The new trade measures were bolstered by news The People's Bank of China will now focus on keeping the Yuan (you-ON) stable. Though this would appear to be good news, no specific timetable has been given for implementing a new fiscal policy. Some U.S. commodity groups have accused China of manipulating its currency to gain an unfair trade advantage.
Last week, U.S. Trade Ambassador Susan Schwab announced a major portion of a bilateral trade deal with Panama had been successfully negotiated. According to Schwab, the agreement will eliminate 90 percent of Panama's tariffs on industrial goods immediately with the remainder being removed over the next 10 years. In return, the U.S. will receive easier access to Panamanian beef, pork, poultry, rice, and sugar markets.
Closer to home, Canada is hopeful that 2007 will bring increased cattle trade with the United States. According to the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, or OMB, is now considering what is known as "rule 2." If approved, Canada would have the right to sell beef cattle over 30 months of age to farmers and ranchers in the U.S. The OMB has up to 90 days to review and publish "rule 2." Currently, the U.S. only allows the import of Canadian cattle under 30 months of age.