For the Week Ending November 1, 2019
USMCA PASSAGE IS TOP PRIORITY, NPPC TELLS CONGRESSIONAL BRIEFING
Passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement is the top priority of the National Pork Producers Council, NPPC Vice President and Counsel, Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano told a packed briefing Thursday morning on Capitol Hill. “Zero-tariff trade in North America has fueled the expansion of the U.S. pork industry and supported 16,000 U.S. jobs,” he said at the event for media and congressional staffers, hosted by Agri-Pulse. NPPC is urging Congress to ratify the agreement before the end of this year, providing continued economic certainty and growth to all three North American countries. “Passage will demonstrate to our global trading partners, Congress and the administration that we can work together and implement trade deals….We are hopeful USMA will be the first of many trade deals that the U.S. will negotiate in the coming years,” he added. A USMCA agreement provides much-needed market certainty for U.S. pork producers, ensuring zero-duty market access to two of their largest export markets. U.S. Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture, told the briefing he believes “we’re close to reaching an agreement” on the few remaining sticking points, including issues relating to labor, the environment and enforcement. “We’re not there yet, but we’re close,” he added. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) echoed similar remarks on Thursday, saying the chamber is close to ratifying USMCA. A video of Giordano’s full remarks at the USMCA briefing is available here.
U.S., CHINA ON HUNT FOR NEW LOCATION TO SIGN INTERIM TRADE DEAL
President Trump had hoped to sign the “phase one” trade agreement with China while at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Chile next month, but this week Chile cancelled the summit due to domestic unrest. In a tweet Thursday morning, President Trump wrote, “China and the USA are working on selecting a new site for signing of Phase One of Trade Agreement, about 60% of total deal, after APEC in Chile was canceled due to unrelated circumstances. The new location will be announced soon. President Xi and President Trump will do signing!” he added. In a statement on Thursday, China’s commerce ministry said talks between the two countries continue and lead negotiators from both countries will speak on Friday. Phase one of the trade agreement included a pledge for China to buy $40 billion-$50 billion in U.S. agricultural products, including pork. However, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative plans to maintain some tariffs on Chinese goods for three years, according to a Federal Register notice published Friday. NPPC is seeking permanent removal of all punitive tariffs on U.S. pork. With African swine fever dramatically reducing domestic production, the United States is well positioned to meet China’s need for safe, nutritious and affordable pork and to manage an emerging food price inflation challenge. In doing so, U.S. pork can single handedly put a huge dent in the United States’ trade imbalance with China.
BILL INTRODUCED TO PROVIDE GREATER FLEXIBILITY TO LIVESTOCK HAULERS
Reps. Angie Craig (D-Minn.) and Lloyd Smucker (R-Pa.) introduced legislation on Wednesday that would give farmers and ranchers more flexibility when transporting live animals and perishable goods. Specifically, the Responsible & Efficient Agriculture Destination Act (H.R. 4919) would make it possible for drivers hauling live animals and perishable goods to finish their routes if they are within 150 air miles of their destination. Additionally, the bill allows this exemption to be utilized year-round rather than only during harvesting seasons. Original co-sponsors of the bill include Reps. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) and Cindy Axne (D-Iowa). NPPC supports this common-sense legislation to provide regulatory relief to livestock haulers. Similarly, NPPC supports the Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposal to increase flexibility for truckers, including livestock haulers. The Hours of Service (HOS) of Drivers proposal revises rules around the amount of time truckers can drive their loads and when they are required to rest between drives. In its recently submitted comments on the proposal, NPPC urged the agency to allow for other time splits for livestock haulers and eliminate the distinction between on-duty and driving time, among other suggestions.
UK HOLDING EARLY GENERAL ELECTION TO HELP BREAK BREXIT LOGJAM
In an effort to break the country’s Brexit logjam, Britain’s Parliament approved legislation this week for an early general election on Dec. 12, 2019. Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed the early election effort, tweeting that “we need a new Parliament so we can get Brexit done and the country can move on….” The EU has already extended the UK’s Brexit deadline to Jan. 31, 2020, although the exit could happen earlier if legislators agree to a deal. The early general election means that after Nov. 6, Parliament will be dissolved, with every seat in the House of Commons on the ballot. This will be Britain’s first December election since 1923. In October 2018, the Trump administration announced its intention to negotiate a trade agreement with the U.K. NPPC is supportive of negotiations, provided the agreement eliminates tariff and non-tariff trade barriers on pork.
NPPC SPEAKING AT WORLD’S LARGEST CONFERENCE ON ANTI-MICROBIAL RESISTANCE
NPPC Chief Veterinarian Liz Wagstrom is speaking Thursday, Nov. 7 at the World Anti-Microbial Resistance Congress event, held in Washington, D.C. The panel, scheduled for 2:10pm ET, will focus on antibiotic use in animal agriculture. Antibiotics have been used to treat and prevent disease in animals for more than 50 years. Among other details, Wagstrom will discuss antibiotic stewardship principles that were developed by the U.S. pork industry and included in its Pork Quality Assurance Plus (PQA Plus) certification program. For more information or to register, click here.