The Nuclear Security Summit wraps up in Washington today. During a joint appearance with President Obama yesterday, Chinese President Xi Jinxing sought to emphasize that China wanted to work together with the United States to address economic and trade issues among others.
Xi, who is no doubt paying attention to the China bashing in the U.S. presidential campaign, said it’s a priority for Chinese foreign policy to build what he called a “new model of major country relations” that would ensure “win-win cooperation” for both countries.
Trudeau trying to sell TPP at home. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who also is in town for the nuclear summit, said during an appearance at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that he’s trying to address domestic concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “There are a lot of people in favor of it. There are a few who have real concerns,” Trudeau said. He promised “to engage in a substantive and reflective way with Canadians on the best way to move forward.”
He showed no interest in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has been a frequent target in the presidential campaign because of job losses to Mexico. “As we all know, as soon as you crack open a deal for one little thing the whole thing can start to unravel,” he said.
Republican voters wary of trade. This is no April Fool’s joke: A new poll indicates that there is more skepticism about trade policy among Republicans right now than there is among Democrats.
According to the Pew Research Center survey, nearly half of Republican or Republican-leaning registered voters believe that trade has hurt their family finances Just 36 percent of GOP voters think trade has helped them. For Democrats, the results are reversed, 48 percent say trade has helped them, while 32 percent who say they’ve been harmed.
It should be no surprise that the Republican skepticism about trade is heavily driven by Donald Trump’s supporters. Sixty percent of them say free trade agreements have definitely or probably hurt their family’s finances compared to 36 percent of Ted Cruz’ supporters.
Just as noteworthy is that a large plurality, 46 percent, of Bernie Sanders supporters believe trade has actually helped them. That’s despite Sanders’ relentless criticism of U.S. trade policy.
The numbers should raise some red flags for supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Republican lawmakers who are concerned about keeping the support of Trump supporters will be hard-pressed not to notice the way his anti-trade message has resonated with primary voters. And while Democratic voters may have a relatively positive view of trade, that outlook isn’t shared by the labor unions that provide critical support for Democratic campaigns.
Vilsack heads to Europe. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will be back on the road next week, this time to Berlin and Paris. He’ll be in Berlin Monday and Tuesday to meet with his German counterpart and other officials. Vilsack plans to talk up the potential benefits of a U.S.-EU trade agreement. On Thursday and Friday in Paris, Vilsack will co-chair an OECD conference of agriculture ministers.
Religious protections for aid programs finalized. The Obama administration has finalized regulations to ensure that religious organizations can participate in federal assistance programs and to protect the rights of beneficiaries. The new regulations will bring consistency to practices that have varied among agencies such as USDA and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
One of the issues that had to be settled is whether religious organizations that accept SNAP benefits had to provide written warning to recipients who objected to the religious nature of the program. The administration decided the notices were unnecessary. A quarter million stores, farmers’ markets, treatment centers, group homes and other facilities that accept SNAP benefits could have been affected, according to the final rule.
She said it. “There’s junk science, as there’s junk stuff in every field, and what we have to keep going back to is what’s the weight of the evidence -- mindful of the fact that today’s evidence may be different from tomorrow’s. That’s the progress of science.” Nina Fedoroff, science adviser to Secretary of States Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice and a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at a forum on media reporting on GMOs and other issues.
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