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|President’s 2nd Term Agenda Charted|
Speaking to an audience of Washington business representatives and later to agricultural representatives, a senior White House official said the President’s 2nd term priorities include: winning the war on terror while promoting the spread of democracy around the world; reforming and strengthening Social Security by the end of ’05 while ensuring current recipients of Social Security benefits will not be affected; reform and simplification of the tax code; legal reform to eliminate frivolous lawsuits; continue Medicare reform; improve education by making community college system more responsive to business and industry’s needs; continue “compassionate conservative” initiatives through welfare reform and faith-based initiatives; fill court vacancies with qualified candidates; reform budget process and reduce deficit by one-half; work for comprehensive energy policy; work for immigration reform which does not reward those who are here illegally; and continue an aggressive trade agenda. The senior official emphasized the list was not exhaustive, but clearly reforming and strengthening Social Security and tax reform are the 2 top domestic priorities for the Administration.
Another senior official explained to agriculture representatives that while record level ’04 farm income may not be matched in ’05, the farm economy is expected to be strong. He indicated that recent declining prices for commodities will increase the cost of farm programs at a time when Congress is likely to be focusing attention on deficit reduction. He also indicated that productivity gains have continued to allow fewer farms to produce the majority of the nation’s food and fiber and that statistics indicate average annual income for those farms far exceeds average farm income. Consequently, agriculture interests should be prepared for renewed debate in Congress over the sustainability of expenditures for current farm programs and on a benefit distribution system, which concentrates payments to commercial-sized farms.
The 109th Congressional members will be sworn-in Jan. 4. The confirmation hearing for USDA Secretary-designate Nebraska Governor Mike Johanns tentatively is scheduled for Jan. 6, and votes on Johanns and other cabinet nominees likely will be scheduled when Congress re-convenes following the Jan. 20 inauguration.
|No Constitutional Right to Import|
The US Justice Department, seeking dismissal of an importers’ lawsuit challenging the government's authority over China safeguard petitions based on market disruption threat, said in court papers "there is no constitutional right to import."
The Justice Department, representing the Committee for Implementation of Trade Agreements (CITA), was responding to a suit filed by the US Association of Importers of Textiles & Apparel (USA-ITA) which is seeking an injunction to stop CITA’s investigations to determine whether Chinese imports are likely to be disruptive and impede the orderly development of trade.
The Justice brief said the court lacks jurisdiction to consider USA-ITA's complaint because the safeguard petitions under review have not been decided by CITA. It said USA-ITA does not have the right to challenge CITA's deliberations and has not exhausted the administrative remedies provided by CITA to challenge the safeguard petitions. Justice said the importer group failed to “state a claim for which relief may be granted”…and that CITA has not moved beyond its delegated authority.
Justice argued that: 1) USA-ITA cannot establish that importers have "undue hardship sufficient to justify interference with a continuing interagency process," 2) the public - in particular textile and apparel manufacturers - would be harmed by an injunction halting CITA's reviews and 3) USA-ITA is unlikely to prevail upon the merits of the case.
|5 Mills File Amicus Brief|
The ability of CITA to investigate safeguard petitions concerning imports of textile and apparel products from China is critical to the financial health of US textile manufacturers, according to a brief and appended declarations filed by Mount Vernon Mills, Inc.; Avondale Mills, Inc.; Glen Raven Mills, Inc.; Inman Mills, Inc.; and Hamrick & Musgrove Mills, Inc.
The brief argued that enjoining CITA from conducting such investigations would cause irreparable injury, including plant closings and job losses when members of USA-ITA shift their orders for textile and apparel products to China. The investigation by CITA “will not alter the current status quo, but rather will provide a fair and appropriate process for CITA to ensure that the Amici and similarly situated textile and apparel producers in the United States are not unduly injured by the vast, impending change in the international textile and apparel trade,” the brief stated.
|Study Shows Need For Safeguards|
National Council of Textile Organizations reported the results of NCC economic analysis demonstrating the need for China textile safeguards. China is exporting trousers, shirts and underwear and other apparel at 76% below US producer prices and 58% below the prices of other exporting countries for the same garments, the analysis shows.
China already dominates world trade in non-quota products. They own an average 55% share of world trade in these products outside of trade with the United States and the European Union, which have kept Chinese exports somewhat restrained by quotas. Chinese import market share now averages 88% in Japan and Australia, 2 developed country markets with consumer buying patterns similar to the United States.
|WTO Panel Hears Cotton Case|
A 3-member Appellate Panel heard oral arguments from Brazil and the United States in a hearing at World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva. The hearing is another step in the appeals process initiated by the US following a largely unfavorable ruling from a previous dispute panel.
Officials from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) and USDA presented arguments in a comprehensive appeal. Bill Gillon, legal counsel to NCC, and Gary Adams, NCC’s vice president of Economic and Policy Analysis, were in Geneva providing legal and economic support to the US team. A final ruling from the Appellate Panel is not expected until February or March of ’05.
