News items related to ag tech, biotech, trade – and perhaps some other interesting topics 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 come back and check the page during the week.

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Generally speaking, the impression people likely get from news over recent months is that the state of trade is in a terrible flux and causing much angst and concern.  A bit of a roller coaster ride as the main picture for this week suggests.

That’s a completely understandable assessment and the argument certainly can be easily made.  However, the newest World Trade Outlook Indicator, monitored by the World Trade Organization (WTO), seems to diverge with the negativity a bit (see grapic and story link below).

https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news17_e/wtoi_07aug17_e.htm

The WTOs latest World Trade Outlook Indicator (WTOI) is at it’s highest level since April 2011. (Source: World Trade Organization)

Also included below, you’ll notice news indicating that Kenya is moving forward, while the State of South Australia isn’t on biotech crop adoption.  Concerted efforts have been waged to impede crop trials and acceptance in Kenya (and much of Africa) so this is clearly positive news on that front.

But then across the Indian Ocean from there, the Premier of South Australia – the only mainland state in the nation that has a GM morotorium- bluntly indicated he is ignoring  requests from farmers to end the ban early.  It’s currently slated to expire in 2019, however, the Premier also wants to extend it longer.  Below is a link to a story, where to paraphrase one of his quotes, he essentially says the rural community doesn’t have enough voting clout so he doesn’t have to listen to them.

Global Farmer Network member Heather Baldock, who farms with her husband in SA, authored a recent column on the topic here that also appeared in FarmOnline publications in Australia, SA GM ban nothing to do with health or science – all about politics.

That headline says it all.

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TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

Trade indicator points to continued modest recovery of world trade in third quarter – World Trade Organization (Aug 7)

“…The latest reading of 102.6 is higher than the previous reading of 102.2 issued in May this year, suggesting sustained momentum for trade growth.” – Link

Trump promised a trade war. Here’s what he’s doing instead. – The Washington Post, Editorial (Aug 6) – Link

 

Apec miracle: how the US and China can look beyond TPP and RCEP for Asia-Pacific trade harmony – South China Morning Post – By Zha Daojiong (Aug 6)

“Beijing and Washington could use their Apec membership as the scope to work towards the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, to benefit all Pacific Rim economies” – Link

Ag may have played a role in convincing Trump to hold off on China trade action – CNBC – By Jeff Daniels (Aug 4) – Link

U.S. Beef Is Back on China’s Shelves—But China Doesn’t Care – Bloomberg (Aug 4)

“I would like to try the U.S. beef, but there are only a few options to choose from…” – Link

Free-Trade is a Two-Way Street – Wall Street Journal – Commentary by Wilbur Ross (Aug 1)

“China, the EU and other trading partners put up formidable barriers to imports from America.” – Link (Subscription required)

US sanctions are ‘trade war’ on Russia, says PM Medvedev – BBC News (Aug 3) – Link

Mercosur trade bloc suspends Venezuela on democracy concerns – ABC News/AP (Aug 5) – Link

Agriculture: Sowing the Seeds of Global Trade Competition – Stratfor, Worldview (Aug 3) 

“[The US and EU] will seek to set and control international biotech policy and food safety regulations…Nevertheless, China will retain the upper hand in the agriculture industry as producers vie for access to the world’s biggest importer.” – Link

Scrap import tariffs and review food standards post-Brexit, says think-tank – Food Navigator – By David Burrows (Aug 7)

“The UK should use Brexit to “lower and ultimately eliminate” trade tariffs on food imports and review all scientific evidence on food safety, including genetically modified (GM) foods and chlorine-washed chicken.” – Link

 

AG, AG TECH, RESEARCH, PRODUCTION, PROTECTION, RELATED ISSUES:

Agtech profits gone missing with low on-farm sensor uptake – The Land (Australia) – By Mike Foley (Aug 7) – Link

Russian struggle against GMO feed hurts meat business – GlobalMeatNews.com – By Vladislav Vorotnikov (Aug 4)

“…this is only one aspect of the campaign Russia is waging against GMOs…the situation in Russia has driven up feed prices, putting heavy pressure on meat producers…” – Link

AquaBounty to start US production at former Bell Fish site – Feed Navigator – By Aerin Einstein-Curtis (Aug 2)

“AquaBounty Technologies buys aquaculture facility in Indiana to start land-based production of engineered AquAdvantage salmon.” – Link

GMO salmon caught in U.S. regulatory net, but Canadians have eaten 5 tons – Washington Post – By Jenna Gallegos (Aug 4) – Link

Ancient grain genome breakthrough advances struggle for food security – Food Navigator – By Gill Hyslop (Aug 4)

“…will open up an unparalleled opportunity to further the development of hardier, more productive strains of modern wheat.” – Link

Methodological Flaws Found In Studies Reporting Adverse Effects Of GM Crops – CropBiotech Update (ISAAA) (Aug 2) – Link

 

POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

Safety agency defies Mailu over GMO trials – Business Daily (Kenya) (Aug 2)

“…National Performance Trial for biotech maize and cotton is scheduled to start as soon as October.” – Link

SA Premier Jay Weatherill rejects grain growers’ push to legalise genetically modified crops – ABC News (Australia) – By Marty McCarthy (July 28)

“The South Australian Premier says a lack of voter support from rural electorates means he will not be pressured by grain farmers to scrap a ban on the growing of genetically modified foods.” – Link

Head of EPA promises agency will return to basics – Western Farm Press – By Tom J. Bechman (Aug 3)

“Scott Pruitt tells farmers he will guide EPA back to following its original mission.” – Link

Trump’s Win Squelched the Anti-GMO movement – National Review – By Julie Kelly (Aug 2)

The [Vermont GMO-labeling] legislation was the result of years of successful lobbying by the organic industry and environmentalists to alarm consumers about GMOs in their food… to make GMOs sound dangerous so people will buy more non-GMO, organic goods.” – Link

Fear and regulatory costs dogging genetically engineered crops – Delta Farm Press – By Hembree Brandon (Aug 3)

“Genome editing, has taken crop plant breeding to “an entirely new level,” says Dr. Adrianne Massey. But “a totally dysfunctional regulatory system” and activist opposition continue as barriers to progress.” – Link
*** File this under just another unnecessary marketing/scare tactic:

Heavenly Organics announces new glyphosate-free certification by The Detox Project – Food Navigator USA – By Adi Menayang (Aug 2)

“Honey and confectionery maker Heavenly Organics announced that it is the first brand to receive The Detox Project’s new glyphosate residue-free certification.” – Link

FDA authorizes qualified health claim for soybean oil – Feedstuffs – By Jacqui Fatka (Aug 4)

“Manufacturers may now communicate that soybean oil may reduce coronary heart disease risk and lower LDL cholesterol.” – Link
Inside the Secret World of Global Food Spies – Bloomberg (Aug 7)

“Retail giants turn to bitcoin technology to combat food-fraud” – Link