World Perspectives

Recent Policy Analysis

Failed Tomato Farmers; Blasé Program Changes; New Transatlantic Conditionality

Failed Tomato Farmers The most efficient way to grow tomatoes is in greenhouses or hot houses. Most Mexican tomatoes are grown this way, but Florida growers have failed to adopt this form of protected agriculture, and the result is that their domestic market share has fallen to 41 percent. They...

Policy Opportunities and Risks

Two new reports out this week present government policymakers with informative but confusing insights on public perceptions. The United Nations issued its seventh “World Happiness Report,” and the OECD issued a first “Risks that Matter” tome. The volumes rely heavily on...

China Enforcement Problems; AI over ASF; African Food Import Dependence

China Enforcement Problems President Trump says the U.S. will keep punitive tariffs on China to ensure it keeps its commitments. USTR Lighthizer reportedly wants to remove them gradually as China demonstrates adoption of the agreement’s obligations. Others say reapplication of the tariffs...

The State of Agtech: Assessing Its Political Risk

One of the darlings of the investment world is the emerging sector of agtech. Investment is flowing to a number of discrete markets and technologies, ranging from biological inputs to artificial intelligence, robotics, data management, cellular agriculture and gene editing. This expansion...

Brazil Progress, OECD Concerns; China Hopeful

Brazil Progress, OECD Concerns Today’s joint statement by U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had some good news for American agriculture. Brazil agreed to create a 750 KMT wheat tariff-rate quota (TRQ) with zero duty and follow science-based standards in re...

Drowning Transatlantic; Geneva Ag Discussions; Bilateral Stunts

Drowning Transatlantic At 8.4 kilometers (5.2 miles) deep, the Puerto Rico Trench is the deepest point in the North Atlantic Ocean. Transatlantic relations may be headed for an even deeper depression. The European Parliament voted against endorsing the trade mandate sought by Brussels for talks...

EU-U.S. Tentative Deal on Beef

Even though the EU-U.S. trade agreement talks are not moving apace, largely because of the EU reluctance to include agriculture versus U.S. insistence that it must be on the table, there does seem to be movement on beef exports. The parties have reached an “agreement in principle” t...

biofuel

More Small Refinery Exemptions Granted

The EPA announced yesterday that it had granted five additional small refinery exemptions (SREs) for 2017, reducing the number of pending petitions in the queue for that year as of 1 March from seven to two. This brings the total number of exemptions to 9.4 percent of the 19.28 billion gallons...

Against the Grain; Bipartisan Horses; China and EU Deals

Against the Grain Demographics are destiny, and with 60 percent of the world’s population and some of its fastest-growing economies, this is supposed to be the Asian Century. That is the theme of the book “The Future is Asian” by Singaporean geopolitical consultant Parag Khann...

Trump’s China Mystery; The EU Bullseye; SOEs in Focus

Trump’s China Mystery U.S. President Donald’s Trump’s characterization of his negotiations with the Chinese are not adding up unless Xi’s government is having troubles. He has softened his strategy, and the Chinese are playing nice. He is as unconventional as ever. Mr. T...

Creative Destruction; Ignoring Economics

Creative Destruction It is often said that it is easier to use government to stop something from happening than to use it to make something happen. Some members in the U.S. House of Representatives this week suggested that banks be held liable for global warming and other ills since they financ...

biofuel

Year-Round E15 and RIN Reform Proposed; Annual Ethanol Use Down

Year-Round E15 and RIN Reform Proposed The EPA released its proposed waiver for year-round E15 use today. As previously reported (click here), it will now be on a tight approval deadline before the summer driving season starts. Given the risk of regulatory uncertainty and needed infrastructure...

Anti-Reform’s Fishy Excuses; Commodity Glut; Government over People

Anti-Reform’s Fishy Excuses USTR Robert Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee that the WTO rules are out of date and need reform. This is evidenced by reports that U.S. complaints about the self-designation of developing country status are causing collateral damage to negotiations...

China Purchasing Commitments; WTO Leverage

China Purchasing Commitments One of the Trump administration’s goals in negotiating a trade deal with China is to get Beijing’s commitment to buy more American farm products, especially soybeans as well as perhaps some sorghum and DDGS. China can only import what it needs, though, a...

President’s Budget Proposal Kicks Off Broken Fiscal Process

The president released his proposed FY 2020 budget today. It provides another salvo in the border wall fight along with about $27 billion in cuts for USDA and farm bill programs as well as a boost of nearly $3 billion via inspection user fees for USDA agencies. The House and Senate Budget Commi...

Wisdom of Traders; All About the Shekels; For Politicians, Not People

Wisdom of Traders Sometimes it takes 50 yeas of experience in an industry to have the wisdom and courage to speak the truth. Derek Chambers, a semi-retired cocoa trader, had good words of advice at this week’s Cocoa Merchants Association of America conference in Miami. He advised delegate...

