News items related to ag tech, 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 newest items will be in green at bottom of sections).  Be sure to check in regularly.

TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

India, EU discuss long pending free trade agreement – The Times of India (Feb 20)

“The talks have been stalled since May, 2013, when both sides failed to bridge substantial gaps on the crucial issues.” – Link

Study looks at free-trade-with-Russia scenario – Deutsche Welle (Feb 20)

“The study admits that a free trade agreement of this kind is barely conceivable as long as the Ukraine conflict remains unsettled and Western sanctions against Russia are in place.” – Link

EU pushes for 2017 conclusion to Japan free trade talks – Reuters (Feb 20)

“A trade deal between the two has taken on added significance after U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from a planned Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade alliance including Japan and as the EU looks beyond America for trade partnerships.” – Link

Report: Trump administration eyes changes to trade deficit calculations – The Hill – By Evelyn Rupert (Feb 19)

“The change would inflate the trade deficit number, an important figure in trade negotiations and policy.” – Link

…also see WSJ Trump Administration Considers Change in Calculating U.S. Trade Deficit

RCEP talks now the most important initiative in global trade – Asia Times – By Shiron Armstrong and Amy King (Feb 21)

“It’s a misconception that China is in charge of trade talks in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership grouping.” – Link

E.U. Trade Commissioner Warns U.S. against Trade War – Handelsblatt Global – By Till Hoppe (Feb 20)
Getting a Feel for Trump’s Trade Game – The Weekly Standard – By Irwin M. Stelzer (Feb 18)

“Donald Trump says he is for free trade. But it has to be fair trade. He sees himself not as a protectionist but as a protector of American workers from the ravages of unfair competition, somehow defined.” – Link

Organic Food Sales Are Booming; Why Are American Farmers Crying Foul? – Wall Street Journal – By Jacob Bunge (Feb 21)

“Organic grain is flooding into the U.S., depressing prices and drawing complaints from domestic organic farmers who fear their harvests are held to stricter standards than foreign-raised crops.” – Link

Deal to Streamline World Trade Takes Effect – US News & World Report – By Jamey Keaton, AP (Feb 22)

“The first multilateral trade agreement reached under the World Trade Organization since it was created over a generation ago has taken force, aiming to streamline cross-border trade to the benefit of the developing world in particular.” – Link

Here’s how Trump may overhaul US trade data — and why it matters – CNBC – By John W. Schoen (Feb 21)

“As the president aims to make good on campaign promises to “get tough” on U.S. trading partners, his administration is reportedly considering a major change in the way the U.S. reports its trade deficits.” – Link

Russia loses appeal over EU pork import ban – GlobalMeatNews.com – By Oscar Rousseau (Feb 24)

“Russia has lost its appeal against a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling over its blanket ban on imports of pigs and pork products from the European Union (EU).”Link

AG, AG TECH, PRODUCTION, RELATED ISSUES:

Pork grown in a lab nearer to reality – GlobalMeatNews.com – By Rod Addy (Feb 16)

“Lab-grown pork has moved a step closer to reality with the publication of fresh research on the topic.” – Link

‘Chemical free’ organic industry’s unacknowledged ‘pesticide problem’ – Genetic Literacy Project – By Andrew Porterfield (Feb 20)

“Organic marketers and anti-GMO activists exaggerate these efforts, making claims that organics are “pesticide-free” and don’t use “harmful” chemicals” – Link

China scientist convicted in U.S. of theft of engineered rice – Reuters (Feb 16)

“A federal jury on Thursday convicted a Chinese scientist in Kansas of conspiring to steal samples of a variety of genetically engineered rice seeds from a U.S. research facility, the U.S. Justice Department said, the latest attempt at agricultural theft linked to China.” – Link

GUEST COMMENTARY – CAN WE TURN “GENERATION YUM” INTO “GENERATION AG”? – The Chicago Council on Global Affairs – By Robert Hunter and Yvonne Harz-Pitre, Co-Chairs of Farming First

“Dubbed “Generation Yum” by author Eve Turow, young people in the developed world care much more about the quality, nutritional value, and provenance of their food than previous generations. This wave of interest comes at a critical moment.” – Link

Scientists remove reliance on seasonality in new broccoli line, potentially doubling yield – Scienmag, Science Magazine (Feb 21)

“It has the potential to deliver two full crops a season in-field or it can be grown all year round in protected conditions, which could help with continuity of supply, as growers would no longer be reliant on seasonal weather conditions.” – Link

Organic industry needs to re-evaluate zero tolerance of genetically modified crops: WA Farmers group – ABC Rural (Australia) – By Jo Prendergast and Di Darmody (Feb 25)

“I think the real issue is the fact that the organic industry needs to re-evaluate their zero status for GM and probably take a leaf out of the book of other countries around the world with their organic industries” – Link

Irradiated ground beef approved in Canada – GlobalMeatNews.com – By Joe Whitworth (Feb 24)

“Canada will permit the sale of fresh and frozen raw ground beef treated with irradiation.” – Link

POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

The Deeply Offensive Marketing Ploy of “Clean Food” – Medium – By Kevin Folta (Feb 15)

“At a time when all of our affluent-world food is produced with tremendous care and regulation, and 21,000 people will die today from lack of nutrition, it is disgusting to see safe food demonized in a cheap marketing gimmick.” Link

Agribusiness says politics trumps science in Commission move – Feed Navigator – By Jane Byrne (Feb 17)

“Some 17 trade groups including, FEFAC, have made a joint call to the EU Commission to prioritize science-based decision making when modifying EU authorization mechanisms.” – Link

Bees, Pesticides and the Activist Hive – The Wall Street Journal – By Matt Ridley (Feb 15)

“A pesticides ban in Europe could soon be overturned on the grounds that it was based on unreliable data. Meanwhile, revelations that one of the scientists behind the ban was also involved with a nongovernmental organization that campaigns against pesticides continue to undermine the ban’s integrity.” – Link 

Perceptions of genetically modified food are informed by more than just science – The Conversation – By Heather Bray and Rachel A. Ankeny (Feb 15)

“As researchers keen to foster engagement around the role of science and technology in food production, we feel that this research holds several lessons for science communication.” – Link

Arctic Apple could be Litmus test for future of GM foods, Rabobank analysts suggest – Food Navigator USA – By Elizabeth Crawford (Feb 20)

“When the Arctic Apple hits select store shelves this month as one of the first products genetically modified for consumers’ benefit, it will serve as a line in the sand for the tug of war between the non-GMO movement and the future of food innovation.” – Link

Bayer says Monsanto deal on track, eyes record 2017 – Yahoo! News – By Estelle Peard, AFP (Feb 22)

“The deal still requires regulatory approval from the European Union and the United States. But Bayer said it was “confident” that the transaction would be completed this year.” – Link

Why the CRISPR patent verdict isn’t the end of the story – Nature – By Heidi Ledford (Feb 17)

“From legal challenges to ongoing experimentation, the story of who owns the rights to CRISPR–Cas9 gene editing is still being written.” – Link

Gene editing in legal limbo in Europe – Nature – Editorial (Feb 22)

“The European Union is dragging its feet on gene-editing rules and scientists should push the issue.” – Link

How European-Based NGOs Block Crop Biotechnology Adoption In Africa – Genetic Literacy Project – By Margaret Karembu (Feb 23)

“European politicians and anti-biotech groups lobby to prevent Africa from adopting or trading GE crops” – Link