For The Week Ending April 12, 2013
PORK PRODUCERS FLY INTO WASHINGTON, MEET WITH MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
NPPC this week held its spring Legislative Action Conference in Washington, D.C. The biannual “fly-in” drew from around the country approximately 100 pork producers, who lobbied their congressional lawmakers on issues of importance to the U.S. pork industry, including EPA’s release of confidential CAFO data, feral swine eradication, the Animal Drug User Fee Act, the 2013 Farm Bill and Japan’s inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks. NPPC staff presented pork producers with updates on legislative issues. Speakers at the conference included Acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and USDA Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Michael Scuse. USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Deputy Administrator Dr. Craig Morris was presented with NPPC’s “Golden Tractor Award for Meritorious Federal Service” for his strong support of the U.S. pork industry. Producers and Capitol Hill staff and lawmakers also attended NPPC’s Capitol Hill-famous “Rack of Pork” congressional reception.
U.S. WELCOMES JAPAN INTO TPP TRADE TALKS; DEAL WOULD BE GOOD FOR U.S. PORK
The Obama administration today agreed to accept Japan into the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade negotiations, a move hailed by NPPC. The TPP is a regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which account for a combined 30 percent of global GDP. Japan already has free trade agreements with seven of the 11 TPP countries: Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Japan’s economy is second only to China’s in the region, and it is the fourth largest U.S. agricultural export market overall. U.S. food and agricultural exports to Japan in 2012 totaled $13.5 billion. Japan is the top value export market for U.S. pork, accounting for almost $2 billion in 2012 sales. NPPC said that with Japan in it, TPP is the single most important trade negotiation ever for U.S. pork and many other U.S. agricultural products. Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes estimates that a South Korea-Colombia-type outcome for U.S. pork in the TPP negotiation – meaning the elimination of all tariff and non-tariff barriers – will create 27,000 direct and indirect pork industry jobs in the United States. The agreement reached between Japan and the United States includes a long phase-out period on auto tariffs and classification of certain industrial products as “sensitive” for the United States and certain agricultural products as “sensitive” for Japan. The White House must give Congress 90-days’ notice that it plans to include Japan in TPP negotiations.
NPPC MEETS WITH JAPANESE AMBASSADOR
NPPC President Randy Spronk, NPPC President-Elect Howard Hill, CEO Neil Dierks and Vice President and Counsel for International Affairs Nick Giordano this week met with Japan Ambassador to the United States Kenichiro Sasae to discuss Japan’s request to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations. NPPC supports the Obama administration’s decision to allow Japan to join TPP negotiations. The TPP is a regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Japan has received approval to join the negotiations from seven other member countries and is awaiting approval from Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Japanese officials hope to join the negotiations as early as July.
NPPC BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETS WITH AMBASSADORS OF NEW ZEALAND AND VIETNAM
New Zealand Ambassador to the United States Mike Moore hosted a dinner for the NPPC board of directors this week. Vietnam Ambassador to the United States Nguyen Quoc Cuong and Simon Newnham, Minister Counsellor for trade at the Embassy of Australia, were also in attendance. The NPPC board and embassy officials discussed a number of market access issues for pork, the importance of reciprocal market access and Japan’s inclusion in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Current TPP member countries account for a combined 30 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). In 2012, the U.S. exported over $240 million to Vietnam, Australia, and New Zealand. Increased market access to these countries through a comprehensive TPP agreement will increase U.S. exports by hundreds of millions of dollars.
NPPC, NCBA CALL FOR REFORM OF RENEWABLE FUELS STANDARD
Following a Wednesday announcement by House lawmakers that they will introduce legislation to address issues with the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and NPPC urged Congress to reform the biofuels mandate. Reps. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., Jim Costa, D-Calif., Steve Womack, R-Ark., and Peter Welch, D-Vt., at a press conference today said they would introduce the “RFS Reform Act” to “help ease concerns created by the ethanol mandate and protect consumers, energy producers, livestock producers, food manufacturers, retailers and the U.S. economy.” The RFS last year required 13.2 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol to be blended into gasoline; it mandates that 13.9 billion gallons be blended in 2013, an amount that will use about 4.9 billion bushels of corn, or about 40 percent of the nation’s crop. NCBA and NPPC last fall called on lawmakers to make changes to the RFS, following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s refusal to use the safety valve built into it to waive the biofuels mandate in the wake of a severe drought that drastically cut the corn crop. The groups reiterated that request Wednesday. NCBA and NPPC want a reform bill that ensures market stability, feed availability and the long-term sustainability of rural American economies. Click here to read NPPC’s press release.
