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).  Check the page during the week for updates.

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This week US President Trump is traveling through Asia and trade is clearly a big item and will be a major point of discussions a number of times during the trip.

Note: After the new New Zealand PM’s recent comments about ‘renegotiating’ the TPP, now the Canadian PM has made some comments about ‘not rushing’ the TPP (see below).  If one stands back views the overall picture with a bit of dispassion— while the US has justifiably taken flak for stepping back on trade leadership, it appears that blame can also be spread around to quite a few other countries, or blocs, on any number of different issues.

Social media – love it or hate it, it’s changed the way people communicate. But, not necessarily always in a good way as ‘bad’ info or ‘fake news’ can spread fast and far and once it’s out it’s nearly impossible to dispel, let alone retract.  A few recent articles on this topic and how it’s related to food and ag are included below.

 


TRADE, TRADE RELATED, INFRASTRUCTURE:

Trump touts solidarity with Japan but refuses to shy away from trade – The Japan Times – By Tomohiro Osaki (Nov 6)

““I’m committed to achieving a fair, free and reciprocal trading relationship,” Trump said. “We seek equal and reliable access for American exports to Japan’s market in order to eliminate our chronic trade imbalances and deficits with Japan.” – Link

Decoding Trump’s China Trade Strategy – Wall Street Journal – By Jacob M. Schlesinger (Nov 5)

“President’s first official trip to the country he has branded ‘an economic enemy’ could raise more questions than answers on his plans” – Link (subscription-based)

Donald Trump begins 12-day Asia trip, Japan first port of call – Livemint (India) – By Elizabeth Roche (Nov 6)

“For India, US govt’s increasing use of the term ‘Indo-Pacific’ is of particular interest” – Link

Aust, NZ remain committed to TPP – Australian Assoc. Press – By Colin Brinsden (Nov 5)

“Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull and his New Zealand counterpart Jacinda Ardern have thrown their support behind the TPP in their first official meeting.” – Link

Jacinda Ardern seeking TPP concessions at first appearance on international stage – Stuff (NZ) – By Vernon Small (Nov 6)

“Ardern and her minister have to walk a fine line between rejecting the TPP, if the ISDS clauses are not changed, and the advantages the trade pact offers exporters, particularly in the Japanese market.” – Link

‘EU may talk free trade but they don’t do it!’ Trump’s trade chief BLASTS Merkel’s legacy – The Express (UK) – By Oli Smith (Nov 6) – Link

Canada’s progressive push for the updated TPP might not come so easy – CTV News (Canada) – By Andy Blatchford (Nov 7) – Link

Trudeau says Canada ‘will not be rushed’ into signing renewed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal – CBC News – By John Paul Tasker (Nov 8)

“Trudeau’s comments Wednesday leave open the possibility Canada could sit on the sidelines while other countries put pen to paper on a new deal.” – Link

See also Reuters

China’s Technology Ambitions Could Upset the Global Trade Order – New York Times (Nov 7)

“Even before the Communist Revolution, China obsessed about absorbing foreign technology… But Made in China 2025 is more ambitious than anything the government has ever attempted, a national industrial policy that aims to project a new type of global might and influence.” – Link

American Agriculture Can’t Afford to Lose out on Trade – Farm Bureau News – By Hope Pjesky (Nov 8)

“…some of the products we take for granted in our grocery stores wouldn’t be available without trade…” – Link (Note: the author is a member of the Global Farmer Network)


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

EU weedkiller row leaves French winegrowers with a hangover – AFP (France) (Oct 25)

“The vast majority of producers cultivating western France’s famed Bordeaux grapes are heavily reliant on weedkillers including glyphosate.” – Link

Genetically modified apples are headed to grocery stores in the Midwest – Chicago Tribune / Bloomberg – By Lydia Mulvaney (Nov 6)

“The purpose of Arctic apples is definitely to promote healthy eating, boost apple consumption and reduce food waste, no matter what your age, income, or any other factor” – Link

National Best Farmers express interest in learning more about agricultural biotechnology – GhanaWeb (Nov 2)

