READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, February 8th

Sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation

READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Friday, February 8th

Lawmakers Looking Closer at Trump’s Trade Policies

The agriculture group Tariffs Hurt the Heartland commissioned a study on the impact of the trade was on the U.S. economy if the trade war with China picks up again in March, when a temporary truce between the countries runs expires. The study shows the U.S. economy could lose up to 2.2 million jobs and the average family of four would pay an extra $2,400 for goods and services every year. The study was prepared by the firm Trade Partnership Worldwide. It considered four scenarios, including the worst-case possibility in which new tariffs are slapped on auto imports, as well as all Chinese goods getting hit with a 25 percent tariff. The report says, “In some instances, the tariff actions erase all of the anticipated gains from tax reform.” Republican and Democratic senators held a news conference this week at the Capitol to discuss the trade study and share stories from constituents that have been hurt by the trade war. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer went before Congress this week and heard a lot about the need to remove the tariffs on aluminum and steel imports. Senate Finance Chair Chuck Grassley told reporters after the 90-minute meeting with Lighthizer that, “It was made very clear that the aluminum and steel tariffs should go before Congress takes up the USMCA agreement.”

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Soybean Growers Want Trade Resolution Before March 1

The American Soybean Association says trade talks are good, soybean purchases are good, but lifting the tariff that China slapped on U.S. soybean imports would be better. The ASA says it’s the only way U.S. soybean producers can regain commercial access to China, their most significant overseas market. “It’s encouraging that the administration is keeping soybeans in their trade conversations with China,” says Davie Stephens, ASA President. “The Chinese Vice Premiere’s commitment to buy another five million tons of soybeans is encouraging, but it’s not the answer. We need an agreement at the end of the 90-day period that specifically rescinds the tariff that China has imposed on U.S. soybean imports.” The ASA president says the “good-faith” purchase commitment is a positive sign that both countries are working towards the real progress that soybean producers are looking for. However, the purchases don’t offset the damage done to the soybean industry since tariffs were imposed. It also doesn’t repair the long-term damage the tariffs have done to a relationship that was decades in the making. ASA is joining other organizations in asking congressional members to help strengthen their message to the Administration that rescinding the tariffs are vital to the health of the farm economy.

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NCBA Announces New Campaign for “Fake Meat Facts”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is launching a new public campaign focusing on “fake meat.” The new campaign will highlight critical questions about the production process involved in growing meat in a laboratory. The Fake Meat Facts campaign will bring light to many of the unknowns that the federal government must clarify before finalizing the regulatory framework for these new products. “The federal government is moving in the right direction on lab-grown fake meat oversight, but new information raises more questions than answers,” says NCBA President Jennifer Houston. “The lack of scientific consensus surrounding cell-cultured protein products became crystal-clear to me when I participated in last year’s joint public meeting.” She says NCBA will continue to push for increased transparency to ensure consumers know the facts about lab-grown fake meat production. It was last year that the USDA and the Food and Drug Administration announced a framework for regulating lab-grown fake meat. USDA will have primary oversight of food production and labeling while FDA has oversight of cell collection and cell growth. However, NCBA says there are still too many details that need to be worked out yet.

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Trump, Xi Now Unlikely to Meet Before March Deadline

Will they or won’t they? President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi (zhee) Jinping now aren’t expected to meet later this month. Officials on both sides had said the two presidents were scheduled to be face-to-face later in February but now, CNBC says a meeting before the March 2nd deadline is unlikely. A senior administration official now says there’s “far too much work to do” in a short period of time before a deal can get done with China. President Trump had set a deadline of March 2nd to reach an agreement on trade. White House Trade Adviser Larry Kudlow tells Fox Business that Trump does expect to meet with Xi at some point in the future, but right now, it’s up in the air. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is pressuring Beijing to make structural changes that would bring an end to policies that force U.S. companies to hand over technology or intellectual property as a requirement for doing businesses in the country. “The administration has argued that such policies are a direct attack on U.S. innovation and represent a deliberate campaign by China to take over dominance in the tech sector.

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Beef Exports Remain High

While the November beef export report came out a month later than usual because of the government shutdown, it still showed good things for beef. U.S. beef exports continued on a record pace in November. However, pork exports trended lower year-over-year. Statistics from USDA and compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation show that beef exports totaled more than 112,000 metric tons in November, one percent higher than the previous year. Export value jumped six percent to just over $709 million. For January through November, beef exports reached 1.24 million metric tons, eight percent higher year-over-year. At a total of $7.63 billion dollars, beef export value was up 16 percent and had already broken the full-year record set in 2017. November pork exports totaled just shy of 207,000 metric tons, down eight percent year-over-year. The value fell 12 percent to $538.7 million as retaliatory tariffs in key markets continued to hit U.S. pork hard. From January through November, exports were steady with the record pace of 2017 at 2.23 million metric tons. The value also dropped one percent to $5.86 billion dollars.

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Bud Light Responds to Corn Growers Over Super Bowl Ad

Anheuser-Bush, the parent company of Bud Light, is looking to smooth things over with the nation’s corn growers after airing Super Bowl commercials with the slogan “brewed with no corn syrup.” A representative of the beer giant emailed the National Corn Growers Association on Sunday night and the two sides met face-to-face on Monday. CNN Business says the olive branch comes after a series of ads promoting the fact that Bud Light is sweetened with rice rather than corn syrup. After the ads ran, the NCGA posted a tweet saying, “America’s corn farmers are disappointed with you… thanks Miller Lite and Coors Lite for supporting our industry.” They also mentioned that the NCGA office is “right down the road! We’d love to discuss the many benefits of corn! Thanks @MillerLight and @CoorsLight for supporting our industry.” The NCGA says the ad gives people the impression that corn is a bad ingredient. An Anheuser-Busch spokesman says, “The ads were simply meant to point out a key difference between Bud Light and other light beers on the market.” The NCGA says corn syrup has gotten a bad rap because of the nation’s obesity epidemic. Miller Lite jumped into the conversation on Twitter by thanking Bud Light for including them in one of their Super Bowl Commercials.

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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