News items related to ag biotech, trade – and perhaps some other interesting items out there related to agriculture – will be posted on this page throughout the week (as the week progresses newly added items will be in green at bottom of sections).  Be sure to check in regularly!

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It may be political convention time and hence ‘trade-bashing season’ in the US as this week’s GFN column by Tim Burrack, When Trump and Clinton Talk Bad About Trade, Silence is Not Golden, points out… but here is a nicely done short multimedia piece telling what is and what will continue to be a tremendous success story for smallholder farmers in Bangladesh.  Well worth taking several minutes to check out, so please do!

 

Bangladesh’s genetically modified eggplants – Aljazeera – A production by Hidde Boersma, Philip Fountain and Karsten de Vreugd (Multimedia format with video and audio)

“Can genetically modified crops improve the lives of the poorest farmers?

Link: http://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2016/gmo-eggplants-aubergines-bangladesh/index.html#2208

TRADE:

Report urges WTO members to resist protectionism and “get trade moving again” – World Trade Organization (July 25)

“WTO members need to avoid putting up barriers and “get trade moving again” in order to address slow global economic growth, according to the Director-General’s mid-year report on trade-related developments issued on 25 July. The Trade Monitoring Report concludes that the “best safeguard we have against protectionism is a strong multilateral trading system”.”

Link: https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news16_e/trdev_22jul16_e.htm

UK reportedly exploring free trade agreement with China – GlobalMeatNews.com – By Oscar Rousseau (July 25)

“British Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is rumoured to have started negotiations with China over a multi-billion pound free trade agreement (FTA), only possible once Brexit is realised.”

Obama, Mexican president stress importance of relationship – Fox News / AP (July 22)

Link: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/07/22/obama-mexican-president-stress-importance-relationship.html

Trump blasts TPP, other ‘bad’ deals – Nikkei Asian Review – By Naoya Yoshino (July 23)

Link: http://asia.nikkei.com/Politics-Economy/Policy-Politics/Trump-blasts-TPP-other-bad-deals

Tim Kaine changes course on TPP after VP nod – CBS News – By Reena Flores (July 23)

“A Clinton aide confirmed to CBS News that Kaine had made a private commitment to Clinton that he would now oppose TPP…”

Link: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/tim-kaine-changes-course-on-tpp-after-vp-nod/

Trump ag advisers signal candidate flexibility on trade, immigration – Agri-Pulse – By Philip Brasher (July 22)

Link: http://www.agri-pulse.com/Trump-ag-advisers-signal-candidate-flexibility-on-trade-immigration-07222016.asp

The Truth About Trade – What Critics Get Wrong About the Global Economy – Foreign Affairs – By Douglas A. Irwin (July / August 2016 issue)

“Blaming other countries for the United States’ economic woes is an age-old tradition in American politics…”

Link: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2016-06-13/truth-about-trade

Majority of Americans support expanded trade, poll – The Hill – By Vicki Needham (July 22)

“[T]he United States must engage globally to grow the economy, a view that runs counter to the anti-trade sentiment in the presidential campaigns, according to a new poll.”

Link: http://thehill.com/policy/finance/288936-majority-of-americans-support-expanded-trade-poll

Fran O’Sullivan: Never mind the warships – passing the TPP is what matters now – New Zealand Herald – By Fran O’Sullivan (July 23)

Link: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11679642

In our opinion: Despite alarming shift against free trade, free trade is proven – Deseret News (Utah) – By Editorial Board (July 26)

“The truth about trade, however, goes beyond popular slogans. It has been proven through decades of experience. Free trade raises incomes, creates jobs, fosters innovation and reduces the price of goods we buy.”

Link: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865658728/In-our-opinion-Despite-alarming-shift-against-free-trade-free-trade-is-proven.html?pg=all

Why Dropping the Trans-Pacific Partnership May Be a Bad Idea – The New York Times – Economic Sense by Eduardo Porter (July 26)

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/27/business/economy/why-dropping-the-trans-pacific-partnership-may-be-a-bad-idea.html?_r=1

Germany’s Merkel: US trade deal ‘absolutely’ in EU interest – US News & World Report / AP (July 28)

“German Chancellor Angela Merkel says a planned trade deal between the U.S. and the European Union is “absolutely in Europe’s interest” and is rejecting an industry group’s criticism that politicians aren’t doing enough to support it”

Link: http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2016-07-28/germanys-merkel-us-trade-deal-absolutely-in-eu-interest

BIOTECH:

Field of genes: Cultivating biopharma, bio-ag links – Boston Globe – By Robert Weisman (July 23)

Link: https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2016/07/22/bioag/GAtxQupg6hDr3ZKityX7lJ/story.html

Commission approves 3 GM soybeans for EU import – Food Navigator – By Niamh Michail (July 25)

“The European Commission authorised three GMOs to be sold for food and feed in Europe last week.”

