Left on the desk, Sept 7: Grumpy Germans, Chinese frustration, and interest in Argentina

After a one week hiatus, I am back trying to get my desk uncluttered by covering many of the issues Left on the Desk this long weekend shortened week. Lets dig deep into the pile and explore some cool pieces of data, random facts and weave some of it together.

Have a great weekend everyone and send me your feedback to [email protected]

We are continually told that people want to know what they are eating. But what if the label is misleading? In the case of trout or salmon does it really matter? Not in China. Chinese regulators have decided that rainbow trout can be sold as salmon. Officials cited biology as salmon and rainbow trout belong to the same fish family. The exact type of fish is to be noted elsewhere on the package. I had to read this story five times to makes sure that I was not reading it incorrectly.

China is not only eating mislabelled fish, but also is about to eat a cold dish of more tariffs from the U.S. As reported by Bloomberg, Trump said Friday he’s willing to slap tariffs on an additional $267 billion in Chinese goods, on top of duties of $200 billion in imports is already considering. This is a trade squabble that is having a hard time finding any common ground at this point. China is convinced the U.S. mid terms will gain them leverage and the U.S. is fighting multiple fronts with little to show at this point. Expect the US to do everything it can to soothe its frustration with China by turning up the heat further.

The U.S. thrust is to rectify some major structural issues with the way China does business. A part of the intention is to keep the US as the number one economy in the world. But is it possible to prevent China from becoming number one? U.S. Farm Report’s John Phipps takes a closer look at this very issue.

The Bank of Canada has decided to hold rates at 1.5% with expectations of a further hike in October. Many farmers still remember the disastrous 1980’s where rates were in excess of 20%. For Argentina farmers that is nothing. Due to a falling currency, the Argentine government has raised rates to 60%.  The Argentine Peso has declined 54% to the USD in the last year which has the economy in free fall. In fact in the last three years the peso has fallen 84%. Argentina has been reaching out to the US to get on more friendly economic terms.  There are reports that Argentina is considering lifting a ban on U.S. beef in talks with USDA Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Do you have a friend that always seems to be unhappy or pessimistic no matter how good things are going? Is your friends name Germany? A strong economy, low unemployment, and low crime does not equal happiness in Germany. I know that they exited the World Cup earlier than expected but come on Germany. Even drinking 105 L of beer per year per capita is not decreasing the German pessimism.

If you follow President Trump’s campaign style speeches you will know that he regularly mentions trading partners lowering all tariffs to zero. For many countries this is difficult to take seriously as the Trump administrations has raised tariffs on steel and aluminum and threatens to on the auto imports as well. Could the President really be serious about reducing tariffs and subsidies to zero?

There are some that believe Trump is pushing for a chain reaction of lower tariffs with Mexico, Canada, Europe, and Japan to put pressure on China. If this sounds familiar its because it is. This was one of the thrusts behind the Trans Pacific Partnership that the President withdrew from on his early days in office.

McDonald’s Canada has wrapped up its World Taste Tour in Canada but in the United States it is just getting started. When you compare the items tested in Canada vs the U.S. I think Canadian McDonalds customers win. Maybe you disagree and think that the Uruguay caramel filled pancakes sound better than the Aussie BBQ and Egg.

Some of you might not eat at McDonalds at all because you choose to eat something marketed as healthier.  Do you ever get whiplash from whats good for you to only find out three months later that the food trend has changed? Whether its coffee, wine or egg whites what is good for you changes. Even the “superfood” coconut oil can fall victim to be moved from recommended to poison.

Do you have an old job skill that you sometimes put to work in your current job? You could see how a calf roper’s skills would be beneficial in hailing a cab in New York. You can see a salesperson becoming a mayor and putting those public speaking skills to good work. How about a former auctioneer from Missouri becoming a congressman and showing off his skills in D.C.? This week, Jack Dorsey the founder of Twitter was in front of a congressional committee and a far right wing protestor took issue with Dorsey’s presence. To drown out the protest Billy Long a Missouri Republican auctioned off her cell phone. Watch the video below and have a good laugh.

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