For the Week Ending April 15, 2022

April 15, 2022

AG GROUPS ENCOURAGE USDA TO MOVE FORWARD WITH RULE ON GENE EDITING
NPPC this week joined 10 other agricultural organizations in sending a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack that expressed continued support for USDA’s effort to develop a “modern” regulatory structure for gene editing in livestock. The groups pointed out that gene editing can help America’s food and agricultural producers address challenges such as zoonotic diseases, climate change and a growing global population. Under the current approach, FDA makes case-by-case decisions on gene-edited animals under agency guidance rather than through regulations. “This is an untenable way to regulate,” the organizations said, adding that agricultural producers and technology developers and investors need “clear, predictable criteria” and “federal policies that are risk- and science-based and that permit the meaningful adoption of these [gene-edited] products by producers, supply chains, and consumers.” USDA issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) for regulating gene editing in livestock, and the groups urged the agency to continue that rulemaking process to “ensure U.S. agriculture is sufficiently equipped with the tools needed to address our food production challenges in the future.”

PANAMA MUST FULLY IMPLEMENT TRADE AGREEMENT, GROUPS TELL USTR, USDA
U.S. agricultural organizations, including NPPC, urged the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA to oppose changes to the tariff elimination terms of the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement (TPA) being requested by the Panamanian government. The agreement, which went into effect in October 2012, is still in the process of being fully implemented, with gradual annual tariff reductions and increases in tariff rate quotas (TRQs). Panama’s TRQs for pork, chicken, dairy, corn and several other commodities have been in place for 10 years and several have another 10 years to go before free trade with Panama is achieved. Under TPA, the country also is allowed to impose temporary safeguards on certain import-sensitive agricultural products as it transitions to a more open market. In March, the Panamanian government submitted a formal request to USTR and USDA to revise the agricultural tariff elimination terms of the TPA. In a letter sent Thursday to USTR Ambassador Katherine Tai and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the organizations asked the agencies to support the agreement as passed by Congress and oppose any changes to agricultural tariffs, TRQs or safeguards, noting that “making modifications to an implemented TPA would be an alarming precedent to set.”

NPPC URGES ELIMINATION OF NON-TARIFF BARRIERS IN INDO-PACIFIC TRADE TALKS
In comments submitted this week, NPPC asked the Biden administration to push for elimination of non-tariff barriers to agricultural trade among countries participating in negotiations on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). The IPEF could have more than 1.5 billion consumers and 15 member countries, many of which are among the fastest-growing economies in the world. Currently, almost half of all U.S. pork exports go to countries in the region. Although the Indo-Pacific area represents a significant market for U.S. pork, NPPC pointed out in its comments that pork products face many non-tariff barriers from countries in the region. Thailand, for example, imposes an effective ban on U.S. pork through the imposition of WTO-illegal restrictions on pork produced with the feed additive ractopamine, and Australia restricts U.S. pork imports based on unwarranted concerns over livestock diseases. “Achieving the elimination of unfair agricultural trade barriers would expand U.S. exports to the region and deliver tangible benefits to U.S. pork producers and other agricultural producers,” said NPPC, which also pointed out that a successful outcome in the IPEF talks could serve as a stepping stone for further trade liberalization with Indo-Pacific trading partners.

NPPC TO WEIGH IN ON NEXT DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS
NPPC will submit comments on the 2025-2030 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the government’s recommendations for healthy eating. The guidelines affect all federal food purchasing programs, including the School Lunch program. USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which every five years formulate the guidelines based on input from an advisory committee of health and nutrition professionals and the public, today released the proposed scientific questions that will inform the next edition of the guidelines. Public comments addressing those questions are being accepted from now through May 16.

NPPC’S ZIEBA TO SERVE ON TRADE ORGANIZATION’S BOARD OF DIRECTORS
NPPC Assistant Vice President of International Trade Maria Zieba has been elected to the board of directors of the Washington International Trade Association. WITA is the largest non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing a neutral forum in the nation’s capital for the open and robust discussion of international trade and economic issues.

WHAT’S AHEAD

WORLD PORK EXPO SET FOR JUNE 8-10
NPPC’s annual World Pork Expo will be held June 8-10 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, IA. For more information about and to register for the world’s largest pork industry trade show and exhibition, click here.