Friday, 10 November 2017

USA's Trade Secretary Wilbur's landmines at UK's Disneyland?

Secretary of State for Commerce Wilbur Ross rightly warns of both a Brexit deal for UK - and any subsequent US deal - as trade landmines along with US-style chlorinated chicken and GM crops.

Let’s leave aside the dull silliness of Brexit - the round of trade negotiations roundly decried this side of the pond as merely another round of sandwiches to go with the waffle - for both UK and USA with a G7 nation and one of USA's leading trading partners risking derailment if not economic decline with worse trading status with EU the world's largest trade bloc.

The first anniversary of Trump's presiednect on 8th November making something of a success with every policy and advosor cancelled. And the Asia visit more warm words trhan actual policy. Only a more rigourous policy on North Korea's nukes and missiles a highlight.

But surely Hillary's team should have released her alternative policies with VP Kaine if she'd won as detailed in her What Happened by now?

And UK economic policy flatlining ahead of the Autumn Budget without basic improvements:

* 9.9% interest rate cap as Germany
* VAT 20% regressive tax reconfigured as a 10% consumption tax
* Arctic sea route ban: Climate Change pollution
* HS3 and eventually HS2 Rail improvements forerunners for USA and Canada Rail
* utility and rail caps
* tax havens ban
* HFSS: high salt fat and sugar taxes or product reformulations
* plastic bottle and coffee cup recycling and deposit scheme - all the more relevant for US farmers for a bioplasic of cellulose

Indeed the next 3 years something of a wilderness for USA with either impeachment or inaction with Trumps's first year anniversary showing the worst ever POTUS approval ratings. The same drift infecting UK governance. With Boris’ resignation likely to follow on from Priti Patel and Kent’s Michael Fallon.

And leaving aside Kent’s Disneyland at Dartford/Gravesend - two of Kent's towns in decline hence 83% public approval for the brownfield site plans - veering between famine and feast with the plug potentially pulled on the Paramount brands and now Kuwait's Al-Humaidi threatening to kick out the other plug on his £45M investment.

Clearly the Mickey Mouse antics of the councils and businesses so far in the Kent Big Apple need a rigorous overhaul - as does the Thames Gateway - to achieve the 2023 opening date. It's hardly Mission Impossible to open a star-spangled theme park close to London and the Channel Tunnel and Continent and with broader based brands than just Disney. Or even Disney-Lucasfilm's Star Wars as yet undeveloped franchise.

But Wilbur’s landmines - Brexit or not, and increasingly likely not - of chlorinated chicken and GM crops are tougher nuts to crack. Chlorinated chicken an emotive subject hence it featured on the award-winning New European newspaper front covers - but lacks detailed facts given there is no health impact and UK salad and vegetables already washed in similar chlorine solutions.

A wider point to be made though on US farming as to why it isn't heading more rapidly down the organic and free range path for UK and EU trade? Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods must surely be a beacon for US farming?

GM crops are widely resisted within UK and EU as of minimal benefit and unproven health standards. Indeed with at least 30% waste of food, there is a wider issue of quality over quantity for both US and UK farming before any need of GM crops.

Surely Wilbur ought to lend an ear to Sonny Perdue - it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken especially when they're not his chickens - US Agriculture Secretary Sony Perdue from his recent visit to UK and Spain. USA farmers being urged to grow it and sell it into UK and EU with USDA.

And surely featuring on Sonny and Wilbur's menu of ways to increase USA trade will be a relentless emphasis on quality - who would argue with the state of Georgia's pecans and peanuts or Idaho's potatos.

##While Unilever's Lucky Iron Fish and Lifebuoy soap the healthy antidote to aid inaction. Surely Ambassador Woody's Johnson and Johnson will be firing on all cylinders too for UK and USA trade - The Queen might have already given him a shopping list of brands to fastforward in the UK and Commonwealth exchange for his letters of credential. No doubt he kept his NYJets baseball cap on under his top hat and put the shopping list there too for safety.

She might even do another skydive for the next NY Jets game. While Oxford housewife Aung San must have a shopping list of her own for Myanmar whether or not it includes Commonwealth membership.

Indeed flyover country and its farms often just a flyspeck on Washington's windshield.

Is the Bombardier and aviation trade war blip really likely to endanger all America's larger food and farm trade too?

While gathering apace in UK is an emphasis on the state of the topsoil, some 84% of UK topsoil lost since 1850. And the UN declaring a Year of the Topsoil as recently as 2015. Another US-style Dustbowl would be a bitter harvest for farmers with over-intensive farming and lack of biodiversity with hedgerows and trees, as forewarned in the collapse of bees.

A Johnny Appleseed strategy for UK's 11M new Tree Plan part of my Kent politics work, and also needed in USA again? And with some Climate Change science behind the numbers.

Healthy food as vital as combating TB and Flu as ramping up vaccine research and production. And the horror of AMR and a lack of antibiotics hardly moving.

Kent's new NYC Consul Antony Phillipson, formerly tech supremo for the Singapore Embassy, switching on his computer already.

Eire's USA Ambassador Dan Mulhall celebrating a successful Irish PM visit to California and Apple and Facebook etc with a glass of Coke in Atlanta. Is it Starbucks Red Cups Day and the Coke Truck Week already?

