World Perspectives

Recent Macroeconomics Analysis

Breaking Eggs with Poor Math

Activists have been pressuring the Biden Administration to take more action against Big Ag. The latest is an attack on egg production. Opponents are blaming the spread of avian influenza (AI) and the high cost of eggs on what they claim is 110 billion eggs produced on just 347 farms. They asser...

Status of Global Ag

USDA’s Economic Research Service has produced an expansive study entitled, World Agricultural Production, Resource Use, and Productivity, 1961–2020. Its authors examined the period and despite activists calling the food system broken, the researchers emphasized some key successes:&n...

Ultra-Processed Dog Food; Antidumping is Legal

Ultra-Processed Dog Food The number of pets spiked during COVID but the overall trend has been more domestic animals and fewer human babies. Pets are lower cost than children but the pet industry knows there is still a lot of disposable income to be made off the furry members of the family. Whi...

China Retaliation?; WTO Dispute System Not Urgent

China Retaliation? The assumption is that China will retaliate against U.S. agriculture for any new tariffs applied to Chinese goods by President Biden under Section 301. But at least one American expert on China doesn’t think that is a given. Under this construct, Beijing views the new t...

Transatlantic Glue

China understandably responded harshly to the Biden Administration’s sharp increase in tariffs on EV’s and components. However, there is not much that Beijing can do about it except retaliate. The EU already shared Washington’s angst about China undermining Western industries...

Tariff Man’s Competitor; Europe Correctly Fears Trump

Tariff Man’s Competitor Former President Donald Trump prided himself on his use of tariffs, which candidate Biden criticized but now President Biden fully embraces. In fact, he is proclaiming his own new tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese goods and calling them “historic.&rdquo...

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

U.S. agriculture representatives returning from a trade mission to India are all excited about their prospects for boosting sales to the world’s most populous country. They are likely suffering from what the great psychologist and behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman called focusing illus...

Psychobiotic Nonsense; SPS/TBT and Poultry

Psychobiotic Nonsense One component of a book called The Psychobiotic Revolution is scientifically reasonable – that the human gut biome contains trillions of beneficial microbes. And that disturbing that biome can have adverse effects on physical and mental health. One more reasonable th...

Grossly Modified Opinion; BRICS Grain Exchange

Grossly Modified Opinion While the European Parliament’s plan for regulating New Genomic Traits (NGT’s) provides a lighter regulatory treatment for NTG-1 products, its associated labeling requirements will be exploited by the anti-GMO crowd. U.S. regulatory agencies are planning to...

Flimsy Arguments; Bien SUR Pesticides

Flimsy Arguments Certain Americans are taking sides with Hamas in Gaza, arguing that it is Israel to blame. In a similar fashion, progressive groups focused on agriculture are calling on Washington to cease its bullying of Mexico on GMO corn. They defend Mexico City for pursuing “food sov...

Remake Agriculture for the Climate; Counter-Notifying India; Plurilateral Path

Remake Agriculture for the Climate The World Bank has issued a report on achieving net zero emissions in the agrifood system (Recipe for a Livable Planet) that cites the sector for being a big emitter, but also one that can achieve reductions at a relatively low-cost. It makes the usual recomme...

Having Cake and Eat it Too; Philippine Opportunity

Having Cake and Eat it Too The U.S. is a major food exporter and its sales to India are relatively small and steady due to the border measures it encounters. By contrast, India demands the right to high border measures due to it being a poor country with food insecurity, despite the fact it exp...

Geographic Food Price Differences

Eastern European countries were upset a few years ago when it was discovered that food marketers were retailing lower quality foods in their region of Europe versus countries in the west. Price was not discussed but that differentiation would have followed willingness to pay and the fact that m...

Circling the Corral; Un-deglobalizing

Circling the Corral Florida now bans the marketing of cultivated meat. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said lab-grown meat was a threat to the state’s beef cattle industry, the ninth largest in the country. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has limited its demands to just have...

Food is First Victim; Energy Confusion

Food is First Victim Food comprises just 6 percent of all U.S. exports, but it is the first to receive retaliation in trade disputes. The latest example is Israel’s war with Hamas, though it is American food brands that are taking it on the chin. KFC has had to close 100 outlets in Malays...

Egyptian Food Inflation

Bread is a critical basic food in Egypt and Russia has been a prime supplier. But Russian wheat prices have been rising, and now two shiploads of the commodity are delayed departing for Egypt. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has a tight grip over the military and the government, but war on the b...

Policy Shorts

Fertilizer Supplies: The U.S. Department of Commerce is recommending reduced tariffs on fertilizer imported from Russia, but increased duties on supplies from Morocco. U.S. farmers have been asking for relaxing supply constraints from Russia. The U.S. imports about 20 percent of its fertilizer...

