The Philippines government this week indicated it may extend through the end of 2022 the country’s increased Minimum Access Volume (MAV) quota for imported pork and the reduced tariffs on pork under and over the quota. The MAV, which in May was increased to 254,000 metric tons, was set to revert to 54,000 metric tons on Jan. 31, 2022. The tariff on imported pork under the MAV, which in May was set at 10 percent, then went to 15 percent, is scheduled to revert to 30 percent in mid-May 2022. The tariff above the MAV, which was decreased to 20 percent, then rose to 25 percent, was set to return to 40 percent in May. The higher MAV and the reduced tariffs have resulted in a significant increase in U.S. pork exports to the Philippines. According to recently released data, pork exports this year through October were nearly $194 million compared with just under $94 million for the same period last year, a 106.5 percent increase. Securing better market access to the Philippines, a major pork-consuming country, has been a top, long-term trade priority for NPPC, which continues to work with the government in Manila and with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Department of Agriculture to make the tariff reductions permanent.

CHINA’S MFN TARIFF ON U.S. PORK WILL INCREASE JAN. 1
China’s most favored nation (MFN) duty on frozen pork will revert to 12 percent Jan. 1. The tariff had been temporarily reduced to 8 percent Jan. 1 of last year because the country’s domestic pork production was suffering from the effects of African swine fever. In addition to the MFN duty, U.S. pork is subject to a 25 percent retaliatory tariff, a response to U.S. duties on Chinese steel and aluminum imports. NPPC is working with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the U.S. Commerce Department to remove the retaliatory tariffs on U.S. pork.

SOUTH KOREA APPLIES TO JOIN CPTPP
South Korea this week indicated it will begin the process of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the 11-nation Pacific Rim trade bloc. The move follows applications earlier this year from China, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. NPPC has been urging the Biden administration to join the CPTPP, whose member countries have a combined 500 million consumers and $11.5 trillion in gross domestic product. The United States was part of the trade pact’s predecessor, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which NPPC strongly supported, but the Trump administration withdrew from the deal before it was finalized. (TPP became the CPTPP after the United States dropped out of the former.)

USDA TAKING APPLICATIONS FOR SPOT MARKET HOG PANDEMIC PROGRAM
USDA Tuesday announced it is making available $50 million for the new Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program (SMHPP), which provides assistance to pork producers who sold hogs through negotiated sales from April 16, 2020, through Sept. 1, 2020. That was the period producers faced the biggest reduction in market prices because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices fell because fewer hogs were being bought through spot market transactions by packers, who experienced packing capacity issues because of COVID illnesses among their workforce and because of supply chain problems. From the beginning of the pandemic nearly two years ago, NPPC has been urging USDA to include pork producers in any COVID assistance programs, such as the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program. Applications for SMHPP payments are being accepted between now and Feb. 25, 2022; producers must fill out form FSA-940 and submit it to any USDA Farm Service Agency office. Producers who had adjusted gross income averaging $900,000 or less for 2016 through 2018, or had an AGI for 2020 alone of less than $900,000 are eligible for payments of $54 per head for hogs sold through negotiated contracts. For more information on the program, click here.

REPORT FINDS SALES OF ‘MEDICALLY IMPORTANT’ ANTIBIOTICS CONTINUE TO DECLINE
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week released its annual report on sales and distribution data for antimicrobial drugs approved for use in food animals. Covering from 2011 through 2020, it shows that sales and distribution of medically important antimicrobials – those also used in human medicine – have decreased by 27 percent over that period; they fell by 3 percent from 2019 to 2020. For hogs, they dropped by 22 percent from 2016 and by 5 percent from last year. Additionally, the report shows that sales and distribution of non-medically important antibiotics also decreased, decreasing by 16 percent over the 10-year timeframe. (FDA points out the data are not indicative of how antimicrobial drugs were actually used in animals.) NPPC supported FDA’s 2017 Veterinary Feed Directive and Guidance 213, which, respectively, brought feed and water uses of medically important antibiotics given to livestock under veterinary supervision and prohibited the use in food animals of medically important antibiotics labeled only for growth promotion. Click here to read the report.

APPLICATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR SWINE VETERINARIANS PUBLIC-POLICY PROGRAM
Have you ever wanted to change the world, or even just the U.S.A.? NPPC has an opportunity for veterinarians interested in how legislation, regulation and trade deals are developed and in how they can influence that process on behalf of the U.S. pork industry and the veterinary profession. To learn more about this unique opportunity to visit Washington, DC, and a foreign trading partner, see the brochure here. For more information, contact Dr. Marie Bucko at buckom@nppc.org , or Craig Boelling at boellingc@nppc.org .

BEHNAM CONFIRMED AS CHAIRMAN OF CFTC
The Senate this week confirmed Rostin Behnam as chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which oversees and helps safeguard the futures and swaps markets used by pork producers and other agricultural sectors to manage financial risks. NPPC strongly supported Behnam for the post, signing onto an agricultural letter backing him sent to Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR). Behnam has been a CFTC commissioner for the past four years and has served as acting chairman since Jan. 21, 2021. Previously, he was senior counsel for the Senate agriculture panel and prior to that an adviser to the committee on policy and legislative issues since 2011.

PORK PRODUCERS ASKED TO PARTICIPATE IN NPPC’S ‘GIVE-A-HAM’ CHALLENGE
NPPC’s fourth annual national “Give-A-Ham” challenge to benefit food banks and pantries around the country is in its final two weeks, and the organization is urging pork producers to participate in it. The campaign in 2020 saw more than 15 million pounds of pork donated to help those in need.