What’s ahead for Washington this week: Asia in the spotlight

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, April 4 – Watch where Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, his Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be this week: Japan, Hawaii and India respectively. Vilsack will be in Japan all week on a goodwill mission aimed at opening up more markets there for U.S. agriculture.

Vilsack’s schedule in Japan includes delivering the keynote address at the “Partners in Agriculture” Global Food Security Symposium in Tokyo, giving a speech on “The United States: Japan’s Most Reliable Supplier of Food,” and commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Iowa-Yamanashi Sister-State Relationship – a partnership which began when a 1959 typhoon devastated the Yamanashi Prefecture, promoting Iowa to donate planeloads of aid, including Jersey cows, breeding hogs and 100,000 bushels of corn. (Note that Agri-Pulse Senior Editor Stewart Doan will be travelling with the Secretary to report on what’s accomplished on the trip – and what else is going on in Japan.)

Deputy Secretary Merrigan also flies out Monday, headed for Honolulu to highlight USDA’s work in  Hawaii on public/private partnerships designed to accelerate commercial production of advanced biofuels for the U.S. Navy. As well, she’ll be spreading the word on USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program.

After postponing any decision on whether China is unfairly manipulating the value of its currency – presumably to postpone any negative effects on U.S-Chinese relations – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will be India this week on another trade-related mission, this time to launch the “US-India Economic and Financial Partnership.”

President Obama will be traveling too. On Thursday, he’ll be in Prague to sign a new START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) agreement with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev – after beginning his week by throwing out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals’ season opener on Monday.

Meanwhile, members of Congress have a second week back at home listening to their constituents and gearing up for the November elections before tackling a congressional schedule packed with financial reform, jobs, climate/energy, and immigration legislative priorities when they return to DC April 12th.

USDA’s Economic Research Service & National Agricultural Statistics Service reports:

  • Monday, April 5, Crop Progress
  • Tuesday, April 6, Weather-Crop Summary
  • Wednesday April 7, Broiler Hatchery
  • Friday, April 9, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, Season-Average Price Forecasts, Crop Production, Dairy Products Prices, Peanut Prices

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