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I'm just a bit confused about the proposed goal regarding the international trade of food. For example, suppose the U.S. decides to dedicate a big (bigger) chunk of available agricultural resources to corn for ethanol transportation fuel. That will obviously increase the price of corn-based products in the U.S., and if there is international trade in corn, or in any other food commodity in any way related to corn or that makes use of corn or is a replacement for corn (e.g. rice, wheat, etc.) in some application, then it will increase the price of those goods also.

On the other hand, there is a pretty consistent anti-NAFTA sort of viewpoint here on ET, I think, so the conflict is whether to propose isolationist and protectionist agricultural policies for each country or region, or to admit the global food marketplace and thus try to come up with a global policy.

In my view the U.S. is likely to enter an isolationist phase now, in the aftermath of Iraq and our generally successful policy over the last couple of decades of pissing off everybody else in the world and the resultant bad blood between us and practically everybody except our reliable lapdogs the U.K. So in that case perhaps regional solutions are acceptable? India grows its own staples, as do China, the E.U., etc., and only luxury foods enter international trade???

by asdf on Sun Apr 20th, 2008 at 08:17:13 PM EST

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