Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe Getty Images/Drew Angerer

Pork and beef organizations urge Japan trade deal

Legislative Watch: NPPC and NCBA encourage Trump to discuss free trade agreements with Japan; GIPSA rules delayed; USDA changes animal welfare content on website; two states considering COOL

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will be meeting with President Trump today and the discussions are expected to include bilateral trade issues. The National Pork Producers Council and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association are urging President Trump to begin negotiations with Japan on a free trade agreement. In a joint letter to the president, NPPC and NCBA remind the administration that Japan is the highest value international market for both beef and pork exports and the potential for growth with an FTA.

They say, “There is strong demand for U.S. beef and pork in Japan, and our presence in Japan’s market could be much larger with the reduction or elimination of tariffs and other import measures.”

In fiscal year 2016, the United States exported $1.4 billion in beef products and $1.5 billion in pork products to Japan.

GIPSA’s Farmer Fair Practices Rules delayed until April

The Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration interim final rule regarding unfair or discriminatory trade practices of the meat and poultry industries effective date has been delayed 60 days until April 22.

The new rule overturns seven court cases regarding injury to competition. A producer will no longer have to prove the entire industry was harmed in order to prove a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act. The rule is to assist producers in challenging meat contracting and buying practices of meat companies.

The public comment period on the interim final rule has been extended to March 24. Originally the rule was to go into effect Feb. 21. The public comment period on the two proposed GIPSA rules regarding “unfair practices and undue preferences” and the poultry industry’s “tournament system” have been extended by 45 days. The delay for the interim final rule and propose rules is a result of the White House’s order to allow for a review of rules that were implemented in the closing days of the Obama administration.

USDA changes website involving animal welfare

USDA announced it was removing inspection reports, research facility annual reports and lists of persons licensed and registered under the Animal Welfare Act. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says it “will also review and redact, as necessary, the lists of licensees and registrants under the Animal Welfare Act, as well as lists of designated qualified persons licensed by USDA-certified horse industry organizations.” The decision was made to remove the items after a year-long review on what should be made public by USDA’s APHIS.

States considering COOL

South Dakota and Wyoming state legislators are considering legislation that would require retail beef products sold in their states to include a country-of-origin label. Congress ended the federal COOL requirement in 2015 after the World Trade Organization ruled in favor of Canada and Mexico’s right to impose a $1 billion in tariffs against the United States.

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