Washington Insider

All Column Articles

  • There has long been concern about the durability and effectiveness of the July "trade truce" between the U.S. and the European Union (EU) and now there are growing worries that it could come apart. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross challenged the "fragile deal" by accusing the European...

  • Food Safety News is reporting this week that a pair of San Francisco Bay area activist organizations are continuing to "pressure FDA about keeping the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rulemaking on a schedule," and are again pushing for the agency to meet the Act's mandates.

  • Roll Call is reporting this week that numerous current farm programs are on track to "turn into pumpkins if Congress doesn't act." And as the fight intensifies, Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R., Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D., Mich., are pointing to the bill that passed...

  • Amid growing concerns about possible tougher rules on imports from China, Bloomberg reported recently about new possible food safety threat. Last year, contaminated romaine lettuce from Arizona was thought to have sickened at least 210 and killed five.

  • Amid U.S. trade policy fights and growing political angst, the urban media is paying increasing attention to problems in emerging markets. For example, Bloomberg says that "already rattled by an exodus of capital and tumbling currencies, emerging markets are bracing for a protracted struggle." ...

  • Bloomberg is reporting this week that Canadians are still thinking about reaching out to China on trade. Part of the reason is that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal, which still must be signed and ratified to take effect, includes a clause that would force any one of the U.S., Canada...

  • Earlier this week, President Donald Trump directed EPA to develop a regulation that would allow sales of E15 all year. It is currently prohibited during the summer months due to pollution concerns, The Hill says this week. The report says the new policy is "creating strange bedfellows" because...

  • Bloomberg is reporting this week that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is downgrading the world economic outlook for first time since July 2016 and pointing at turbulence in emerging markets as another major factor. The report said that the IMF believes that the world economy is...

  • Amid recent deep political tensions over a Supreme Court nomination, efforts to reauthorize the expiring 2014 Farm Bill have been largely pushed off the front page of many ag focused publications. However, POLITICO is reporting this week that this fight, too, is tough and may be getting tougher.

  • Well, the recent agreement on the modified NAFTA deal has lowered the political temperature among trading partners in North America somewhat, pundits are struggling to see what it might mean. For example, the New York Times in its Upshot section this week says that the administration strategy...

  • At a time when baseball teams line up fielders on the basis of data regarding batter performance, we are now being told that the Chinese are "going after American farm products to hurt the President's political base." A recent New York Times article presents details of how and where that is...

  • Well, there was a significant sigh of relief this week after the agreement with Canada on the new NAFTA was announced and an earnest scurry among analysts regarding what it says and what it means. Most of the reactions range from "not much change" to outright "favorable."

  • This is an old debate, mainly because the bill is so large and complex. This time, although "dozens of programs for military veterans turned farmers, small rural businesses and expanding foreign markets for agriculture could end, at least temporarily, if the expiring 2014 farm bill is not...

  • Nutrition epidemiology is notorious for basing claims on weak statistical evidence. Scientists routinely scour data sets on large populations looking for links between specific foods or diets and health outcomes like chronic disease and life span. These studies can generate important findings and...

  • Well, U.S. aggies are fully caught up in the U.S.-Canada trade fight and the generally glum outlook for ag exports now in most quarters. However, there's at least one fairly new theme, Bloomberg says "NAFTA's not dead yet for Canada if U.S.-Mexico deal moves ahead."

  • The Washington Post is reporting this week that among all the highly toxic fights underway over the Supreme Court nomination, administration trade policy, the farm bill, spending bills and others, the administration's hopes for scoring a pre-midterm win by reworking the North American Free Trade...

  • Walmart is tackling one of the most persistent food industry problems, which is exposure to contamination that sickens consumers. After a two-year pilot project, Walmart announced this week that it would be using a blockchain technology to keep track of every bag of spinach and head of...

  • Something of an inscrutable oriental gesture appeared in Des Moines this weekend, an advertising supplement in Iowa's largest newspaper. The ad aimed to highlight the impact on the state's soybean farmers as "the fruit of a president's folly.''

  • As state and national races heat up ahead of the November elections, the urban media is paying particular attention to trade issues and their implications. For example, POLITICO reported this week that Europe Union (EU) can't replace China as U.S. soy buyer, and spent considerable time...