The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is very concerned about unfair trade practices that exist in several countries and the extension of preferential trade policies with those nations.
For instance, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a preferential trade program that provides beneficiary countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with access to the U.S. market; the program is set to expire in 2015. In June, the Obama Administration committed to extending the program before it lapses in 2015 but will review certain policies such as unfair trade practices of AGOA countries.
Although NPPC does not currently take a position on the extension of AGOA, U.S. pork producers are very concerned about renewing significant market access benefits to South Africa at the same time that South Africa has a de facto ban on U.S. pork. South Africa blocks U.S. pork exports based on unscientific and unjustified concern about porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), pseudorabies (PRV) and trichinae.
PRRS is not a food safety issue, and there is negligible risk of PRV and trichinae in the U.S. commercial herd.
NPPC reports that pork producers have similar concerns with Thailand and the Philippines, which benefit through the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. GSP is a program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world and provides preferential duty-free treatment for thousands of products from a wide range of countries, including many least-developed/developing countries.
Thailand restricts U.S. pork imports through its non-science-based ban on the importation of pork produced using ractopamine, the reluctance of the Thai Department of Livestock and Development to grant import licenses for uncooked U.S. pork, and an inspection fee of five Baht per kilogram ($160 per metric ton) on imported pork compared with an inspection fee of only $15 on domestic pork.
NPPC says the Philippines has a history of using a number of non-tariff restrictions to limit pork imports; current barriers include the use of a World Trade Organization (WTO)-illegal reference price scheme and cold storage requirements that only apply to imported pork – not to domestic pork.
South Africa benefits from both AGOA and GSP.
NPPC questions whether South Africa, Thailand and the Philippines should be eligible for preferential trade benefits when U.S. pork exports are subject to unscientific and discriminatory trade barriers. GSP legislation expired on Aug. 1, and legislation has been introduced to renew the program through September 2015.
NPPC understands the benefits of trade preference programs not only for the beneficiary nation but also for U.S. consumers and businesses. But, in essence, these preferential arrangements are one-way free trade agreements – the United States takes much of the exports from the beneficiary nation at a zero tariff, while the United States typically faces myriad non-tariff measures, which limit or even block U.S. exports.
Much has been said about enforcement of U.S. rights in trade by this Congress and past congresses as well as by this administration and past administrations. With the lapse of GSP and the clock ticking on AGOA, the United States has an unprecedented opportunity to generate exports and create jobs by enforcing its trade rights. Many U.S. sectors stand to benefit, NPPC says.
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