The U.S. and Brazil have agreed on steps to be taken to lower trade barriers on pork, wheat and beef.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro during his visit this week with President Trump announced that Brazil would lift its ban on U.S. pork. Brazil agreed to science-based conditions to allow for the importation of U.S. pork. The National Pork Producers Council has argued that Brazil was using “unscientific mitigation requirements and other sanitary issues” not based on science to keep U.S. pork out of the Brazilian market.
In a joint statement Trump and Bolsonaro also announced Brazil will implement a tariff rate quota, allowing for the annual importation of 750,000 tons of American wheat at zero tariff. Brazil was the fourth largest market for wheat imports in the 2017-2018 marketing year.
Regarding Brazilian beef, the U.S. agreed to “expeditiously schedule” a technical visit by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to audit Brazil’s raw beef inspection, as soon as it is satisfied with Brazil’s food safety documentation.”
USDA continues efforts to prevent ASF
Last week USDA along with U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 1 million pounds of Chinese pork trying to enter the U.S. illegally. This was part of USDA’s ongoing efforts to prevent African swine fever from entering the U.S.
USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has updated its website to help the public understand ASF and additional information on steps that can be taken to help protect U.S. pigs. The information can be found at www.aphis.usda.gov/animalhealth/swine/asf.
USDA has taken proactive steps in its efforts. They include:
- Working with CBP at ports of entry, paying particular attention to cargo, passengers and products arriving from China and other ASF affected countries.
- Increasing detector dog teams with CBP to sniff out illegal products at key U.S. commercial sea and airports. Additional beagles have been trained and placed at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago's O'Hare airports.
- Collaborating with states, industry and producers to ensure everyone follows strict on-farm biosecurity protocols and best practices (including for garbage feeding in states where that is allowed).
- Restricting imports of pork and pork products from affected countries.
- Coordinating closely on response plans with the U.S. pork industry, producers and states to be ready should a detection ever occur in the United States.
- Expanding the testing capabilities and testing capacity of the National Animal Health Laboratory Network.
NPPC said, “Preventing the spread of African swine fever to the United States is our top priority. We are thankful to CBP and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their increased vigilance and the expanded resources they have put in place to prevent ASF’s spread to the United States, a development that would threaten animal health and immediately close our export markets at a time when we are already facing serious trade headwinds.”
Ag groups oppose administration’s budget cuts
A group of nearly 200 agricultural organizations announced their opposition to the administration’s proposed cuts to agriculture as recommended in President Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget. They called on Congress to reject calls for additional cuts in programs under the jurisdiction of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees.
In a letter to the Senate and House Budget Committee leadership, the organizations reminded them that the 2014 farm bill made a significant contribution of $23 billion to deficit reduction. Also, the 2018 farm bill is budget neutral and is estimated to cost less than the 2014 farm bill.
The group said, “There is no doubt that farm country and the economies of agricultural-based rural America are hurting. While USDA forecasts farm income will rise nearly 10% in 2019, that level is still down 44% from 2013. In addition, farm debt and debt-to asset ratios are climbing, bankruptcies are on the rise and retaliatory tariffs weigh on farm prices and erode our competitiveness in key export markets.”
Those signing the letter included the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Farmland Trust, American Seed Trade Association, Ducks Unlimited, Farm Credit Council, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Corn Growers Association, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Farmers Union, National Pork Producers Council, The Fertilizer Institute and USA Rice.