For The Week Ending Dec. 6, 2013
FOR THE WEEK ENDING DEC. 6, 2013
CALL TO ACTION: SUPPORT THE KING AMENDMENT
The 2013 Farm Bill conferees are still considering the so-called King Amendment, which prohibits a state from excluding lawfully produced agricultural products from other states from being sold within its borders. Sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, the House-approved provision is strongly supported by NPPC. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is the chief opponent of the amendment and has a $100,000 misinformation ad campaign against it. HSUS falsely has claimed that the amendment “could wipe out dozens of state laws on farm animal confinement, puppy mills, horse slaughter, shark finning, and even dog meat.” The group even has suggested that child labor laws and environmental regulations would be abrogated by it. Contact your elected officials and urge them to support the King Amendment here.
NPPC REMAINS OPTIMISTIC ABOUT FIVE-YEAR FARM BILL
The four Farm Bill Conference Committee principals – House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Ranking Member Thad Cochran, R-Miss. – this week continued meetings to discuss major issues between the Senate- and House-passed farm bills. NPPC will continue to keep members up to date on Farm Bill developments.
COLOMBIAN PRESIDENT VISITS THE UNITED STATES
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia visited the United States this week and met with President Obama to discuss important bilateral issues, including the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement. The free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia was implemented in May 2012 and will phase out tariffs on most pork products by 2016; tariffs on bacon and pork skin were eliminated when the agreement was approved. When fully implemented, Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes calculates that the U.S.-Colombia FTA will generate millions of dollars in additional U.S. pork exports, raise live U.S. hog prices by $1.15 and create 919 new jobs from increased pork exports alone. Through October of this year, U.S. exports of pork and pork products to Colombia have reached over 26,000 metric tons, an increase of 77 percent compared with the same time last year, making Colombia the ninth largest export destination for U.S. pork and the largest export market in South America. NPPC has worked closely with U.S. and Colombian officials on the removal of unscientific and burdensome trichinae mitigation measures that Colombia requires the U.S. pork industry to meet. Colombia has finalized the regulation to remove the requirement. NPPC is urging the expeditious implementation of the mitigation requirement. The removal of the trichinae mitigation requirement and the ability to ship fresh/chilled pork will further boost U.S. pork exports.
SOUTH KOREA EXPRESSES INTEREST IN JOINING THE TPP
The government of South Korea officially declared its interest in joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and announced that it would begin bilateral talks with the current 12 TPP nations. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman welcomed the expression of interest from Korea but noted “given that prior to entry any new member needs to complete bilateral consultations with current TPP members and those members need to complete domestic processes, as appropriate, the possible entry of any new country would be expected to occur after the negotiations among the current members are concluded.” The TPP is a comprehensive regional trade negotiation that includes the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Those countries account for nearly 40 percent of global economic output. The United States implemented a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea (KORUS) last March. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the FTA with Korea when fully implemented will create 9,100 direct U.S. pork industry jobs, increase annual U.S. pork exports by $687 million and add $10 to the price producers receive for each hog. The Philippines and Taiwan have also recently expressed interest in joining the TPP.
USDA FSIS RELEASES SALMONELLA ACTION PLAN
USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Wednesday released its Salmonella Action Plan, outlining how to address lowering Salmonella contamination rates in meat and poultry. While prevalence of Salmonella on pork products has fallen dramatically over the years, there are some points in this strategy that are pork-specific. The FSIS Administrator established the Strategic Performance Working Group (SPWG) to implement performance reviews and to improve agency performance. The SPWG hosted a series of teleconferences to identify potential actions to be taken to decrease Salmonellosis. The proposed actions include: exploring developing a Salmonella sampling program for pork products, including generating a performance standard; publishing a directive with instructions to FSIS inspection personnel on the verification activities related to sanitary dressing procedures in hog slaughter operations; developing standards and, if needed, sampling programs for hog carcasses and pork products; and collecting samples of beef and pork tissue containing specific lymph nodes from establishments where warranted. FSIS ceased sampling pork carcasses due to the percent of pork carcass samples positive for Salmonella being consistently very low. Pork products are not currently sampled for Salmonella testing. NPPC will be working with FSIS as they advance this strategy.
USTR MEETS WITH LEADERS IN VIETNAM AND MALAYSIA
United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman met with government officials in Vietnam and Malaysia this week ahead of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministerial meeting beginning Dec. 7 in Singapore. The United States is working to resolve outstanding issues and to complete TPP negotiations; however, issues remain with Vietnam and Malaysia, both of which offer potential for expanded U.S. pork exports. Vietnam – with domestic pork consumption of 2 million metric tons per year – offers great potential for increased U.S. pork exports, especially pork variety meats. Vietnam has started to remove barriers to U.S. variety meat exports; however, several non-tariff barriers remain, including a zero-tolerance policy for pathogens on raw meat products; and “Circular 25,” a burdensome regulation requiring U.S. exporting establishments to supply confidential company information and reference prices or minimum invoice prices for certain kinds of pork imports, including shoulders and ribs. Malaysia also has excellent potential for increased U.S. pork exports. However, all raw, unprocessed pork was designated ineligible for export to Malaysia in 2012, and there has been a de facto ban on U.S. pork products since 2011. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, increased pork exports resulting from a TPP agreement would create more than 15,500 direct and indirect U.S. pork-related jobs. Pork producers’ support for a final TPP Agreement is conditioned on the elimination of all tariff and non-tariff barriers to U.S. pork exports in each of the TPP nations. This outcome for pork was achieved in every other U.S. Free Trade Agreement, and TPP should be no different.
WTO MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE SEEKS TO STREAMLINE TRADE
United States Trade Representative Michael Froman this week attended the Ninth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia. The Ministerial Conference is the most important decision-making body of the WTO and meets every two years. The goal of the conference was to conclude trade texts on three main issues – trade facilitation, some issues in agriculture and export competition. The “Bali package” represents the first multilateral agreement since the creation of the WTO in 1995.
FARM BILL NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE
The 2013 Farm Bill conference committee negotiations will continue. The House will begin recess Dec. 13, and the Senate will likely recess on Dec. 20, though no set date has been announced.
TPP NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE IN SINGAPORE
Officials from the 12-member countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will meet in Singapore Dec. 7-12.