The International Trade Commission (ITC) says that billions of dollars in U.S. trade with China is limited or lost due to export restrictions created by tariffs, tariff-rate quotas (TRQs), and non-tariff trade barriers (sanitary and phytosanitary). The report said, “Results suggest that the elimination of Chinese tariffs and non-tariff measures could lead to an additional $3.9 billion to $5.2 billion in U.S. agricultural exports to China.” According to the report, Chinese tariffs and TRQs reduced U.S. agricultural exports by approximately $2.1 billion in 2009, while non-tariff trade barriers reduced U.S. agricultural exports by $2.6 billion to $3.1 billion in 2009. Pork, wheat and cotton are hurt the most by the non-tariff barriers. According to the report, China imposes non-tariff barriers that effectively prohibit imports of certain products, such as U.S. beef, strawberries, fresh potatoes, and significantly restrict imports of other U.S. products, such as pork and apples. China is now the second-largest export market for U.S. agriculture, representing 14% of all U.S. agricultural exports. The report was requested by the Senate Finance Committee.

New Standards to Reduce Foodborne Pathogens in Poultry — USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced implementation of revised and new performance standards to reduce the prevalence of salmonella and campylobacter in young chickens and turkeys. FSIS estimates that after two years of enforcing the new standards, approximately 5,000 illnesses will be prevented each year under the new campylobacter standards, and approximately 20,000 illnesses will be prevented under the revised salmonella standards each year. The standards are effective in July.

EPA Delays Greenhouse Gas Reporting Requirement — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final rule delaying for six months the deadline for industries to report annual greenhouse gas emissions, including some confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). EPA says it needs additional time to refine and test its electronic reporting tool. The new deadline is Sept. 30.

Debt Ceiling Looms — Congress returns this week after a district work period recess. The major item on the agenda is to finalize the fiscal year 2011 appropriations. The deadline is April 8, when the latest continuing resolution (CR) expires. Also looming is the debt ceiling of $14.3 billion, which is expected to be reached sometime in April/May. The House Budget Committee plans to release its proposed fiscal year 2012 budget in mid-April.

P. Scott Shearer
Vice President
Bockorny Group
Washington, D.C.