For the Week Ending September 8, 2017
NPPC MOBILIZES TO PROTECT KOREAN MARKET
NPPC learned last week that President Trump was close to invoking the 180-day termination notice for its free trade agreement with Korea (known as KORUS). The council mobilized quickly, working over the Labor Day weekend to urge the administration to reconsider its position, emphasizing the considerable benefits of the agreement for the industry and U.S. economy. According to Iowa State economist Dermot Hayes, if KORUS is terminated, live hog prices would fall by 3.8 percent, or $4.71 per animal, and the United States would lose the South Korean pork market to the European Union, Chile and other countries with preferential trade access. For now, the administration has pulled back on issuing a notice of termination, but appears resolved to renegotiate at least some terms of KORUS. NPPC will continue to strongly advocate for maintaining the zero-tariff treatment for pork and other benefits of the agreement for U.S. pork producers in the industry’s fifth largest export market.
ROUND TWO OF NAFTA TALKS COMPLETED
The United States, Mexico and Canada completed the second round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks, a five-day meeting that ended on Sept. 5 in Mexico City. While media reports suggested considerable differences on key issues, the lead negotiators signaled solid progress. At a press conference following the talks, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said, “I am hopeful we can arrive at an agreement that helps American workers, farmers and ranchers, while also raising the living standards of workers in Mexico and Canada.” The third round of talks is set to take place Sept. 23-27 in Ottawa. Retaining zero tariff rates and the enormous benefits realized by the U.S. economy, agriculture industry and pork sector are among NPPC’s top trade advocacy priorities. Withdrawing from NAFTA would cost the U.S. pork industry $1.5 billion.
NPPC JOINS CALL FOR INCREASED USDA MARKET DEVELOPMENT FUNDING
NPPC, as a member of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports, was among the signatories to a letter to the House Committee on Agriculture emphasizing the need for enhanced international market development. The coalition is calling for increased U.S. Department of Agriculture funding for the agency’s key export programs: the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) initiative. The coalition asked the committee to consider $400 million and $69 million of increased annual funding for MAP and FMD, respectively, through the 2018 Farm Bill. These programs have not seen budget increased since 2002.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or (402) 403-0104.