While the very real seismic shock of USA cutting its $2M landmine fund to Cambodia is surely as absurd as UK's $20BN DFID aid budget being unable to renew its $30M fund to Cambodia as LDC. Last month’s new Thai-Khmer MOU on increased border trade belies Brexit-style insularity and must surely be a way station for more USA trade in Thailand and Cambodia.

And Cambodia's American Princess Soma must surely be keen to help promote the oranges of Orange County for California and its Khmer expats as well as Thai and Khmer sticky rice. An American-Asian royal must surely be an asset in Japan and wider US efforts in Asia after the Potus Trump visit and Summit?

Prince Charles in Malaysia highlighting Superfoods as part of his Duchy of Cornwall food range and Asian Climate Change in palm oil and logging.

While the first UK-Thai military exercise, Golden Panther, at the river Kwai in Thailand near the Myanmar border must surely from the basis for further Doitung crop changes with Shan heroin and Helmand heroin (almost all the world's supply) and the rash of increased US and USA drugs deaths. Thailand's Doitung work already being deployed in Colombia's cocaine fields.

Golden Panther could no doubt be followed by Golden Paella and Golden Pasta - with FBI/DEA and military coordination from the Caribbean and Latin America - in the cocaine ports of Southern Spain and Southern Italy. The latter no doubt could see an extra surge in mafia activity from the Berlusconi Forza Italia Sicily election gains.

But the horrifying 40% malnutrition in Laos and Cambodia - some of that no doubt due to loss of farmland from landmines and Agent Orange chemical weapons - highlights a sobering fact for Wilbur and Sonny even before their second glass of Scotch whisky or IrnBru - made in Scotland from girders - to celebrate increased USA trade with UK.

For surely UNSDG30 is failing on famine: 4 new famines across the Sahel and all man-made regardless of US Africa Command stabilisation efforts and the glut of food and transport available.

For if the breadbaskets of US prairies and Russian steppes and rice baskets of India and Thailand are overflowing then it's still not reaching the starving millions.

All the more reason for less quantity and more quality in US foods.

Potus Trump plumping for a bog-standard US burger rather than Kobe beef a misstep for Thailand’s Senator tammy Duckworth's meat n'wheat constituents. They surely needing quality guidance across the Atlantic and support for boutique beef, and reduced waste in accessing famine markets across Sahel.

Clearly it's absurd too for UK food regulations not to be tightened with more meat quality baked into Great British pies and sausages as well as great British American burgers and chicken?

While innovative and healthy foods such as quorn or insects - even flies for pet food - as well as veggie burgers must require greater efforts in the farmland of heartland America?

Europeans spending more on dog food than Third World aid is surely food for thought in America too.

While the lack of Tex-Mex food in UK stores must be as galling for Texas and the South West as it is for all points south of the Rio Grande. Waitrose's Santa Maria range of Latin American Kitchen sauces - with Argentine barbacao - one example of the potential.

The G20 Summit in Argentina next year must surely be the basis for food and trade reform, and Doitung and drugs, even delivering on the 0.7% aid target.

Key aid foods such as PlumpyNut, longlasting and nutritious and needing minimal refrigeration, must rely on a steady stream of those Georgia pecans and peanuts?
And frankly UK's food bank children - those surviving the choice of heat or eat in a G7 nation and 70 years of an advanced welfare state - could well be in need of first Lady of Virginia's Dorothy MacAuliffe's school breakfast club work as Governor Northam takes the helm.

UK government policy narrowly avoiding introducing fox hunting again, perhaps for food, and ending the few existing school breakfast clubs to prevent children passing out from hunger rather than boredom in lessons.

While Microsoft chips must be needed on the menu in UK schools for Raspberry Pi and free Yingluck computers. Perhaps even airlifting Windows Mobiles into Africa.
Certainly Amazon and DHL and Fedex needed to achieve UNSDG30 Goal #1 on famine. Airlifting those Windows phones and PlumpyNut peanuts coordinated with US Army and USMC another mission impossible for US Africa Command?

America's Lendleasers and Marshall scholars can't have forgotten the value of bread over bullets in securing peace and prosperity for the long-term?

Certainly the UK and USA aviation industries have their work cut out with helping improve African aviation (indeed UK aviation given the delays on Heathrow etc - Eire stealing a march on lowcost flights to USA from Southend) - every banned airline from EU even those that turn up late at night to Manston or Ostend or via the cocaine routes of West Africa - is African.

And it's easier to fly into Europe than for the same journey between African nations. Surely a spur for planes and cargo helicopters as well as solar? Probably a few chips with Hitachi and Panasonic and their work plans would help resolve the Bombardier trade war into growth.

All without the landmines of Libyan civil war and WW2 extending to the shores of Tripoli could be lifted for peace and prosperity with Desertec Solar. Hardly outrageous given BP is Beyond Petroleum in Libya and Saudi already.

And 30% waste suggests 30% overcapacity even without cohesive planning for 7-11BN growth by 2050. American and Canadian and Mexican farmers (38% of Mexican farmland?) could eventually find something more productive to grow than the marijuana and cocaine crops?

Centering the drugs trade on Mexico initially - already a fact - by closing of the South American and Caribbean trade and routes to Europe is hardly outrageous or impossible.

Surely both UK and USA failing to implement UNSDG30 as public policy is cause for further food for thought - neither federal government nor state nor cities have taken on UNSDG30 as required to do so.

It could be argued an almost permanent rotation of the UNSDG30 branding on the neon billboards of Times Square and Piccadilly Circus - and every government website and school book - is needed for the next few years.


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