For the Week Ending November 9, 2018
CALIFORNIA PROP. 12 BAD FOR FARMERS, CONSUMERS, SAYS NPPC
California voters Tuesday approved Proposition 12, an initiative that bans, starting in 2020, the sale in the state of pork and veal from animals raised anywhere in the country in housing the state banned through a 2008 ballot initiative. (In 2010, the California Legislature banned the sale of eggs from hens housed in so-called battery cages regardless of where they are raised.) Prop. 12 also requires egg-laying hens in the state to be cage free. NPPC, which strongly opposed it, maintains that the initiative violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause and that it will be costly for farmers and consumers. The organization is supporting federal legislation that would prohibit states from regulating agricultural production practices outside their borders and is backing lawsuits – now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court – filed by attorneys general from nearly two dozen states against California’s egg sales ban and a 2016 Massachusetts ballot measure that banned the sale of eggs, pork and veal from animals raised in housing prohibited by the same measure.
DESPITE CHANGE IN PARTY CONTROL, NPPC EXPECTS HOUSE TO SUPPORT FARMERS
While the results of Tuesday’s mid-term congressional elections saw Democrats take control from Republicans over the U.S. House for the 116th Congress that begins early next year – and put more Republicans in the Senate – NPPC still expects lawmakers to approve a Farm Bill that supports American agriculture, promotes rural prosperity and protects livestock from foreign animal diseases. It also expects them to support reforms that allow farmers to hire and maintain a legal, productive workforce and to pass free trade agreements that let U.S. pork producers export more product. Democrats in 2019 and 2020 will be in charge of the House’s various committees, including the Agriculture panel, which is expected to be chaired by Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
CHINA-U.S. TRADE WAR: RELIEF FOR PORK SOON?
Conversations between President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could result in an end to the trade war now raging between the United States and China. The two leaders are expected to meet at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires later this month. U.S. pork is currently on two Chinese retaliation lists, with tariffs of 50 percent. (That’s in addition to China’s 12 percent World Trade Organization tariff.) NPPC has been urging both countries to resolve their trade issues. The Chinese market holds tremendous potential for U.S. pork exports.
EU-JAPAN TRADE DEAL MOVES FORWARD; NPPC URGES AGREEMENT WITH JAPAN
The European Parliament’s international trade committee Monday approved the EU-Japan trade agreement, setting up a final vote by the parliament in mid-December. If it’s passed then, the deal likely would go into effect in early 2019. Japan also is part of the recently finalized Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP-11, which will go into effect Dec. 30. To ensure the U.S. pork industry maintains market share in Japan, its No. 1 export market, NPPC is urging the Trump administration to quickly negotiate a free trade agreement with the Asian nation.
USTR HEARING WILL REVIEW COUNTRIES’ GSP ELIGILIBITY
The Office of U.S. Trade Representative will hold a public hearing Nov. 29 to review the trade-related practices of countries that benefit from the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), including Bolivia, Ecuador, Georgia, Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand and Uzbekistan. GSP gives duty-free treatment to certain goods entering the United States. NPPC in May petitioned USTR to review Thailand’s GSP eligibility and in a June hearing called for the country’s preferential access to the U.S. market to be revoked or reduced if it does not end an unwarranted ban on U.S. pork.
U.S., U.K. MAKING PROGRESS ON FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
In meetings this week, the United States and the United Kingdom continued to lay the groundwork for a free trade agreement (FTA) after the U.K. leaves the European Union – the so-called Brexit – early next year. NPPC supports a U.S.-U.K. FTA as long as it eliminates all tariffs and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork exports.
PERDUE MAINTAINS USDA HAS AUTHORITY OVER CULTURED PROTEIN
Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told farmers in Oklahoma this week that it’s clear the commercialization and packaging of laboratory-produced cultured protein (L-PCP) should fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but authority over production of L-PCP is undecided. USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are working amicably to determine which agency will regulate it. NPPC has asked the Trump administration to establish regulatory authority over L-PCP within USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Services.