Trade, ASF Prevention, Proposition 12 Top NPPC's 2021 Priorities – Pork Magazine

Credit: Original article can be found here

By Nick Giordano, NPPC Vice President and Counsel, Global Government Affairs 

As the dust settles on a difficult 2020, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is gearing up for a busy 2021. A new administration and congressional turnover means educating policymakers about pork producer priorities. 

1.    Trade
Trade remains crucial to the continued success of the U.S. pork industry and in 2021, NPPC is advocating for the U.S. to re-join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). After the U.S. withdrew from TPP, the remaining countries formed a new trade agreement, CPTPP, leaving the U.S. pork industry at a competitive disadvantage in the region. The CPTPP trade agreement includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam, which are among some of the largest pork-consuming nations in the world. 

Re-entering CPTPP would provide significant, new market opportunities for U.S. exporters, promoting economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region, and expanding demand for U.S. food and agricultural products among nearly 500 million consumers in CPTPP-partner countries. According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, the CPTPP deal would exponentially increase U.S. pork exports and create more than 10,000 new U.S. jobs. 

NPPC will also continue to maintain a high profile in the ongoing free trade agreement negotiations with the UK. A UK deal must be negotiated and signed by April 1 in order to qualify for protection under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). TPA, which expires in the summer of 2021, only allows for a “yes” or “no” vote, shielding trade deals from amendment.  

2.    Foreign Animal Disease Prevention
Another top priority is strengthening biosecurity at our borders to ensure African swine fever (ASF) and other foreign animal diseases remain outside the country. As ASF continues to spread throughout Asia and Europe, the threat to the U.S. swine herd remains. The consequences of an outbreak would be swift and significant, as evidenced by Germany’s recent spate of ASF cases in wild boar. The country now has more than 100 ASF cases, and German pork exports have been suspended to a number of its biggest markets. We can’t let our guard down. 

That’s why it’s so important to remain vigilant. We need to ensure U.S. agriculture inspectors at our borders and ports are fully funded. The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) collects what’s known as Agricultural Quarantine Inspection (AQI) fees. These fees pay for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture inspections. Due to the recent economic downturn and COVID-related travel restrictions, there has been a significant reduction in the collection of these user fees.

NPPC has been leading the charge to ensure the government continues to adequately fund border inspections. NPPC formed an ad hoc coalition of more than 200 agriculture, trade and related groups, which have sent several letters to Congress, warning of the major funding shortfall that could severely weaken agricultural border inspections. The coalition urged Congress to appropriate funding to address what could be a $630-million shortfall through fiscal year 2021. If the funding shortfall is not fixed during the lame duck session, NPPC will continue to aggressively pursue the issue in 2021.  

NPPC will continue to work closely with USDA to ensure its Foot-and-Mouth vaccine bank remains well stocked. Earlier this year, USDA announced its first significant vaccine purchase. NPPC was instrumental in advocating for establishment of an FMD vaccine bank as part of the 2018 Farm Bill. 

3.    Proposition 12
NPPC will continue to push back against California’s Proposition 12. NPPC, along with the American Farm Bureau Federation, sued the state of California over Proposition 12, which prohibits the sale of pork raised through production methods that don’t meet its arbitrary criteria. We expect this to be a long legal battle and our strategy includes appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. In June, we filed our opening brief before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and one week later, we received a significant boost when the federal government, a bipartisan group of 20 state attorney generals, and numerous trade and business groups filed separate briefs in support of the case. 

These are just a few of the many issues NPPC will be working on behalf of U.S. hog farmers in 2021. 

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