eligibility, which provides developing nations with favorable access to the U.S. market. In November 2020, USTR announced it was suspending $817 million in trade preferences for the country because it hadn’t made sufficient progress providing the United States with “equitable and reasonable market access” for pork products.