ANIMAL DRUG USER FEE ACT HEARING HELD
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Tuesday held a hearing on “Reauthorization of Animal Drug User Fees: ADUFA and AGDUFA.” Testimony was presented by U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Dr. Bernadette Dunham, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine;, Dr. Richard Carnevale, with the Animal Health Institute; Dr. Mike Apley, with Kansas State University; and Dr. Lance Price, with the George Washington University. NPPC strongly supports reauthorization of ADUFA –without amendments – because it benefits pork producers and animal drug companies. It allows FDA to collect from animal health companies user fees for conducting drug reviews and approvals. The user fees supplement FDA’s funding, allowing pork producers to gain access to important animal health products in a timely manner. Click here to view the hearing and read testimonies.
NPPC WEIGHS IN ON MEAT LABELING REGULATIONS, FEARS TRADE RETALIATION
In comments filed Thursday, NPPC expressed concern that Canada and Mexico could retaliate against the United States because proposed regulations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture may not make a meat labeling law compliant with U.S. international trade obligations. The World Trade Organization last year ruled that the U.S. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) law violates U.S. trade obligations under the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade. Canada and Mexico brought cases on COOL to the WTO in 2011. The international trade body gave the United States until May 23, 2013, to make its meat labeling law compliant with WTO rules. USDA recently issued proposed regulations changing the labeling law, but Canadian officials this week threatened retaliation against U.S. products because they maintain the regulations won’t make COOL comply with WTO rules. NPPC supports an approach to labeling that provides important information to consumers, complies with U.S. international trade obligations and does not undermine U.S. meat supply chains and unnecessarily raise costs. Specifically, NPPC supports an approach that will treat as “U.S. origin” hogs, pork and other meat products that have value added at federally inspected facilities. The requirement that producers gather and maintain information on where livestock was born and raised should be eliminated. At a minimum, said NPPC in its comments – the deadline for which was today – if USDA moves forward with the proposed regulations, it should establish an effective date that is 180 days after the latter of issuance of final regulations, or of a determination by the WTO that the final regulations are consistent with U.S. international trade obligations. Click here to read NPPC’s press release.
USDA PUBLISHES FIRST U.S. PORK EXPORT REPORT
USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) last week published its first report on U.S. pork exports. Within two weeks of export, FAS now will publish weekly reports detailing the destination of U.S. pork products. Under the previous system, reports were issued two months after the export date. Pork producers and those interested in pork trade now will be able to see accurate, timely data on the volume of pork being sent to export markets. During the reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting law in 2010, NPPC urged that pork export sales be added to the Foreign Agriculture Service export reports to bolster market transparency and better monitor activity on pork exports. Click here to see the most recent report.
NPPC GRASSROOTS PROGRAMS HELD IN WASHINGTON, D.C.
A varied group of 18 individuals in the pork industry participated in the second of three sessions of NPPC’s Pork Leadership Institute (PLI) this week in Washington, D.C. The program provides producers with information about the pork industry’s legislative issues and teaches them how to interact with their lawmakers. Also in town were 12 swine veterinarians for the third and final session of NPPC’s Swine Veterinarian Public Policy Advocates Program. For more information on PLI, contact Bryan Humphreys at 515-278-8012; for information on the swine veterinarians program, contact Dr. Liz Wagstrom at 202-347-3600.
NPPC PARTICIPATES IN MEETING ON VETERINARY OVERSIGHT OF ANTIBIOTICS USE
Dr. Rick Tubbs, a graduate of NPPC’s Swine Veterinarian Public Policy Advocacy Program, this week travelled to Bowling Green, Ky., to participate in a public meeting on veterinary oversight of antibiotics use in livestock production jointly sponsored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Tubbs provided feedback on challenges faced by the animal agriculture industry and practicing veterinarians to FDA’s implementation of an initiative for the judicious use of medically important antimicrobials in medicated feed or drinking water of food-producing animals. NPPC believes that the loss of and restricted access to products expected with the implementation of FDA’s guidance on the use of antibiotics in livestock and poultry production likely will disproportionately affect small producers, have a negative effect on animal health and increase the cost of producing food while not improving public health.
AGRICULTURE GROUPS TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE ON JAPAN ENTERING TPP
NPPC, the American Farm Bureau Federation, Cargill Incorporated, the National Milk Producers Federation, the National Potato Council and the U.S. Dairy Export Council Monday, April 15 will hold a press conference to discuss the benefits to U.S. agriculture of having Japan in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade negotiations. The United States today agreed to accept Japan into the TPP talks.
ANIMAL AGRICULTURE ALLIANCE SUMMIT TO BE HELD IN MAY
The 12th annual Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholders Summit, titled Activists at the Door: Protecting Animals, Farms, Food & Consumer Confidence, will be held in Arlington, Va., May 1-2. Click here to register.