It’s not as if our standards are wonderful. But by comparison to the revolting practices in the US, our food rules, laid down by the European Union, are a haven of sanity. As well as washing chicken flesh with chlorine to compensate for the filthy conditions in which it is raised and processed, and injecting dangerous substances into cattle and pigs, Big Farmer and Big Food in the US use 72 pesticides that are banned in the UK and food colourings that have been linked to hyperactivity in children, impose no limits on the amount of sugar in baby food and permit cow’s milk to contain twice the amount of pus that the UK allows.
China regards intellectual property as just another factor of production and wants to lower its price to a minimum. By contrast, high-tech American firms often derive their profits by obtaining higher and higher prices for intellectual property.
US diplomatic cables leaked to Wikileaks in 2010 reveal the high priority American diplomats give to the surveillance and defence of intellectual property regimes around the world. Thousands of cables and millions of words are devoted to this subject.
Australia, as a net importer of intellectual property, has good reasons to side with the developing world, which has been calling for a “development agenda” that facilitates technology transfer as a key enabler of development. Instead, Australia sides with the “patent agenda” of the US, the EU and Japan even though it comes with a high price.
US President Donald Trump has sought to ratchet up pressure on China for trade concessions by proposing a higher 25 per cent tariff on $US200 billion worth of Chinese imports, his administration says.
US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Mr Trump directed the increase — from a previously proposed 10 per cent duty — because China has refused to meet US demands and has imposed retaliatory tariffs on US goods.
China and the United States face a wider trade war after Beijing vowed on Wednesday to retaliate over Washington’s threat to impose $200bn in additional tariffs on Chinese goods.
The influential Pakistani military is heavily dependent on the US for its equipment and arms, while Pakistan’s wobbly economy may soon need a loan from the US-led International Monetary Fund (IMF).
However Pakistan also owes China a lot of money, and in truth America and it have been drifting apart at least since the Obama administration. Therefore the growing quarrel between its two patrons puts Islamabad in a tricky geopolitical position. For all the advantages of being able to play each off against the other in the short term, Islamabad will be hoping it can avoid having to choose between them.
US President Donald Trump will leave the G7 summit after one day, an unexpected schedule change that followed public trading of insults between Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Trump is scheduled to meet with Macron and Trudeau on Friday, and then he will leave the G-7 summit early on Saturday, an unexpected schedule change that will pull him out of discussions on climate change.
Macron on Thursday said Trump was isolating the United States and suggested foreign leaders might simply wait until Trump’s time in the White House has concluded before re-engaging with the United States. Trump, meanwhile, said Trudeau was acting “indignant” and attacked the US’ northern neighbour in a series of Twitter posts, focusing in part on Canadian dairy policy.
The predicted boost in the value of trade depended on the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth signing up to a series of proposals to lower the cost of trading goods, particularly in African nations.
Australia is one of the best placed countries in the world to reap the gains of the likely trade diversions. For example, Australian beef producers will be much more competitive in exporting to China as their American competitors have to grapple with the 25% tariff on their beef. On the other side, as China raises tariffs on soybeans, Australia could buy this product more cheaply from US farmers keen to find new distribution channels.