Blog: Dean BestUS meat gripe highlights global disharmony

Dean Best | 5 June 2008

The by now familiar complaints from the US meat sector over biofuels were voiced again today (5 June).

Larry Pope, boss of Smithfield Foods, pointed the finger at Washington for the spike in grain costs that he – and many of his counterparts in US meat – are facing.

Pope’s protests shed light on how difficult it will be for governments around the world to heed calls heard this week at the UN Food Summit in Rome for countries to work together to solve the problem.

Take biofuels. On one hand you have the US and the EU pursuing a policy of ramping up biofuels production. Now, however, discontent is being heard with the UK at the forefront of those questioning the wisdom of the policy.

Take free trade. On one hand, you have the likes of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon calling for a cut in export restrictions and import tariffs, a call supported by the UK.

On the other, you have the likes of the world's largest rice producers, including China, India and Vietnam, cutting exports and stockpiled supplies.

And, all the while, the never-ending world trade talks at Doha rumble on and on.


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