Tag Archives: NPPC

Last week, NPPC filed comments on two Massachusetts bills related to Question 3, a 2016 ballot initiative which prohibits the sale of pork produced using certain production methods. In many ways, Question 3 is substantially similar to Proposition 12, a California ballot initiative which passed in 2018. The Massachusetts initiative is set to begin on Jan. 1, 2022, but first requires the commonwealth’s attorney general to draft implementation rules—which have not been completed.

In its comments on S. 36 and H. 864, the National Pork Producers Council said it supports language that would place the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources in charge of promulgating Question 3 regulations. Currently, the attorney general’s office has exclusive jurisdiction. Additionally, while not included in the bills, NPPC is urging for Question 3’s implementation date to be delayed by two years, to Jan. 1, 2024.

“Meeting the requirements of Question 3 is difficult enough to do in normal conditions, requiring significant investments of labor and capital, as farmers must convert to a compliant system in order to meet Question 3’s requirements. The time and cost of this challenge has been exacerbated over the last two years as the industry struggles to overcome the challenges – both to our workers and to the marketplaces for pigs and pork – caused by COVID-19,” NPPC wrote.

More than 70 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter today to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai seeking her support for enhanced Vietnamese market access for U.S. pork. Vietnam represents a tremendous opportunity for U.S. pork exports, and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) appreciates the tremendous support for one of its top trade priorities.

“We thank the lawmakers, led by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), for their support in recognizing the importance of the Vietnamese market to U.S. pork producers,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “Vietnam represents a significant opportunity for U.S. hog farmers, yet we’re hamstrung by unjustified tariff and non-tariff barriers, allowing global competitors to take advantage of the supply shortfall.”

Vietnam’s domestic pork production industry is struggling with African swine fever, yet unwarranted tariff and non-tariff barriers restrict the United States from supplying this major pork-consuming nation with affordable, high-quality pork, explained the letter to Tai. “Domestic pork producers need a level playing field to compete in this critical market, particularly after being devastated by trade retaliation and the global pandemic,” the letter noted.

Last year, Vietnam took an initial step forward in addressing the U.S. pork tariff disadvantage when, from July-December 2020, it temporarily reduced its Most Favored Nation tariff rates from 15 percent to 10 percent for frozen U.S. pork products. As a result, U.S. pork exports doubled during that timeframe, compared to the first half of the year. “The surge in exports during the tariff reprieve, coupled with Vietnam’s growing population and cultural preference for high-quality pork, demonstrates that the United States is barely scratching the surface of its export potential to Vietnam,” the letter added.

 

 

Expanding market access to Vietnam, visa reform to address a livestock agriculture labor shortage and foreign animal disease prevention are the focus of the National Pork Producers Council’s (NPPC) Legislative Action Conference (LAC) this week. Pork producers from across the country are gathering virtually to address these and other issues with lawmakers.

“Trade remains crucial to the continued success of the U.S. pork industry, and Vietnam represents a significant market for our producers,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “Vietnam’s domestic pork production industry is struggling with African swine fever, yet unwarranted tariff and non-tariff barriers restrict the United States from supplying this major pork-consuming nation with affordable, high-quality pork.”

During LAC this week, NPPC members are urging lawmakers to sign a letter co-sponsored by Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Darin LaHood (R-Ill.), Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.) to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, seeking her support for enhanced Vietnamese market access for U.S. pork. A copy of the letter is available here.

Domestic pork consumption in Vietnam is greater than 2.5 million metric tons (MT) per year, more than Mexico, where the United States exported 688,252 MT, valued at $1.1 billion in 2020. Last year, U.S. pork producers only exported 25,183 MT to Vietnam, valued at $54 million.

Additionally, NPPC is advocating for meaningful labor reform. Pork producers offer jobs with good pay and benefits, but most Americans do not live near our hog farms or harvest facilities and rural populations continue to decline, causing the U.S. pork industry to be largely dependent on foreign-born workers. Unfortunately, current visa programs fail to meet the workforce needs of pork producers and other year-round livestock farmers. NPPC is urging Congress to address labor reform that both opens the H-2A visa program to year-round labor, without a cap, and provides legal status for agricultural workers already in the country.

NPPC’s members are also addressing these foreign animal disease prevention and preparedness priorities with lawmakers during this week’s LAC:
– Full congressionally appropriated funding—$635 million—for 720 new U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture inspectors, as authorized by 2020 legislation, to keep American agriculture safe from foreign animal and plant diseases;
– Appropriations of $30 million as authorized by Congress for the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which provides disease surveillance and diagnostic support in cases of large-scale animal disease outbreaks.; and
– Tighter USDA regulation for the safe importation of rescue dogs from foreign animal disease-positive countries to protect U.S. livestock.

 

 

To combat rising pork prices and stabilize supplies, the Philippine government announced today it will provide more market access for pork imports. Securing better access to the Philippines market has been a top, long-term trade priority for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC).

“Since 2019, the Philippines has been battling African swine fever (ASF), and as a result, domestic production has declined, supplies have tightened, and pork prices have spiked,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “While we are saddened by the spread of ASF in the Philippines, we appreciate the opportunity to send more high-quality U.S. pork to ease the shortage and the spike in prices.”

Under today’s announcement, beginning April 7, tariffs for imported pork under the increased minimum access volume (MAV) of 404,210 metric tons (MT) would be reduced from 30 percent to five percent for the next three months, and then 10 percent thereafter. Tariffs for imported pork above the MAV would be reduced from 40 percent to 15 percent for the next three months, and then increase to 20 percent thereafter. The reductions would be in effect for one year.

This announcement comes on the heels of NPPC’s meeting with the Philippine Ambassador to the U.S. Jose Manuel Romualdez. NPPC has been pressing both the U.S. and Philippines governments to lower pork import tariffs since ASF outbreaks began in the Philippines.

From January-December 2020, the U.S. exported 49,660 MT of pork worth $121 million to the country. The expanded market access is expected to generate significantly more U.S. pork exports to the country. With a population of 109 million and pork as the preferred protein of choice, pork consumption will continue to increase as the economy grows.

The Asia-Pacific region is the fastest growing economic region of the world with significant opportunities for U.S. pork exports. NPPC will continue to advocate for the United States to rejoin the CPTPP trade agreement.