Legislative Watch: The U.S. House votes to move farm bill to conference, Japan and China are making trade deals, and crop and livestock reports to be available at the same time for all.

P. Scott Shearer, Vice President

July 20, 2018

5 Min Read
Farm bill progress, trade moves and hot dogs
uschools/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The House of Representatives voted to go to conference with the Senate to resolve the differences between the House of Representatives’ Farm Bill and the Senate bill. The House adopted Congressman Collin Peterson’s, D-Minn., Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, motion to instruct the House conferees to support mandatory funding for USDA’s animal health laboratory network, animal disease preparedness and response program and a national animal vaccine bank. The House bill contains $450 million in mandatory funding over five years while the Senate bill authorizes the programs but does not provide mandatory funding.

The House leadership named 47 Farm Bill conferees representing nine committees. Thirty-one members of the House Agriculture Committee are conferees representing the House Agriculture Committee or other committees. The House conferees are:

House Agriculture Committee:
Republicans - Chairman Mike Conaway (Texas), Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (Penn.), Bob Goodlatte (Va.), Frank Lucas (Okla.), Mike Rogers (Ala.), Austin Scott (Ga.), Rick Crawford (Ark.), Vicky Hartzler (Mo.), Rodney Davis (Ill.), Ted Yoho (Fla.), David Rouzer (N.C.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), and Jodey Arrington (Texas).

Democrats – Ranking Member Collin Peterson (Minn.), David Scott (Ga.), Jim Costa (Calif.), Tim Walz (Minn.), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), Jim McGovern (Mass.), Filemon Vela (Texas), Michelle Lujan Grisham (N.M.), Ann Kuster (N.H.), and Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.).

House Education and the Workforce Committee:
Republicans - Chairwoman Virginia Foxx (N.C.) and Rick Allen (Ga.)

Democrat – Alma Adams (N.C.)

House Energy and Commerce Committee:
Republicans - John Shimkus (Ill.) and Kevin Cramer (N.D.)

Democrat – Paul Tonko (N.Y.)

House Financial Services Committee:
Republicans - Chairman Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Sean Duffy (Wis.)

Democrat – Ranking Member Maxine Waters (Calif.)

House Foreign Affairs Committee:
Republicans - Chairman Ed Royce (Calif.) and Steve Chabot (Ohio)

Democrat – Ranking Member Eliot Engel (N.Y.)

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:
Republicans - Mark Walker (N.C.) and James Comer (Ky.)

Democrat - Stacey Plaskett (Virgin Islands)

House Natural Resources Committee:
Republicans - Chairman Rob Bishop (Utah) and Bruce Westerman (Ark.)

Democrats – Ranking Member Raul Grijalva (Ariz.)

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee:
Republicans - Ralph Abraham (La.) and Neal Dunn (Fla.)

Democrat – Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson (Texas)

House Transportation and Infrastructure:
Republicans Jeff Denham (Calif.) Bob Gibbs (Ohio)

Democrat – Cheri Bustos (IL)

The Senate is expected to vote next week to go to conference and name its seven conferees.

EU-Japan sign trade agreement

The European Union and Japan, two of the world’s largest economies, this week signed the EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement.

According to the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the EPA will phase out Japan’s import duties on EU processed pork products (to zero by year six for ground seasoned pork and canned hams and by year 11 for ham and bacon). For chilled/frozen pork cuts, the gate price will be maintained but the 4.3% ad valorem duty (drops to 2.2% upon implementation and will be phased out. The maximum duty that can be charged on products clearing below the gate price will be dramatically reduced (from the difference between the cleared value and 524 yen or a maximum of 482 yen/kg, to a max of 125 yen/kg on implementation and down to a maximum of 50 yen/kg by year 10).

The agreement will lower the duty rate for EU beef exported to Japan from 38.5% to 9% over 15 years. This is the same rate that is in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership which Japan ratified earlier this month.

China open for French and UK beef

China is looking elsewhere for agricultural products now that the U.S. tariffs have gone into effect. A number of U.S. agricultural products have seen a decline in sales or cancellation of shipments.

With a duty of 37-50% on U.S. beef, China recently lifted its ban on imports of beef from both France and the United Kingdom. France has not been allowed to export beef to China for 17 years and the U.K. for 20 years following the outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in both countries. France will be able to begin exporting beef after their plants are officially registered. The UK still needs to negotiate an export protocol before it will be able to export beef to China.

Japan now open for U.S. lamb and goat

Japan will now allow U.S. sheep and goat meat exports for the first time since 2003 following the discovery of BSE in the U.S. cattle herd. Japan imported a record $168 million in 2017 with Australia and New Zealand the top exporters.

Crop & livestock reports same time for everyone

USDA has announced that beginning August 1 the public and media will receive at the same time, 12 p.m. (Eastern), the market-effecting crop and livestock reports released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and World Agricultural Outlook Board. This is to make certain that the public has access to the information at the same time.

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said, “These reports are greatly anticipated each time they are released, and they can have significant market impacts. Everyone who has interest in the USDA reports should have the same access as anyone else.”

Currently, the news media receives the information 90 minutes before it is released to the public.

Hutchins nominated Under Secretary

Dr. Scott H. Hutchins has been nominated by President Trump to be USDA’s Undersecretary of Research, Education and Economics. Hutchins is currently with Corteva Agriscience and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska. He is a past president of the Entomological Society of America.

Hot Dog Day on Capitol Hill

Nearly 1000 Senators, Congressmen, Congressional staff, industry leaders and supporters consumed hundreds of hot dogs, corn dogs, brats and sausages at this year’s Hot Dog Day on Capitol Hill sponsored by the North American Meat Institute. Hall of Famer Tim Raines (Montreal Expos), Lou Piniella (New York Yankees), and Bert Campaneris (Oakland A’s) signed autographs. This is one of the most popular events on Capitol Hill.

- Shearer is with Bockorny Group, Washington, D.C.

About the Author(s)

P. Scott Shearer

Vice President, Bockorny Group, Inc.

Scott Shearer is vice president of the Bockorny Group Inc., a leading bipartisan government affairs consulting firm in Washington, D.C. With more than 30 years experience in government and corporate relations in state and national arenas, he is recognized as a leader in agricultural trade issues, having served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S.-China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority. Scott was instrumental in the passage of China Permanent Normal Trade Relations and TPA. He is past chairman of the USDA-USTR Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Animals and Animal Products and was a member of the USAID Food Security Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Bockorny Group, Scott served as director of national relations for Farmland Industries Inc., as well as USDA’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs (1993-96), serving as liaison for the Secretary of Agriculture and the USDA to Congress.

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