India Doubles Down; Too Green

India Doubles Down Brazil and Australia have requested WTO dispute consultations with New Delhi, charging that India’s sugar subsidies exceed its commitment on domestic supports. The case follows a similar challenge by the U.S. on other crops. The reaction from the Modi government is to a...

Communist Marketing; GSP Retaliation; Limits on Trade Growth; IT Fight

Communist Marketing Russian Federal Customs Service official Rusian Davydov says he wants to extend the 2014 food embargo restriction to include meat and other livestock products from the U.S., EU and other countries. Meanwhile, his boss, Russian President Vladimir Putin, told the Federal Assem...

Leveraging Tariffs; China Rationale; Nobody Listens; Leadership Loss

Leveraging Tariffs President Trump announced the expected by saying India and Turkey will lose beneficiary status under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The U.S. grants preferential tariff access under GSP to more than 100 countries. Removing Turkey’s eligibility is consistent...

biofuel

E15; Biodiesel Duties; The Debt Limit

E15 and SREs  Yesterday the EPA submitted its proposal for year-round E15 use to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for sign-off. As noted here on Friday, a quick timeline for approval could be 75 days, which is slightly less than the number of days before the 1 June start of the su...

House Agriculture Committee Weighs in on FY 2020 Federal Budget

The FY 2020 budget process in Congress has begun. Under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Section 301(d)), each of the congressional authorizing committees is to send a “views and estimates” letter to its respective chamber’s budget committee. On Thursday of last week, the...

Transatlantic Jostling; USMCA Campaign; Rebalancing Global Contributions

Transatlantic Jostling The Trump administration’s move to tighten sanctions on Cuba concurrently is aimed at Europe. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has proclaimed measures against a “Troika of Tyranny”- Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. However, Cuba is a more certain...

Trade War to Worsen; USMCA Optimism; U.S.-EU Pessimism

Trade War to Worsen Uncertainty around trade has been a burden to the U.S. economy, especially to farmers, and yet more trouble appears to be coming. Following are the five reasons why Donald Trump is likely to raise punitive tariffs on Chinese goods to 25 percent: Politics: This president has...

biofuel

E15; Biodiesel Credit; Tariff Checks and Balances

There’s been a spate of activity on Capitol Hill of late on some high-profile ag policy issues. Below is an end-of-the week recap. E15 Waiver In testimony before the House Ag Committee, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue suggested that EPA was unlikely to finish the waiver for year-round E15 use...

Failed Tomato Farmers; Blasé Program Changes; New Transatlantic Conditionality

Failed Tomato Farmers The most efficient way to grow tomatoes is in greenhouses or hot houses. Most Mexican tomatoes are grown this way, but Florida growers have failed to adopt this form of protected agriculture, and the result is that their domestic market share has fallen to 41 percent. They...

Policy Opportunities and Risks

Two new reports out this week present government policymakers with informative but confusing insights on public perceptions. The United Nations issued its seventh “World Happiness Report,” and the OECD issued a first “Risks that Matter” tome. The volumes rely heavily on...

China Enforcement Problems; AI over ASF; African Food Import Dependence

China Enforcement Problems President Trump says the U.S. will keep punitive tariffs on China to ensure it keeps its commitments. USTR Lighthizer reportedly wants to remove them gradually as China demonstrates adoption of the agreement’s obligations. Others say reapplication of the tariffs...

The State of Agtech: Assessing Its Political Risk

One of the darlings of the investment world is the emerging sector of agtech. Investment is flowing to a number of discrete markets and technologies, ranging from biological inputs to artificial intelligence, robotics, data management, cellular agriculture and gene editing. This expansion...

Brazil Progress, OECD Concerns; China Hopeful

Brazil Progress, OECD Concerns Today’s joint statement by U.S. President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had some good news for American agriculture. Brazil agreed to create a 750 KMT wheat tariff-rate quota (TRQ) with zero duty and follow science-based standards in re...

Drowning Transatlantic; Geneva Ag Discussions; Bilateral Stunts

Drowning Transatlantic At 8.4 kilometers (5.2 miles) deep, the Puerto Rico Trench is the deepest point in the North Atlantic Ocean. Transatlantic relations may be headed for an even deeper depression. The European Parliament voted against endorsing the trade mandate sought by Brussels for talks...

EU-U.S. Tentative Deal on Beef

Even though the EU-U.S. trade agreement talks are not moving apace, largely because of the EU reluctance to include agriculture versus U.S. insistence that it must be on the table, there does seem to be movement on beef exports. The parties have reached an “agreement in principle” t...

biofuel

More Small Refinery Exemptions Granted

The EPA announced yesterday that it had granted five additional small refinery exemptions (SREs) for 2017, reducing the number of pending petitions in the queue for that year as of 1 March from seven to two. This brings the total number of exemptions to 9.4 percent of the 19.28 billion gallons...