Carbon Wars; Teeing up Taiwan

Carbon Wars The EU is moving forward with its plans for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), and with its EU Deforestation Regulation. Despite claims to handling domestic and imported products equally as required under the WTO’s national treatment obligation, there will be plenty...

Q1 GDP Comes in Low, Interest Rate Expected to Stay High

The Q1 2024 GDP was 1.6 percent, well below the pre-report consensus expectation of 2.4 percent, and down from 3.1 percent in Q1 2023 and 3.4 percent in Q4 2023. That rate was the slowest in almost two years, dating back to Q2 2022.  Recall that in the 2 February Ag Perspectives report on...

U.S. Consumer Spending, Financial Health Supports 2024 Economic Outlook

As WPI readers likely well know by now, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an inflation- and seasonally-adjusted 1.6 percent rate in Q1 2024, which missed economist’s 2.4 percent expectations. The data sent shockwaves through U.S. financial markets with U.S. stocks and bonds openin...

Most Apparent Solution; Future is Biotech

Most Apparent Solution The EU’s organic sector wants the bloc’s officials to take more action to ensure they achieve the target of 25 percent of agricultural output being organic by 2030. Specifically, they want a campaign to increase consumer demand for organic food so that organic...

Reigniting a Transatlantic Deal; Indian Powerhouse; “Barons” is Bombastic

Reigniting a Transatlantic Deal  Former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta is something of a policy rock star after authoring a report on the future strategy for the EU. Most of the 146-page report focuses on strengthening the EU’s internal Single Market but, buried at the end of th...

Hecho en Mexico; Radical for Small; Impeach Tai?

Hecho en Mexico While outgoing Mexican president and populist AMLO tries to shutdown American farmers, the U.S. government just keeps giving to Mexico. The de minimis duty is about to go away. The personal free import allowance is complex. Most American citizens reentering the country think of...

Trading Waste; Ottawa versus Manila; Politician’s Lag

Trading Waste Rich Westerners consumed so much plastic that even though landfills take much of it, their export of plastic waste now overwhelms Asia. Then Western policymakers gave yellow grease (used cooking oil) a very low carbon score for use as energy since it is a form of recycling. With h...

Breaking Eggs with Poor Math

Activists have been pressuring the Biden Administration to take more action against Big Ag. The latest is an attack on egg production. Opponents are blaming the spread of avian influenza (AI) and the high cost of eggs on what they claim is 110 billion eggs produced on just 347 farms. They asser...

Status of Global Ag

USDA’s Economic Research Service has produced an expansive study entitled, World Agricultural Production, Resource Use, and Productivity, 1961–2020. Its authors examined the period and despite activists calling the food system broken, the researchers emphasized some key successes:&n...

Ultra-Processed Dog Food; Antidumping is Legal

Ultra-Processed Dog Food The number of pets spiked during COVID but the overall trend has been more domestic animals and fewer human babies. Pets are lower cost than children but the pet industry knows there is still a lot of disposable income to be made off the furry members of the family. Whi...

China Retaliation?; WTO Dispute System Not Urgent

China Retaliation? The assumption is that China will retaliate against U.S. agriculture for any new tariffs applied to Chinese goods by President Biden under Section 301. But at least one American expert on China doesn’t think that is a given. Under this construct, Beijing views the new t...

Transatlantic Glue

China understandably responded harshly to the Biden Administration’s sharp increase in tariffs on EV’s and components. However, there is not much that Beijing can do about it except retaliate. The EU already shared Washington’s angst about China undermining Western industries...

Tariff Man’s Competitor; Europe Correctly Fears Trump

Tariff Man’s Competitor Former President Donald Trump prided himself on his use of tariffs, which candidate Biden criticized but now President Biden fully embraces. In fact, he is proclaiming his own new tariffs on $18 billion worth of Chinese goods and calling them “historic.&rdquo...

Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

U.S. agriculture representatives returning from a trade mission to India are all excited about their prospects for boosting sales to the world’s most populous country. They are likely suffering from what the great psychologist and behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman called focusing illus...

Psychobiotic Nonsense; SPS/TBT and Poultry

Psychobiotic Nonsense One component of a book called The Psychobiotic Revolution is scientifically reasonable – that the human gut biome contains trillions of beneficial microbes. And that disturbing that biome can have adverse effects on physical and mental health. One more reasonable th...

