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Podcast: Ticking Debt Bomb

Roll Call | Posted on July 5, 2018

The Congressional Budget Office recently issued an alarming report on the nation's debt outlook, which CQ senior budget reporter Paul M. Krawzak says should worry millennials. The US debt burden is set to break records in early 2030s

With binational tensions unusually high, trends in key Midwest sectors are reminder of value of U.S.-Canada partnerships

CSG Midwest | Posted on July 5, 2018

Recent headlines have pointed to some of the strains (a mix of new tensions and a flare-up of longstanding conflicts) in the U.S.-Canada relationship. There have been proposed U.S. tariffs on steel, harsh words exchanged on Canadian dairy policy, and threats by President Donald Trump to end the North American Free Trade Agreement.But dig a little deeper, and a much different story emerges — one of economic interdependence and cooperation in key areas such as energy and the environment.“The relationship at the provincial-state level is probably as strong, if not stronger, than it has been since the mid-1980s,” says Carlo Dade, director of the Canada West Foundation’s Trade and Investment Centre, pointing, in particular, to the deeper relations built between state governors and provincial premiers.Canada and the United States share much more than the largest binational border in the world; their peaceful relationship has contributed to economic growth in both countries as well as to the development of an intricate, integrated trading partnership.Canada is the largest purchaser of U.S. exports (goods and services combined) in the world; likewise, the United States is Canada’s largest trading partner. According to the U.S. Trade Representative, trade in goods and services between Canada and the United States totaled $674 billion in 2017, with U.S. exports to its northern neighbor exceeding imports.Services, a sometimes overlooked part of the trading relationship, produced this $8 billion surplus for the United States. In Illinois alone, for example, $2.6 billion worth of business, professional, technical, financial and other services were exported to Canada last year.On the goods side, several states in the Midwest have particularly close economic ties with their Canadian neighbors, thanks to this region being a hub of production activity related to the making of cars, industrial engines, plastics, food and energy products.

Farm bill heads to conference committee with concerns over food stamps, animal rights

Lawrence Journal World | Posted on July 5, 2018

Roberts, who chairs the Senate Agriculture Committee, along with the ranking Democrat on the committee, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan, were largely responsible for coordinating the drafting of the Senate version of the bill. It passed Thursday, 86-11.But it is significantly different from the House version of the bill, which passed June 21 by a vote of 213-211, with only Republican support.Democrats in the House objected to provisions of that bill that would impose stricter work requirements in order to qualify for food stamps, while the Senate version makes only modest adjustments to existing eligibility requirements.

Canada Slaps Tariffs on US Beef

DTN | Posted on July 2, 2018

Canada announced a final list of items targeted for retaliation over U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs, hitting U.S. beef, agricultural chemicals and whiskey, as well as a large number of steel and aluminum products. The $12.6 billion of tariffs will go into effect on July 1. Items will be subject to taxes of 10% or 25%.

Farm Bill Passes Senate

Politico | Posted on June 28, 2018

The Senate easily passed its farm bill by a vote of 86-11, clearing the way for a conference committee to reconcile differences with the House's version of the sweeping agriculture and nutrition legislation. The Senate's bipartisan support of the $867 billion bill, coming a week after the House passed its partisan measure by a margin of just two votes, gives Congress some leeway in its effort to deliver legislation to President Donald Trump to sign before the current farm bill expires on Sept. 30. Reauthorizing the farm bill on time is a priority in farm country, where a prolonged slump in commodity prices has more than halved net farm income in recent years and trade retaliation has already cut into some farmers’ bottom line.

House Rejects GOP’s ‘Compromise’ Immigration Bill — Overwhelmingly

Roll Call | Posted on June 28, 2018

ouse Republicans’ legislative attempt to find consensus within their own party on the divisive issue of immigration failed on the floor Wednesday, with the chamber overwhelmingly rejecting their so-called compromise bill, 121-301.  The compromise bill was negotiated by members representing all sides of the various factions in the GOP Conference and Republican leaders in recent weeks. But some of the negotiators had maintained concerns throughout the process.

USDA surveys small, very small establishments

Meatingplace (free registration required) | Posted on June 28, 2018

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service is conducting a survey to “help enhance the creation and delivery of information and resources” for small and very small meat and poultry processing and slaughter establishments, the agency said in a news release. FSIS is emailing a survey link to small and very small establishments that slaughter or process livestock or poultry. Owners will have about 30 days to complete the survey.

Tariff uncertainty puts some Chinese hay orders on hold

Capital Press | Posted on June 28, 2018

Chinese customers are holding back on some orders of alfalfa from Washington’s Columbia Basin as they wait to see what happens with tariffs, a major U.S. hay exporter says.

From boat makers to farmers, US-led tariff war inflicts pain

AP | Posted on June 28, 2018

A Florida boat builder absorbs $4 million in lost business and expects more pain. An Ohio pork producer is losing access to a vital export market and fears the damage will last years. A motorcycle shop near Cologne, Germany, wonders if it even has a future. A brawl that the United States provoked with its closest trading partners is starting to draw blood. On Friday, the European Union began imposing tariffs on $3.4 billion in American goods — from whiskey and motorcycles to peanuts and cranberries — to retaliate for President Donald Trump’s own tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. China, India and Turkey had earlier begun penalizing American products in response to the U.S. tariffs on metals.“We’re bleeding pretty bad right now,” said Jim Heimerl, a pork producer in Johnstown, Ohio.Pork producers like Heimerl are already suffering from plunging prices and reduced income since China’s move to impose a 25 percent tariff on American pork in retaliation for Trump’s tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. On July 6, the United States is set to slap tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods to punish Beijing for forcing American companies to hand over technology in exchange for access to China’s market and other brass-knuckled attempts to supplant U.S. technological dominance.

Fear grows of long-lasting damage from Mexican ag tariffs

Agri-Pulse | Posted on June 28, 2018

U.S. farmers are already hurting, thanks to Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs for U.S. import taxes on steel and aluminum, but the pain is expected to increase sharply in the weeks and months to come. U.S. exporters have become accustomed to the zero duties under the North American Free Trade Agreement, but the new tariffs are still equal to or below what Mexico charges most other major suppliers. That means the U.S. can still compete thanks to the closeness of the two countries, both geographically and in shared supply channels.“Trade is not going to stop right away,” said one U.S. industry official. “We’re going to continue to sell.” But on July 5, those tariffs will rise to a range of 20 to 25 percent, and that’s expected to do severe damage – perhaps lasting damage – to U.S. dairy farmers’ largest foreign market. “A 10-15 percent jump from zero – especially since other trading partners don’t have zero percent access – that’s not the end of the world,” another dairy industry representative said. “Certainly that’s going to bite a lot more once we’re up closer to levels that (other foreign exporters) have to pay, in the 20-25 percent range.” That threat prompted dozens of dairy companies and groups to send a letter to President Donald Trump on Tuesday, pleading for him to suspend the steel and aluminum tariffs on Mexican exporters. U.S. potato farmers are also being hurt by Mexico’s retaliatory tariffs on frozen french fries while Mexican consumers will likely not suffer at all, National Potato Council CEO John Keeling told Agri-Pulse. “They know that it hits the U.S. and they can still get all the french fries they need because they’re all going to come from Canada,” he said. “What happens in the short run is that volume shifts to Canada. In the long term, those shifts will become permanent.”