What is in this article?:
- Trade complancency a danger for US exports
- Biotech crops a pressing issue
- Trade complacency now becomes a danger. Exports have fueled America’s sluggish economy for several years, but they’ve slowed down in recent months. As President Obama begins his second term, he must first find a new trade diplomat and then push for new trade pacts.
Biotech crops a pressing issue
One of the issues that will need to be covered is the acceptance of biotechnology as an acceptable tool of agriculture production. I believe a good trade agreement would require the EU to accept more food with GM ingredients–a common phenomenon throughout the Western hemisphere, but distrusted in Europe due to anti-scientific prejudice.
The good news is that most thinking Europeans know that biotechnology makes sense. European regulators have declared it safe. A growing number of scientists speak out on its behalf. A month ago, British environmental activist Mark Lynas announced his support for GM crops.
(See related: Road to Damascus change for anti-GM apostle Mark Lynas)
Robust trade talks could provide the spark for Europe to lower its resistance. This would benefit people everywhere, in ways that the dollars and cents of trade figures fail to capture.
Modern food-production methods, including biotechnology, allow each U.S. farmer to feed 147 people. This amazing efficiency lets more non-farmers devote their energy and creativity to other projects–everything from pioneering vaccines to inventing the next cool mobile-phone app—instead of spending their day providing food for their own family.
Europeans should want this benefit for themselves, and they should hope it spreads into Africa, which looks to Europe for economic and political leadership. Global food and nutritional security depends on Africa to realize its full potential as a breadbasket, and increased acceptance of GM crops is one of the tools that should be available.
None of this will happen without political leadership.
President Obama’s immediate task is to appoint a new trade representative–a figure who will command respect in foreign capitals. Former Republican Senator Richard Lugar, who has a good relationship with the president, might be an inspired choice.
Then comes the hard part, but also the most important part: Thinking big on trade.
Bill Horan grows corn, soybeans and other grains with his brother on a family farm based in North Central Iowa. Bill volunteers as a board member and serves as Chairman for Truth About Trade & Technology (www.truthabouttrade.org). Follow us: @TruthAboutTrade on Twitter | Truth About Trade & Technology on Facebook.