While in Geneva, NCC representatives also met with USTR agricultural negotiators and were informed that Tim Groser, chairman of the WTO Special Subcommittee on Cotton, has extended an invitation to meet with NCC representatives.
|Bale Handling Procedures Evaluated|
As part of the work of the Phytosanitary Accreditation Protocol (PAP) Task Force effort, the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service’s Plant Protection Quarantine staff visited the Mid-South to learn about the business processes involved in cotton flow.
The 3-day schedule focused on processing, packaging, handling and information processing in cotton ginning, warehousing and merchandising businesses. Industry participants were reminded that official USDA-issued phytosanitary certificates “serve to assist US exporters in meeting the plant quarantine import requirements of foreign countries” and are not a USDA requirement. The shift to a national compliance agreement as USDA moves toward an accreditation protocol will facilitate streamlining of both USDA and industry processes and procedures.
Meetings included a cotton industry orientation at NCC offices and discussions with representatives of the American Cotton Shippers Assn. and AMCOT. The group also visited a concentration/certification warehouse, gin, gin/warehouse, country warehouse, cooperative warehouse and freight forwarder.
|Beltwide Special Sessions a Must|
The ’05 Beltwide Cotton Conferences are offering exceptional Cotton Production Conference workshops, seminars and symposiums, Jan. 5-6 at the Sheraton New Orleans.
The Nutrient Management/Plans and Cotton Fertility symposium will address the Clean Water Act’s role in nutrient management and cotton production along with the impact of the global fertilizer market on cotton fertility and options for managing nutrients while maintaining high yields. The Sustainability of Glyphosate-Resistant Cotton Production symposium will provide producers information to sustain glyphosate’s usefulness in cotton, including the current state of glyphosate weed resistance, particularly horseweed resistance, and the likelihood of resistance in other weeds. The Cotton Economic Outlook Panel will include market projections and discussion of how emerging market/policy questions may affect the risk exposure of industry participants.
The “Managing Early-Season Pests – the Value of Seed Treatments for Today’s Cotton Grower” workshop will include a comparison of seed treatments specifically directed at early-season pest management vs. other pest management strategies. Other workshops will focus on risk management, including sessions on options hedging, advanced options and farm management using Quicken. The long-standing New Developments From Industry seminar will offer 30-plus presentations covering the latest varieties, chemistry, equipment and other technologies.
For more information on the conferences’ programming and events, go to www.cotton.org/beltwide/.
|Senate Environmental Panel Shuffled|
As a result of the ’04 elections, which have Republicans with a 55-44-1 majority in the Senate for the 109th Congress, committees have been shuffling their members to establish new ratios to reflect the new balance in the Senate.
The Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by Sen. Inhofe (R-OK) has completed its shuffle, which has removed one Democrat, and left Republican senators with a 2 seat advantage. Newly elected Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) and Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ) will replace outgoing Sen. Graham (D-FL) and Sen. Wyden (D-OR), who will be moving to the Finance Committee. Newly appointed Senate Minority Leader Reid (D-NV) will leave his vacated seat empty.
|Spill Prevention Comments Filed|
NCC and National Cotton Ginners Association (NCGA), along with its 8-member state and regional associations, responded to an EPA request for comments on oil filled and process equipment. The submittal requested that EPA exempt or exclude stationary oil filled processing equipment used in ginning and mobile farm oil filled processing equipment from Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) plans and other requirements of 40 CFR 112.
As currently written, SPCC plan regulations require written spill prevention and control plans for oil or petroleum storage that exceed certain threshold capacities. The comments outlined the reasons why oil reservoirs of processing equipment, such as cotton baling presses, and of mobile farm equipment, such as module builders, large tractors and harvesters, should not be considered storage vessels for purposes of the SPCC regulations. The comments also noted that for the more than 870 gins and for the 25,000 US cotton farmers located in 18 states, there is no record of any reportable oil spill from any gin or from any mobile equipment used in cotton production affecting ground water sources.
|Sales, Shipments Strong For Week|
Net export sales for the week ending Dec. 9 were 269,000 bales (480-lb.), resulting in total ’04-05 sales of almost 8.2 million. Total sales at the same point in the ’03-04 marketing year were about 8.9 million bales. Total new crop (’05-06) sales are 274,900 bales.
Shipments for the week were 209,800 bales, bringing total exports to date to 2.7 million bales, below the 3.2 million at the comparable point in the ’03-04 marketing year.
|Cotton's Week Holiday Schedule|
Due to the holidays, Cotton's Week will not be published on December 24. On Thursday, December 30, the NCC will publish only an electronic version of Cotton's Week, which will be emailed and posted in the Member Services area of the NCC's web site.
|Prices Effective December 17-23, 2004|