For the Week Ending September 1, 2017
PRESIDENT RATCHETS UP NAFTA WITHDRAW THREAT AS TALKS RESUME
Since again raising the possibility at a recent rally in Arizona, President Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw the United States from NAFTA leading up to the resumption of renegotiation talks today in Mexico City. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, withdraw from NAFTA would result in a 5 percent decrease in U.S. pork production. Based on August 2017 live hog prices, that translates to a loss of $12.40 per animal and an aggregate loss to the pork industry of approximately $1.5 billion. Since NAFTA implementation, U.S. trade with Canada and Mexico has more than tripled, growing more rapidly than U.S. trade with the rest of the world. These countries are the two largest destinations for U.S. goods and services, accounting for more than one-third of total U.S. exports. NPPC continues to work with administration officials to preserve these enormous benefits for U.S. pork.
NPPC OPPOSES CALIF. BALLOT INITIATIVE ON ANIMAL WELFARE STANDARDS
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) this week filed to get on the 2018 California ballot an initiative to ban the sale of out-of-state pork produced through the use of gestation stalls. The HSUS proposal also seeks to ban the sale of out-of-state eggs and veal from animals raised in housing that California outlawed in 2008 through a ballot proposition. Initiatives like this and others in states such as Massachusetts are the reason NPPC supports the “No Regulation Without Representation Act of 2017” (H.R. 2887), legislation introduced by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., that would prohibit states from imposing regulatory burdens on businesses, including pork operations, not physically present in the state. NPPC CEO Neil Dierks recently testified on H.R. 2887 before a House Judiciary subcommittee, saying: “Several states – most with little pork production – have banned gestation stalls, either through ballot initiatives or legislation. That was their prerogative, however ill-advised or uninformed their motives were. What NPPC and pork producers object to is one state adopting a law or regulation that dictates the practices of the other 49 states.”
NPPC PRESIDENT TALKS FMD VACCINE BANK WITH HOUSE AG COMMITTEE
NPPC President Ken Maschhoff this week participated in the Decatur, Ill., segment of Conversations in the Field: A Farm Bill Listening Session, presented by the House Committee on Agriculture. When addressing the committee, Maschhoff reinforced the critical importance of 2018 Farm Bill funding for a Foot-and-Mouth disease (FMD) vaccine bank and the need for U.S. agriculture to remain globally competitive through free trade agreements. These two issues will be front and center when U.S. pork producers visit Capitol Hill, Sept. 13-14, as part of NPPC’s Legislative Action Conference (LAC).
TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP TALKS CONTINUE
The 11 countries remaining in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will renew talks to revive the trade agreement next month in Japan. The TPP 11 continued to advance the partnership following U.S. withdraw from Asia-Pacific trade pact earlier this year, a step NPPC strongly opposed. NPPC continues to advocate for bilateral trade agreements with key countries such as Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines.
ADMINISTRATION RENEWS TAX REFORM PUSH
In a speech this week, President Trump laid out key tax reform principles that included establishing a tax code that is easily understandable, globally competitive, provides tax relief for middle-class families and that brings back trillions of dollars in money held overseas. NPPC is working closely with other agriculture groups to ensure that the interests of U.S. pork producers, such as the maintenance of cash accounting and the repeal of the estate tax, are addressed in crafting comprehensive tax reform.
NPPC, OTHERS ASK U.S. TO DISCARD NAFTA PROPOSAL THAT MAY PROMPT GLOBAL TRADE RETALIATION
Dozens of agriculture groups asked the Trump administration to abandon a proposal that would make it easier for U.S. fruit and vegetable growers to bring dumping claims against Mexican produce growers based on seasonal trends and unfair pricing practices. The concerns raised include reduced choice and increased prices for U.S. consumers. In a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, USTR Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, NPPC and more than two dozen agricultural groups argued that the proposal would set a dangerous precedent that would “be seized upon by trading partners across the globe” to protect their own seasonal or regional agricultural interests.
U.K., JAPAN AGREE TO TRADE DEAL NEGOTIATIONS FOLLOWING ‘BREXIT’
Japan and the U.K. signed a “joint vision statement” signaling their intent to negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement following the U.K’s exit from the European Union – the so-called Brexit. Japan has agreed to negotiations with the U.K. based on the recently announced Japan-EU trade agreement. NPPC continues to urge the Trump administration to pursue bilateral agreements, beginning with Japan.
NPPC MEMBERS TO LOBBY CONGRESS ON PORK INDUSTRY ISSUES
NPPC will host its fall Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 13-14. The biannual fly-in draws from around the country more than 125 pork producers, including 15 who will be participating in NPPC’s Pork Leadership Institute, a grassroots leadership development program. Producers will lobby congressional lawmakers on issues of importance to the U.S. pork industry, including asking them to urge the Trump administration to pursue bilateral trade agreements, to rescind regulations detrimental to agriculture and to support establishing and funding a Foot-and-Mouth Disease vaccine bank.
ON-FARM SWINE WELFARE AUDITOR COURSE SET
The Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization (PAACO) will hold a course for potential swine auditors at South Dakota State University’s Swine Education and Research Center Sept. 21-22. Registration ends Sept. 15. The certification course is designed to train potential swine farm auditors in using the National Pork Board’s Common Swine Industry Audit. For more information on the course or to register, contact Collette Kaster, PAACO executive director, at email@example.com, or (402) 403-0104.