This and That

July 20, 2017

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and CropLife America. They are friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I will talk about a list of hot button issues today.

First, how can the liberals justify their lawsuit to block President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity? Don’t we need to know about the level of voter fraud that we have in this country? What are they afraid of? How many people are voting more than once? How many non-citizens are voting? How many dead people are voting? “Vote early and vote often.” If we have a problem, we should clean it up. The Left is terrified. They might lose some votes.

Next issue – Horse slaughter. For the last several years, the U.S. Congress has closed the door on horse slaughter and horse meat processing in the U.S. Unwanted horses have had to be shipped to Mexico or Canada for slaughter. That can be a long trip. Some horses don’t get to make that trip. They just get shot and buried in the South Forty. We have some good news. The House Appropriations Committee rejected an amendment to keep the slaughter ban in place – a very close vote (25-27). This may not be the end of the slaughter ban. The full House or Senate could still bring the ban back. Fingers crossed. There is a good market for horse meat in Europe and even Japan.

Turn to Europe. Is Europe ready to do some serious reform of their farm programs? They say they are. The European Union spends 40% of their budget on ag subsidies. Developing countries complain that they cannot compete with that. This is funny. Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said, “The European Union pays enough subsidies to fly each cow in Europe around the world first class and still have money left.”

The U.S. and Korea are set to open talks to discuss ways to improve the U.S.-Korean Free Trade Agreement. We have a $27.6 billion trade deficit with Korea. However, ag trade with Korea is doing just fine. Our beef farmers are delighted. We shipped $1.1 billion worth of beef last year, which is double what we shipped before the Trade Agreement took effect. Korea is our number 2 beef export market in the world.

We are renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico.

Look to the other side of the world and China has a $250 billion trade surplus with the U.S. There is so much riding on all the trade disputes and negotiations. Generally, the U.S. runs a huge overall trade deficit. But our agriculture runs a significant trade surplus. Our U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer has promised U.S. farmers “to do no harm” in the negotiations.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go online to http://www.johnblockreports.com Have .a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.