GMO Tomatoes May Stay Firm Longer – The Wall Street Journal – By Daniela Hernandez (July 25)

“The genetic tweaks don’t significantly affect color and may preserve flavor, according to a new study”

Link: http://www.wsj.com/articles/gmo-tomatoes-may-stay-firm-longer-1469458926

Supreme Court opens door for GMO research – Business World (Philippines) – By Vince Alvic A. F. Nonato (July 27)

Link: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=TopStory&title=supreme-court-opens-door-for-gmo-research&id=131003

We talked to a Harvard geneticist who thinks this unlikely ingredient could end one of the longest-raging food wars once and for all – Business Insider – By Erin Brodwin (July 25)

Link: http://www.businessinsider.com/crispr-crops-could-end-war-on-gmos

Soylent: ‘Proudly Made with GMOs’ – Food Navigator USA – By Elaine Watson (July 28)

“It’s a bold move given how highly-charged – and extremely polarized – the debate has become, but Los Angeles-based start-up Soylent has weighed into the conversation over genetically engineered food crops with a blog post entitled: ‘Soylent: Proudly Made with GMOs.'”

OTHER:

On-farm events improve consumer perception – Feedstuffs – By Sarah Muirhead (July 20)

“The percentage of first-time visitors agreeing or strongly agreeing that farmers treat animals humanely increased from 61% to 91% after touring the farm.”

Link: http://feedstuffs.com/story-farm-events-improve-consumer-perception-45-144279

Taxpayers are paying for scientific scaremongering – The Hill – By Andrew Langer, contributor (July 16)

“Congress might want to take a hard look at how taxpayers money is being squandered on junk science by some federal agencies.”

Link: http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/healthcare/287952-taxpayers-are-paying-for-scientific-scaremongering

Tanzania: Smallholder Farmers Advised to Operate Under One Formal Group – allAfrica / Tanzania Daily News – By Bernard Lugongo (July 26)

“[S]mallholder farmers in the country face a range of challenges, including obtaining and paying for quality seeds, fertiliser and pesticides and transporting goods to the market.”

Link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201607260005.html

Venezuelans are so desperate they are swarming over the border to buy food – The Washington Post – By Nick Miroff (July 25)

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/venezuelans-are-so-desperate-they-are-swarming-over-the-border-to-buy-food/2016/07/22/16c67c5a-4d1c-11e6-bf27-405106836f96_story.html

Factory Farmer? No, I’m A Family Farmer – Forbes.com – By Lawson Mozley, GMO Answers contributor (July 22)

“Today I was called a “factory farmer” because I use vaccines and antibiotics in my cattle herd and genetically engineered crop varieties in our fields.

While I didn’t take it as the insult it was meant to be, it betrayed an inherent flaw in the way the public sees farmers and food in our country. Somehow, large = bad, technology = dangerous, science = scary, and efficient = evil.”

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/gmoanswers/2016/07/22/family-farmer/#16cb00db15bd

Genetics might help grow perfect cup of coffee – Genetic Literacy Project – By Diana Gitig (July 27)

“[W]ild Arabica (Coffea arabica, the best-loved species of coffee) could be extinct as soon as 2020.”

Link: https://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/2016/07/27/genetics-might-help-grow-perfect-cup-coffee/

Humans once opposed coffee and refrigeration. Here’s why we often hate new stuff. – The Washington Post, Innovations – By Steven Overly (July 21)

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/07/21/humans-once-opposed-coffee-and-refrigeration-heres-why-we-often-hate-new-stuff/

Why Has Organic Farming Flatlined? – Science 2.0 – By Hank Campbell (July 27)
Organic farmland remains stuck at around 1% because organic food itself is for the 1% – it is lots of things; a lifestyle, a world-view, a way of self-identification and being distinct from the peasants – but it is not a mass movement.

U.N. warns of ‘race against time’ for 23 million drought-stricken African farmers – By Magdalena Mis (July 28)

Link: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-africa-drought-el-nino-idUSKCN1081M6

Wild or farmed fish: will changing consumer attitudes be good news for aquaculture? – Food Navigator – By Natalie Morrison (July 28)

“The question ‘farmed fish or wild fish?’ has leaned heavily towards the most natural option, but new studies suggest changing consumer sentiment could be good news for aquaculture.”

Why Food Labeling Has Little To Do With Knowing What Is In Your Food – Forbes.com – By Steven Savage (July 26)

“[T]he net effect of all of this will do very little to help Americans “know what is in their food.”  That assessment may sound harsh, but a quick review of the history of U.S. food labeling is rather sobering.”

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevensavage/2016/07/26/why-food-labeling-has-little-to-do-with-knowing-what-is-in-your-food/#cfc693b5a19d

People want GMO food labeled — which is pretty much all they know about GMOs – Washington Post – By Chelsea Harvey (July 21)

““There are a lot of groups that have been very vocal one way or the other, and I think we have confused the American public on this issue,” she said.”

Link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/07/21/people-want-gmo-food-labeled-which-is-pretty-much-all-they-know-about-gmos/

Organic Leaders Turn On Whole Foods And Each Other Over GMO Labeling Bill – Forbes.com – By Kavin Senapathy (July 29)

“[O]ne thing remains clear: the labeling movement was never about consumers’ right to know. This “right” has always been a subterfuge for something more nefarious”

Link: http://www.forbes.com/sites/kavinsenapathy/2016/07/29/organic-leaders-turn-on-whole-foods-and-each-other-crying-traitor-over-gmo-labeling-bill/#2bb48bab61da