Grossly Modified Opinion; BRICS Grain Exchange

Grossly Modified Opinion While the European Parliament’s plan for regulating New Genomic Traits (NGT’s) provides a lighter regulatory treatment for NTG-1 products, its associated labeling requirements will be exploited by the anti-GMO crowd. U.S. regulatory agencies are planning to...

Flimsy Arguments; Bien SUR Pesticides

Flimsy Arguments Certain Americans are taking sides with Hamas in Gaza, arguing that it is Israel to blame. In a similar fashion, progressive groups focused on agriculture are calling on Washington to cease its bullying of Mexico on GMO corn. They defend Mexico City for pursuing “food sov...

Remake Agriculture for the Climate; Counter-Notifying India; Plurilateral Path

Remake Agriculture for the Climate The World Bank has issued a report on achieving net zero emissions in the agrifood system (Recipe for a Livable Planet) that cites the sector for being a big emitter, but also one that can achieve reductions at a relatively low-cost. It makes the usual recomme...

Having Cake and Eat it Too; Philippine Opportunity

Having Cake and Eat it Too The U.S. is a major food exporter and its sales to India are relatively small and steady due to the border measures it encounters. By contrast, India demands the right to high border measures due to it being a poor country with food insecurity, despite the fact it exp...

Geographic Food Price Differences

Eastern European countries were upset a few years ago when it was discovered that food marketers were retailing lower quality foods in their region of Europe versus countries in the west. Price was not discussed but that differentiation would have followed willingness to pay and the fact that m...

Circling the Corral; Un-deglobalizing

Circling the Corral Florida now bans the marketing of cultivated meat. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said lab-grown meat was a threat to the state’s beef cattle industry, the ninth largest in the country. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has limited its demands to just have...

Food is First Victim; Energy Confusion

Food is First Victim Food comprises just 6 percent of all U.S. exports, but it is the first to receive retaliation in trade disputes. The latest example is Israel’s war with Hamas, though it is American food brands that are taking it on the chin. KFC has had to close 100 outlets in Malays...

Egyptian Food Inflation

Bread is a critical basic food in Egypt and Russia has been a prime supplier. But Russian wheat prices have been rising, and now two shiploads of the commodity are delayed departing for Egypt. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has a tight grip over the military and the government, but war on the b...

Policy Shorts

Fertilizer Supplies: The U.S. Department of Commerce is recommending reduced tariffs on fertilizer imported from Russia, but increased duties on supplies from Morocco. U.S. farmers have been asking for relaxing supply constraints from Russia. The U.S. imports about 20 percent of its fertilizer...

Carbon Wars; Teeing up Taiwan

Carbon Wars The EU is moving forward with its plans for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), and with its EU Deforestation Regulation. Despite claims to handling domestic and imported products equally as required under the WTO’s national treatment obligation, there will be plenty...

Q1 GDP Comes in Low, Interest Rate Expected to Stay High

The Q1 2024 GDP was 1.6 percent, well below the pre-report consensus expectation of 2.4 percent, and down from 3.1 percent in Q1 2023 and 3.4 percent in Q4 2023. That rate was the slowest in almost two years, dating back to Q2 2022.  Recall that in the 2 February Ag Perspectives report on...

U.S. Consumer Spending, Financial Health Supports 2024 Economic Outlook

As WPI readers likely well know by now, U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grew at an inflation- and seasonally-adjusted 1.6 percent rate in Q1 2024, which missed economist’s 2.4 percent expectations. The data sent shockwaves through U.S. financial markets with U.S. stocks and bonds openin...

Most Apparent Solution; Future is Biotech

Most Apparent Solution The EU’s organic sector wants the bloc’s officials to take more action to ensure they achieve the target of 25 percent of agricultural output being organic by 2030. Specifically, they want a campaign to increase consumer demand for organic food so that organic...

Reigniting a Transatlantic Deal; Indian Powerhouse; “Barons” is Bombastic

Reigniting a Transatlantic Deal  Former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta is something of a policy rock star after authoring a report on the future strategy for the EU. Most of the 146-page report focuses on strengthening the EU’s internal Single Market but, buried at the end of th...

Hecho en Mexico; Radical for Small; Impeach Tai?

Hecho en Mexico While outgoing Mexican president and populist AMLO tries to shutdown American farmers, the U.S. government just keeps giving to Mexico. The de minimis duty is about to go away. The personal free import allowance is complex. Most American citizens reentering the country think of...

Trading Waste; Ottawa versus Manila; Politician’s Lag

Trading Waste Rich Westerners consumed so much plastic that even though landfills take much of it, their export of plastic waste now overwhelms Asia. Then Western policymakers gave yellow grease (used cooking oil) a very low carbon score for use as energy since it is a form of recycling. With h...

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