Monday, January 15, 2018

NAFTA trio is going to Davos

Three top people involved in the NAFTA negotiations are going to be in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 23 where they are likely to have some discussions about the negotiations.

Bloomberg news agency says Canadian Trade Minister Christia Freeland expects there will be some informal discussion about the North American Free Trade Agreement

But the real negotiations will be getting underway the same day in Montreal and are scheduled to last until Jan. 26.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Freeland are due to attend the World Economic Forum in Switzerland.

The three ministers are also tentatively scheduled to hold a trilateral meeting in Montreal on Jan. 28, Bloomberg said it learned from a spokesperson for Freehand.

The ministers didn’t attend the last two negotiating sessions in Mexico and Washington, after attending previous rounds.

The fate of the trade pact remains unclear -- U.S. President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan each said last week they’d rather renegotiate than walk away from the pact altogether.

However, Trump reiterated his threat to pull out and Canada is taking his threat seriously.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week the U.S. delegation will discuss its “America First” agenda at Davos.

So far only two of about 30 sections of NAFTA have been crafted.

Stay tuned for the Twit's tweets.

Global food prices rose

Global food prices rose by 8.2 per cent last year, despite a 3.3 per cent decline from November to December.

Dairy had the steepest increases – more than 30 per cent, year over year. They also went down from November to December.

The prices are reported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

U.S. harvest set records

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers have harvested record crops for soybeans, peanuts, canola, rapeseed and hops.

The soybean harvest was up by two per cent, the corn harvest down by four per cent.

The big increases were for peanuts, up by 30 per cent and hops, up by 20 per cent.


Mexico cleared to sell pork to U.S.

Mexico has freed itself from Classical Swine Fever, so has been cleared to resume exporting pork to the United States.

The United States Department of Agriculture announced its final rule Friday, opening the door to imports from all of Mexico’s states.

Given the importance of the U.S.-Mexico trade relationship, USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service funded improvements to Mexico’s control program. A subsequent review by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) determined that Mexico was free of CSF.

Mexico is also the second-largest market for U.S. pork exports, taking $1.4 billion worth in the first 11 months of last year.

Standards required for migrant worker housing

Farmers who hire and house temporary foreign workers will have to meet national standards for the housing they provide.

The federal government has announced that the housing must meet adequate, suitable and affordable housing as defined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Farmers will have to prove the housing has been inspected within the eight-month period before workers arrive at the farm.

That’s both for housing on the farm and off the farm, such as in a motel.