For the Week Ending November 13, 2020
JOE BIDEN PREPARES TO TAKE OFFICE AS 46TH U.S. PRESIDENT
On Nov. 7, four days after the election, Joe Biden reached the requisite number of electoral votes to become president-elect, with a win in Pennsylvania putting him over the 270-vote threshold. “NPPC looks forward to working with the Biden administration on issues of importance to America’s hog farmers,” said NPPC President Howard “AV” Roth, a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wis. “On top of this list is the enormous opportunity represented by U.S. participation in the CPTPP trade agreement. CPTPP countries are among the largest pork-consuming nations in the world. The United States produces the highest quality and most affordable pork in the world, and we are eager to compete on a level playing field in these high-growth markets,” he added. Meantime, on Tuesday President-elect Biden’s transition team announced individuals who will help oversee operational handoffs at federal agencies. For USDA, Biden’s transition team has named Robert Bonnie, who was USDA’s undersecretary for natural resources and the environment from 2013-2017, as the lead contact. Heading the transition review team for the U.S. Trade Representative will be Jason Miller, who was deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the National Economic Council under President Obama, while leading the EPA transition team is Patrice Simms, with Earthjustice. A full list of transitional team members is available here.
NPPC’S NICK GIORDANO RECEIVES TOP LOBBYIST AWARD
Nick Giordano, NPPC’s vice president and counsel, global government affairs, was among 21 association lobbyists honored this week with the 2020 Top Lobbyist Award by the National Institute for Lobbying and Ethics (NILE). The organization highlighted efforts by Giordano and NPPC to help U.S. pork producers weather the COVID pandemic. Read NILE’s press release here.
COVID RELIEF PACKAGE NEGOTIATIONS REMAIN AT IMPASSE
The prospects for a COVID relief package this year continued to dwindle this week, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remained at odds over the size—and price—of the effort. Pelosi has been advocating for a broader, $2 trillion measure, while McConnell has been pushing for a more targeted, $500 billion bill. “I do think there needs to be another package. Hopefully we can get past the impasse we’ve had now for four or five months and get serious,” McConnell said. Pelosi continues to stand firm in wanting a larger bill, although on a joint call Thursday, President-elect Joe Biden, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reiterated the urgent need for Congress to pass a COVID relief package in the lame duck session. U.S. hog farmers are facing billions in collective pandemic-related losses and NPPC continues to press for a COVID relief package that includes assistance for U.S. pork producers.
UK, EU LIKELY TO MISS BREXIT TRADE DEAL DEADLINE
The UK and EU are likely to miss their mid-November deadline for a new Brexit trade deal. Twenty-seven EU leaders are meeting Nov. 19 for what is billed as the final deadline for a draft Brexit deal. Negotiators working in London hoped to pass a deal by Nov. 18, allowing time for parliamentary ratification, but several outstanding challenges remain. Without action, EU trade agreements will not apply to the UK after Dec. 31, 2020. Meantime, the UK and New Zealand recently concluded their second round of trade talks, with the third round planned for January 2021. Negotiations focused on a number of areas, including competition, trade in goods, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
EU SLAPS TARIFFS ON U.S. GOODS
On Monday, the European Union imposed tariffs on $4 billion of U.S. goods in retaliation to what the World Trade Organization (WTO) believes are illegal U.S. subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Boeing. The newly imposed 25 percent tariffs on U.S. agricultural goods do not include pork. In October 2019, following a similar WTO decision in a parallel case on European-based Airbus subsidies, the U.S. imposed retaliatory duties that affect EU exports worth $7.5 billion. These duties remain in place. “The United States is disappointed by the action taken by the EU today,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Monday. “The alleged subsidy to Boeing was repealed seven months ago. The EU has long proclaimed its commitment to following WTO rules, but today’s announcement shows they do so only when convenient to them.” The USTR is in negotiating with the EU to resolve this longstanding dispute.
UN CODEX MEETING CLOSE TO FOODBORNE ANTIMICROBIAL RESISTANCE STANDARD
The Codex Alimentarius Commission, which sets international standards for food safety, recently convened its 43rd session, and at the virtual meeting, it moved closer to final approval on a standard to minimize and contain foodborne antimicrobial resistance. If approved, it would be recognized as an official food safety standard around the globe. NPPC, which participated in the meeting as an industry member with the International Meat Secretariat, supports the standard because it is science-based and looks forward to final approval hopefully in the near future.
On Thursday, Nov. 19, NPPC will be participating in the National Association of Farm Broadcasters’ (NAFB) virtual “Trade Talk” event. Every year, the NAFB Convention brings together broadcast professionals, ag industry leaders, and students focused on the agriculture industry. NPPC President-Elect Jen Sorenson, Vice President and Counsel, Global Government Affairs Nick Giordano, Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagstrom, Science and Technology Legal Counsel Andrew Bailey and Assistant Vice President and General Counsel Michael Formica will be available to discuss issues of importance to U.S. pork producers, including passage of a COVID relief measure that includes assistance for U.S. hog farmers in crisis and U.S. participation in the CPTPP trade agreement.