“Remember this acronym: RCEP”
- Last weekend, fifteen Asian and Oceanic countries came together to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); the world’s largest multi-country trade agreement, accounting for one-third of the global economy and half the global population.
- Countries included in the partnership are Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
- Discussions to form RCEP began back in 2018, while trade conflicts between the U.S. and various trade partners, including China, were starting to flare up.
- This is the first such global free trade agreement that is not anchored by the U.S., instead China is the largest economy included in the alliance.
- The RCEP is less comprehensive than the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which President Trump withdrew from in 2017.
- According to the USDA, China has been importing record levels of consumer-oriented food products over the last few years. In 2019, the country imported $73 billion worth of beef, pork and chicken.
- Even though the U.S. and China have the phase one bilateral trade deal, the United States’ share of this business has been declining.
- According to Joe Schuele, vice president of communications for the U.S. Meat Export Federation, even though the U.S. meat industry faces tariff disadvantages in some RCEP countries, those tariff gaps predate this agreement.
- USMEF does not expect a major impact on red meat trade even though RCEP is the world’s largest trade agreement, said Schuele.
New agriculture alliance seeks to tackle climate change
- Groups representing farmers, forest owners, the food sector, state governments and environmental advocates have come together in an alliance to release a set of guidelines aiding the development of federal climate policy.
- The original groups, which included the American Farm Bureau Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and National Farmers Union, developed The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) in February 2020.
- Since that time, the alliance has expanded to include The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and The Nature Conservancy.
- The alliance produced more than forty recommendations based on three principles:
- Agricultural and forestry climate policies must be built upon voluntary, incentive-based programs and market-driven opportunities.
- The principles must promote resilience and adaption in rural communities.
- The principles must be science-based.
- According to Zippy Duvall, FACA Co-chair and President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, it was important for the alliance to reject punitive climate policy ideas of the past, and instead favor policies that respect farmers and support positive change.
- Numerous FACA organizations are also members of Farmers for a Sustainable Future, which was also created in February 2020.
- NCBA and the National Pork Producers Council are a part of Farmers for a Sustainable Future.
Whole Foods adds a new plant-based bacon
- Whole Foods announced this week that it will carry a new plant-based bacon product, Hooray bacon. This product will be available at 300 of its stores.
- Hooray bacon is composed of mostly coconut oil, rice flour, tapioca starch, liquid smoke, mushrooms, salt, maple syrup and beet juice.
- When compared to Oscar Mayer bacon, Hooray bacon has no protein, while Oscar Mayer bacon has 5 grams of protein. Hooray bacon contains 6 grams of carbs and Oscar Mayer bacon contains zero carbs.
Boxed beef prices
- Choice boxed beef: $235.84 (+2.12)
- Select boxed beef: $213.62 (-0.34)