For the Week Ending May 24, 2019
NPPC ATTENDS WHITE HOUSE EVENT ANNOUNCING TRADE RELIEF PACKAGE
On Thursday, the Trump administration announced a trade relief package in response to the U.S. trade dispute with China. Three National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) members—President and North Carolina producer David Herring, Minnesota producer Randy Spronk and Illinois producer Phil Borgic—joined President Trump and USDA Secretary Perdue for the White House announcement. “We thank President Trump for recognizing that our patriot farmers have borne the brunt of China’s trade retaliation,” said Herring. “The U.S. pork industry has been one of the most adversely affected sectors, receiving a one-two punch in the form of a 50 percent punitive tariff from China on top of the existing 12 percent duty and, until recently, a 20 percent punitive tariff from Mexico. This trade aid will help repair some of the damage inflicted upon U.S. pork producers.” In addition to resolution with the China trade dispute, NPPC urges the administration to ratify the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, which preserves zero-tariff access to markets that represent more than 30 percent of total U.S. pork exports and for the administration to quickly complete a trade deal with Japan, the largest value market and the second largest volume market for U.S. pork exports. NPPC’s two press releases on the event are here and here. Additionally, Spronk appeared on “Fox and Friends” Friday morning to discuss Thursday’s announcement. “As pork producers, we really are long-term players in agriculture and just want a level playing field. We don’t want aid, we want trade,” he said.
AFRICAN SWINE FEVER PREVENTION HEAVILY FEATURED IN HOUSE HEARING
On Tuesday, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture held a hearing on animal pest and disease prevention and response capabilities. In remarks during the hearing, USDA Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach highlighted the prevention efforts between agency and industry on African swine fever (ASF). “We’re working with the industry. I probably speak once a week with a leader at NPPC or one of their veterinarians on staff,” he said. Additionally, Ibach talked about the agency’s recently announced surveillance plan to monitor and test for ASF. It is a highly contagious and deadly disease affecting both domestic and feral (wild) pigs. It does not affect human health and cannot be transmitted from pigs to humans. ASF has never been detected in the United States.
U.S., CANADA AGREE TO CONTINUE TRADING PORK SHOULD THERE BE ASF OUTBREAK
On Wednesday, Canada and the U.S. announced a joint agreement to continue to allow the trading of pork in approved disease-free zones in the event African swine fever (ASF) is found in either country. Zoning is an internationally recognized tool used to help manage diseases and facilitate international trade. If a case of ASF is identified, geographic boundaries are defined to contain the outbreak. The importance of zoning and safe trade was echoed by government and industry representatives at the ASF Forum, an international event hosted in Ottawa from April 30-May 1. NPPC CEO Neil Dierks spoke at the event, which was also attended by NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom. “A global threat, ASF cannot be addressed in isolation. Only by working together with governments, industry and other stakeholders can we best address the threat of ASF while maintaining trade of pork and pork products which are important to the North American economies,” the joint agreement noted.
NPPC PRESIDENT: COMPANY OWNERSHIP SHOULDN’T BE FACTOR IN USDA FOOD PURCHASE PROGRAM
Pork producers have been suffering as a result of China’s trade retaliation, to the tune of about $2.5 billion. As part of the administration’s trade aid announced last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a food purchase and distribution program, in which the agency buys pork and other farm products for various food-assistance programs, North Carolina pork producer and NPPC President David Herring explained in an op ed that ran this week in The Hill. The program’s overarching goals are to provide demand stimulus for the entire U.S. pork industry. “Unfortunately, some people are focused on whether the meat companies have some degree of foreign ownership. That is irrelevant. Since when is foreign ownership of U.S. companies that employ thousands of Americans, purchase millions of U.S. hogs and produce U.S. pork a problem? If foreign-owned companies are not permitted to participate in government purchase programs, the programs likely will not work,” he added.
NPPC SUPPORTS QUICK RATIFICATION OF USMCA
NPPC strongly supports ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which preserves zero-tariff trade for U.S. pork to two of its largest export markets. The administration is eager for Congress to approve the trade agreement by this summer, and President Trump told Democratic leaders earlier this week to pass the trade pact before working on an infrastructure bill. Additionally, in remarks to reporters on Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) urged Canada to ratify USMCA now that the U.S. has lifted the steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico. Reports indicate that Canada may introduce legislation to ratify the new North American free trade agreement as early as next week. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that he is confident Mexico will ratify the agreement, but failed to mention a timing.
NPPC HIGHLIGHTS DIRECT OUTREACH, COALITION PARTNERSHIPS, PR CAMPAIGN THAT HELPED EFFORT TO RETURN MEXICO TO ZERO-TARIFF PORK TRADE
As of May 20, zero-tariff pork trade with Mexico was restored after the U.S. lifted the tariffs on Mexican and Canadian steel and aluminum. Mexico had implemented a 20 percent tariff on U.S. pork, which was taking $12 off the price of every hog sold in the U.S., representing a total annual cost of $1.5 billion. NPPC dedicated considerable resources to influencing the end of the trade dispute that had significantly disrupted exports to U.S. pork’s largest market. The removal of metal tariffs on Mexico moved to the top of a long list of trade-related NPPC issue management priorities. NPPC employed a strategy that included direct outreach to key trade policy influencers, coalition partnerships and a public awareness campaign to keep the interests of U.S. pork producers top of mind. Read our latest Meat of the Matter for more information and further details. With the removal of metal tariffs on our North American trading partners, NPPC will now focus for swift ratification of USMCA and remain focused on resolution of the trade dispute with China and the expeditious completion of a trade agreement with Japan. Read more about the issue in our latest “Meat of the Matter.”