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Trade questions remains: Will agriculture be part of EU negotiations?Trade questions remains: Will agriculture be part of EU negotiations?

Legislative Watch: New trade agreements; Ag petitions DOT over hours of service; World Food Day; Federal deficit highest since 2012.

P. Scott Shearer

October 19, 2018

3 Min Read
Trade questions remains: Will agriculture be part of EU negotiations?
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The U.S. Trade Representative has officially informed Congress that the Trump Administration intends to negotiate individual trade agreements with Japan, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. The administration plans to address both tariff and non-tariff barriers in the agreements. 

Robert Lighthizer says, “We are committed to concluding these negotiations with timely and substantive results for American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.” 

U.S. agriculture has been calling for new trade agreements since President Trump pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership in January 2017. Japan is especially important with it being the fourth largest export market for U.S. agriculture.

The National Pork Producers Council commended the administration for its “ambitious agenda.” NPPC has been calling for a trade agreement with Japan which is the number one pork export market for the U.S.  NPPC said it is supportive of trade negotiations with the UK as long as they are willing to eliminate all non-tariff barriers and embrace U.N. food-safety standards. NPPC says it will not support a trade deal with the UK “unless it agrees to equivalence, meaning that all USDA-approved pork and pork products must be eligible for export to the U.K., without additional requirements.”

The question still remains if agriculture will be a part of the EU negotiations. The EU is still saying it will only cover industrial goods and not agriculture.

The negotiations with Japan and the EU could begin in 90 days. The negotiations with the United Kingdom will start after it exits the EU which is expected on March 29, 2019. USTR will need to let Congress know what its objectives are with each negotiation, 30 days prior to any formal negotiations. 

AG Groups Petition DOT Over HOS
Organizations representing livestock, bee and fish transporters petitioned the Department of Transportation asking for additional flexibility on Hours of Service requirements. 

The petition asks for a five-year exemption from limits on hours of service for truckers and proposes specific limits. The organizations are proposing approval to drive up to 15 hours with a 16-hour on-duty period, following a 10-hour consecutive rest period. Current rules limit drive time to 11 hours and limit on-duty hours to 14.

The organizations says, “We are concerned that the 11- and 14-hour rules were not drafted with livestock haulers in mind and thus do not accommodate the unique character of their loads and nature of their trips.” The current requirements “place the well-being of livestock at risk during transport and impose significant burdens on livestock haulers, particularly in rural communities across the country.”

Those signing the petition were the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Livestock Marketing Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Beekeeping Federation, American Honey Producers Association and the National Aquaculture Association.

World Food Day
October 16 was World Food Day in which the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the world’s nations promoted global awareness and action for those who suffer from chronic hunger.  One in nine people suffer from chronic undernourishment according to FAO’s most recent report, “State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World.”

U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), David Young (R-IA), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced H.Res. 1113 to designate October 16 as “World Food Day.”

Federal Deficit Highest Since 2012
The federal deficit for fiscal year 2018 increased to $771 billion which is an increase of 17% over last year. This is the highest deficit since 2012. 

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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