Against the Grain; Bipartisan Horses; China and EU Deals

Against the Grain Demographics are destiny, and with 60 percent of the world’s population and some of its fastest-growing economies, this is supposed to be the Asian Century. That is the theme of the book “The Future is Asian” by Singaporean geopolitical consultant Parag Khann...

Trump’s China Mystery; The EU Bullseye; SOEs in Focus

Trump’s China Mystery U.S. President Donald’s Trump’s characterization of his negotiations with the Chinese are not adding up unless Xi’s government is having troubles. He has softened his strategy, and the Chinese are playing nice. He is as unconventional as ever. Mr. T...

Creative Destruction; Ignoring Economics

Creative Destruction It is often said that it is easier to use government to stop something from happening than to use it to make something happen. Some members in the U.S. House of Representatives this week suggested that banks be held liable for global warming and other ills since they financ...

biofuel

Year-Round E15 and RIN Reform Proposed; Annual Ethanol Use Down

Year-Round E15 and RIN Reform Proposed The EPA released its proposed waiver for year-round E15 use today. As previously reported (click here), it will now be on a tight approval deadline before the summer driving season starts. Given the risk of regulatory uncertainty and needed infrastructure...

Anti-Reform’s Fishy Excuses; Commodity Glut; Government over People

Anti-Reform’s Fishy Excuses USTR Robert Lighthizer told the Senate Finance Committee that the WTO rules are out of date and need reform. This is evidenced by reports that U.S. complaints about the self-designation of developing country status are causing collateral damage to negotiations...

China Purchasing Commitments; WTO Leverage

China Purchasing Commitments One of the Trump administration’s goals in negotiating a trade deal with China is to get Beijing’s commitment to buy more American farm products, especially soybeans as well as perhaps some sorghum and DDGS. China can only import what it needs, though, a...

President’s Budget Proposal Kicks Off Broken Fiscal Process

The president released his proposed FY 2020 budget today. It provides another salvo in the border wall fight along with about $27 billion in cuts for USDA and farm bill programs as well as a boost of nearly $3 billion via inspection user fees for USDA agencies. The House and Senate Budget Commi...

Wisdom of Traders; All About the Shekels; For Politicians, Not People

Wisdom of Traders Sometimes it takes 50 yeas of experience in an industry to have the wisdom and courage to speak the truth. Derek Chambers, a semi-retired cocoa trader, had good words of advice at this week’s Cocoa Merchants Association of America conference in Miami. He advised delegate...

India Doubles Down; Too Green

India Doubles Down Brazil and Australia have requested WTO dispute consultations with New Delhi, charging that India’s sugar subsidies exceed its commitment on domestic supports. The case follows a similar challenge by the U.S. on other crops. The reaction from the Modi government is to a...

Communist Marketing; GSP Retaliation; Limits on Trade Growth; IT Fight

Communist Marketing Russian Federal Customs Service official Rusian Davydov says he wants to extend the 2014 food embargo restriction to include meat and other livestock products from the U.S., EU and other countries. Meanwhile, his boss, Russian President Vladimir Putin, told the Federal Assem...

Leveraging Tariffs; China Rationale; Nobody Listens; Leadership Loss

Leveraging Tariffs President Trump announced the expected by saying India and Turkey will lose beneficiary status under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The U.S. grants preferential tariff access under GSP to more than 100 countries. Removing Turkey’s eligibility is consistent...

biofuel

E15; Biodiesel Duties; The Debt Limit

E15 and SREs  Yesterday the EPA submitted its proposal for year-round E15 use to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for sign-off. As noted here on Friday, a quick timeline for approval could be 75 days, which is slightly less than the number of days before the 1 June start of the su...

House Agriculture Committee Weighs in on FY 2020 Federal Budget

The FY 2020 budget process in Congress has begun. Under the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Section 301(d)), each of the congressional authorizing committees is to send a “views and estimates” letter to its respective chamber’s budget committee. On Thursday of last week, the...

Transatlantic Jostling; USMCA Campaign; Rebalancing Global Contributions

Transatlantic Jostling The Trump administration’s move to tighten sanctions on Cuba concurrently is aimed at Europe. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton has proclaimed measures against a “Troika of Tyranny”- Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. However, Cuba is a more certain...

Trade War to Worsen; USMCA Optimism; U.S.-EU Pessimism

Trade War to Worsen Uncertainty around trade has been a burden to the U.S. economy, especially to farmers, and yet more trouble appears to be coming. Following are the five reasons why Donald Trump is likely to raise punitive tariffs on Chinese goods to 25 percent: Politics: This president has...

biofuel

E15; Biodiesel Credit; Tariff Checks and Balances

There’s been a spate of activity on Capitol Hill of late on some high-profile ag policy issues. Below is an end-of-the week recap. E15 Waiver In testimony before the House Ag Committee, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue suggested that EPA was unlikely to finish the waiver for year-round E15 use...

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