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first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is taking President Donald Trump’s more protectionist moves on trade this week in stride, despite AFBF’s long-held support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)Trump’s executive order to withdrawal the United States from TPP is not what the nation’s largest farm organization wanted, but it was no surprise after President Trump vowed to make that a priority during his campaign. Many in agriculture are now wondering what the new administration has planned for other trade deals, namely the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).“When NAFTA was first implemented, the U.S. had only $9 billion of ag exports with Mexico and Canada,” said Dave Salmonsen, Trade Adviser with the AFBF. “Today that number is $38 billion, so this trade deal has been beneficial to agriculture.”Leaders of both Mexico and Canada are open to new talks about trade. Those conversations will deal largely with manufacturing, though agriculture is also expected to come up.“There are some issues in the ag sector that we could move forward with, including remaining border barriers from Canada on dairy and poultry exports,” Salmonsen said. “If everything is back on the table we also have some issues with Mexico to hash out.”With recently becoming the number one corn importer, Mexico is proving to be an important market for U.S. farmers. In the 2015-16 crop year, Mexico imported nearly 13 million tons of corn. During the 2016 calendar year that number is 14 million tons, accounting for two straight years of record corn imports Mexico, knocking Japan out of the corn customer top spot.“It would be a pretty bad situation for American farmers if NAFTA was weakened or changed or thrown out of the window,” said Ryan LeGrand, the U.S. Grains Council director in Mexico. “What you would probably have is an increase in tariffs and that would cause Mexico to look south to Brazil and Argentina for more of their corn, cutting into our market share and eventually affecting the price of U.S. corn.”Mexico has the potential to grow as an importer of U.S. grains in the future, according to LeGrand.“Mexico’s animal producers are very technologically advanced, they’re progressive and they’re growing,” he said. “That means more production for Mexico and more need for grains, which should be U.S. grains as long as we keep NAFTA in place.”Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and White House Trade Council head Peter Navarro, will negotiate the new bilateral trade deals with countries once related to the TPP, while Trump will meet soon with Canada and Mexico’s leaders on NAFTA.last_img read more

first_imgAs Madhya Pradesh continues to reel under frequent and unscheduled power cuts, officials of the state electricity company are holding bats responsible for the woes, claiming that the flying mammals are causing faults in the supply lines, especially in the state capital. They say bats hanging on the power supply lines sometimes cause short circuits, which ultimately lead to outages. This claim has triggered a fresh round of blame game between the Kamal Nath-led Congress government and the opposition, BJP. The saffron party said instead of giving these excuses, the power utility and the state government should work in a responsible manner, while the ruling Congress said there was no crisis as MP is a power surplus state. State Energy Minister Priyavrat Singh, however, contended that overloaded power transformers and not bats could be the main reason behind the problem. Talking to PTI, the minister said, “In a review meeting of Bhopal district (held on June 14), an official of the power company had said that bats are creating faults in the supply lines along the lake (Upper Lake)…But I don’t think this is a major reason. I pulled up the official, who had said so.”“I told the official to repair the supply lines by insulating them. This work had already been carried out. I asked the officials to consider installation of ultrasonic devices, after due environment clearances, in the areas where bats are creating problems,” he added.Mr. Singh said there were several others reasons that might be behind the faults in supply lines.“At some places, a squirrel may create a problem. But the main reason of fault is overloaded power transformers. Maintenance of power supply lines was neglected for years. I asked the officials to carry out proper maintenance of the distribution lines,” he said. Spokesperson of Madhya Pradesh Central Power Distribution Company Ltd, Manoj Dwivedi, said, “The faults in power supply lines in the vicinity of Upper Lake (in Bhopal) were reported due to bats. This largely happens due to short- circuits caused by bats hanging on the power supply lines.” The company carries out work of insulation in such cases, he said.“That area of Bhopal had bats earlier too, but power supply used to be uninterrupted. Instead of giving excuses, the power company as well as the government should work responsibly. Were the bats born only after the Congress came to power?” state BJP spokesman Rajnish Agrawal said. The Congress government had earlier said that poor quality of transformers purchased during the previous BJP dispensation was the reason behind the electricity issues. During the campaign for the Lok Sabha elections in April this year, Chief Minister Kamal Nath had alleged that there was a conspiracy behind the power cuts in the state. At that time, state Finance Minister Tarun Bhanot had also said that some officials of the power distribution company were working against the ruling Congress, resulting in power outages.“During the campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections, Nath, in order to hide his government’s failure, used to blame the BJP and certain officials for power cuts. But even after the polls, outages continued in every part of the state despite it being a power surplus state,” Mr. Agrawal said. He said that inept handling by the Congress government has created this crisis. However, the state Congress said that the BJP had run out of issues and was raising hue and cry over such “non-issues“.“Pre-monsoon maintenance is a routine process and it was happening during the BJP rule as well. The technical faults are being repaired. MP is a power surplus state and there is no crisis. Opposition is spreading lies,” state Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi said.“Due to factionalism within the BJP, the leaders of that party are trying to outdo each other and levelling false allegations,” he added.last_img read more