“…they need accurate information to dispel speculations that have “portrayed this science as an evil that must be detested” – Link

Biological pesticides may pull integrated pest management out of a bog – Southeast Farm Press – By John Hart (Nov 1)

“Biological pesticides can play a role in integrated pest management. IPM is all about ecosystems and a systems-based approach to controlling pests.” – Link

RNAi Key for Pest Research – AgWeb – By Chris Bennett (Nov 6)

“Disease, drought, pests and much more are fair game for RNAi’s unprecedented accuracy.” – Link

Genetically modified apple reaches US stores, but will consumers bite? – Nature – By Amy Maxmen (Nov 7)

“Success for the ‘Arctic apple’ could herald a new wave of lab-grown foods.” – Link

Smallholder Farmers to Gain from Gene Editing Technology – Crop Biotech Update, ISAAA (Nov 2) – Link

Vitamin E in Maize Could Lead to More Nutritious Crop – Crop Biotech Update, ISAAA (Nov 8) – Link

 


POLICY, REGULATORY, ACTIVISM, OTHER:

Repetition can often make it true — and forget about the science – The Western Producer (Canada) – By Robert Arnason (Oct 31)

“Thanks to wondrous platforms like Twitter and Facebook it’s now possible to say “glyphosate probably causes cancer” fifty million times in a month.”” – Link

Relax, You Don’t Need to ‘Eat Clean’ – New York Times – By Aaron E. Carroll (Nov 4)

“By fretting about food, we turn occasions for comfort and joy into sources of fear and anxiety.” – Link

How agro companies use GMO as battleground for market space – Daily Trust (Nigeria) – By Vincent A. Yusuf (Nov 5)

“Europe is fighting America in this technology – it is more of a trade war than a scientific war.” – Link

We are those big, GMO farmers – AgWeek – By Kate Lambert (Nov 5)

“Shortly after our oldest child was born, I started reading everything the search engine returned about how to feed children the “right way.” It would be a few more years before I realized this is almost never a good idea.” – Link

Gene technology regulator examines Omega-3 genetically modified canola – The Weekly Times (Australia) – By Lydal Reading (Oct 31) – Link

Chipotle stockholders’ suit says company, CDC kept secrets – Food Safety News – By Coral Beach (Nov 3)

“Documents show CDC investigated 14 foodborne outbreaks linked to Chipotle, beginning in 2014” – Link

Groups Praise USDA Revisit of Biotechnology Reviews – DTN, Ag Policy Blog – By Jerry Hagstrom (Nov 7) – Link

European farmers say glyphosate deadlock shows mistrust in EU bodies – Euractiv – By Sarantis Michalopoulos (Nov 5) – Link

Hydroponic Veggies Are Taking Over Organic, And A Move To Ban Them Fails – NPR, The Salt – By Dan Charles (Nov 2)

“The battle is over more than philosophy. It’s about market share.” – Link

Is ‘Natural Flavor’ Healthier Than ‘Artificial Flavor’? – NPR, The Salt – By Natalie Jacewicz (Nov 3)

Ingredients extracted from nature are not necessarily safer than something artificially made – many deadly toxins are produced in nature – and in some cases, natural flavors may have more detrimental environmental consequences – Link

EPA approves genetically modified mosquitoes to fight Zika  – New York Daily News – By Constance Gibbs (Nov 8) – Link

Confusion over GMOs must stop, farmers tell a listening FDA – Southeast Farm Press – By John Hart (Nov 8)

“Two farmers told a public hearing sponsored by the Food and Drug Administration that biotechnology allows farmers to increase yields while using less fuel, less chemicals and with less impact on the environment.” – Link

Large U.S. farm study finds no cancer link to Monsanto weedkiller – Reuters – By Kate Kelland (Nov 9)

“Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (JNCI), the study found there was no association between glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide RoundUp, “and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall…“This is the largest study of agricultural workers in history, over the longest period of time”… It is the gold standard,… and it definitively demonstrates in a real-world environment that glyphosate doesn’t cause cancer.”” – Link

See also – EU hits deadlock over license for Roundup herbicide (Reuters, Nov 9)