Happy Thursday, here are a few news items to watch:
Reuters: China hikes anti-dumping duties on U.S. animal feed in final ruling: China has increased punitive tariffs on imports of a U.S. animal feed ingredient known as distillers’ dried grains (DDGS) from levels first proposed last year, potentially escalating a trade spat between the world’s two largest economies.
The ruling is a major victory for China’s fledgling ethanol industry, which had complained the U.S. industry was unfairly benefiting from subsidies, and followed a year-long government probe.
It also deals a blow to U.S. ethanol manufacturers already bracing for Beijing’s higher import taxes on their main product. DDGS are a byproduct of the corn-based biofuel that have become a key contributor to profits. The industry is pumping out record volumes of biofuel and is facing domestic political uncertainty as they wait for President-elect Donald Trump to take office.
In a final ruling, the Commerce Ministry said on Wednesday that anti-dumping duties would range from 42.2 percent to 53.7 percent, up from 33.8 percent in its preliminary decision in September. Anti-subsidy tariffs will range from 11.2 percent to 12 percent, up from 10 percent to 10.7 percent.
Beijing said it found the domestic DDGS industry had “suffered substantial harm” due to subsidized imports from the United States. China is the world’s top buyer of DDGS and buys almost all of its needs from the United States, the largest exporter.
The U.S. Trade Representative did not respond to request for comment. U.S. Grains Council President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Sleight said in a statement on Wednesday the group is “deeply disappointed” by the news and by the increase in China’s ethanol import tariffs from 5 to 30 percent. Continue reading.
The Wall Street Journal: Agriculture Chief Vilsack Says Trump Is Moving Too Slowly in Replacing Him: The Obama administration’s agriculture secretary is making hay over the fact that Donald Trump hasn’t yet nominated anyone to succeed him. Tom Vilsack, during a visit to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, said that the absence of an agriculture secretary pick so late in the cabinet-selection process reflects a “lack of appreciation” for what…continue reading.
Summit Daily: Science of Food: A current perspective of GMOs and RoundUp: There is a huge controversy around the topic of GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, which can be viewed as two separate issues relevant to human health and the environment: 1.) The modified organism itself, that contains a new sequence of DNA created by man in a laboratory that imparts new genetics and novel traits to the organism, and 2.) The widespread use of glyphosate, formulated as Monsanto’s herbicide RoundUp, used in conjunction with genetically modified “RoundUp Ready” crops (corn and soybeans being the most common), and now being used as a pre-harvesting agent on non-GMO crops like wheat, oats and sugar cane.
Because there is so much information to convey on this topic, I have split it into two parts. In part I of this series, I will discuss some of the science that supports why GMOs and glyphosate in particular are dangerous to human health. In part II, I will address more specific consequences of GMOs and RoundUp on the environment, what foods are high risk and what the different food labels mean so that consumers can make more informed decisions about what they are eating.
With the new DNA technology that currently exists, it has become relatively easy for humans to manipulate the genetics of any organism. Genes are pieces of DNA that are ultimately expressed into proteins that determine the organism’s traits. While some genetically modified (GM) crops have been developed with good intention (for example “golden rice”), in general GM crops are engineered to be “RoundUp Ready,” to survive the indiscriminate spraying of RoundUp so that these crops stay alive while the weeds around them die. Continue reading.
We are experiencing warmer than normal weather and watching as our family in Oklahoma prepare for winter storms. Hope you’re able to get all your chores done wherever you are.–Melissa Beck