READ the NAFB’s National Ag News for Tuesday, November 29th

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China: Potential Trade War Not a ‘One-Way Street’

Officials in China are warning a potential trade war between the U.S. in China would not serve as a ‘one-way street.’ The comments stem from the possibility President-Elect Donald Trump could impose tariffs on Chinese goods, sparking a feared trade war between the two nations. Beijing has signaled some optimism regarding the issue as Trump has backed off of some other campaign pledges. Still, as Bloomberg reports, the message from China is that any move to tax Chinese imports would bring retaliation, the U.S. economy would take a hit and America would damage its longstanding ties with Asia. China’s Foreign Affairs Committee chair said a trade war is not something China wants, but while referring to Trumps campaign pledges regarding trade with China, warned: “It won’t be one-way traffic.” For now, Bloomberg speculates China has a two-pronged response to Trump: Warn him of the consequences of unilateral action and accelerate efforts to secure an Asia-wide trade pact that does not include the United States.

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Obama Administration Finishing Many Regulations

Before President-elect Donald Trump takes office next month, the Obama Administration is working to issue as many as 98 final regulations. Politico reports 17 of those actions under review are considered “economically significant,” with an estimated economic impact of at least $100 million a year. Agencies under the Obama Administration are rushing the final rules before a new Congress takes over next year, despite vows by Republicans in Congress to block many of the regulations. One of the more significant rules sets preliminary steps for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate methane emissions from existing oil and gas infrastructure. Also, the Bureau of Land Management’s major rule on leases for wind and solar projects on federal land is expected before Obama leaves office.

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Vilsack Disappointed in China Biotech Approval Delays

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed disappointment following meetings between the U.S. and China last week that failed to make progress on biotechnology approval delays. The U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade did not focus on approval delays for biotechnology, or genetically modified crop traits. Vilsack says China has made progress in the approval process, but “has not fully implemented commitments” on biotechnology approvals. In 2015, China agreed to streamline the nation’s biotech approval process. Last week, the U.S. requested that China clarify how its approval system for biotech traits will operate in a “predictable, transparent, and scientific manner.” Vilsack says the U.S. will be watching China’s National Biosafety Committee meeting next month and expects the remaining eight biotech traits will be reviewed based on science and risk, and approved.

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Bird Flu Expanding Across Europe

More outbreaks of H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza are prompting concerns within Europe’s poultry industry. The World Organization for Animal Health reports bird flu has been confirmed in Austria, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia despite continuing biosecurity efforts. Additional outbreaks were also reported in India and Israel, and several nations –including Hong Kong and the Ukraine – have launched bans on poultry and poultry products from some of the affected nations. The spread comes less than one month after the first reports of H5N8, according to meat industry online publication Meatingplace. Animal health officials in Sweden report culling 200,000 laying hens to reduce further infection. An estimated 27,000 birds died in the first weeks’ European states confirmed the infections.

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Indonesia Planning to Stop Corn Imports by 2018 or Sooner

Indonesia plans to halt imports of corn by 2018 “at the latest,” according to the country’s agriculture minister. Pro Farmer’s First Thing Today reports Indonesia’s government is working to boost domestic production of corn as part of its broad goal of food self-sufficiency. The ag minister says up to seven million hectares—or 17.3 million acres—of land would be needed for the country to be self-sufficient in corn production, versus the 4.4 million hectares it currently plants to the grain. Indonesia’s government has restricted imports of corn in recent years, which has boosted its imports of wheat as an alternative for feed. Indonesia imported 3.5 million metric tons of corn in 2013-14 before the restrictions took effect, and the country has purchased around only 800,000 metric tons of corn this year.

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GAO Says RFS Likely to Fall Short of Greenhouse Gas Goal

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) Monday claimed advanced biofuels are not likely to get the fuel market penetration the Renewable Fuel Standard predicted. Online newspaper The Hill reports that means greenhouse gas emissions are unlikely to fall as much as predicted under the 2007 law. A pair of GAO reports reached the conclusion after explaining there is limited production of advanced biofuels for blending and a limited potential for expansion by 2022. A report on greenhouse gasses stated: “In the absence of advanced biofuels, most of the biofuel blended under the RFS to date has been conventional corn-starch ethanol, which achieves smaller greenhouse gas emission reductions compared with advanced biofuels.”

SOURCE: NAFB News Service

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