Saturday, July 13, 2013

CoDominion news from Reuters and Al Jazeera

In Overnight News Digest: Hump Day edition on Daily Kos, I included two stories from Reuters about the Sino-American relationship, which I call The CoDominion.  I'll begin with the official CoDominion, the one involving direct relations between the two countries.

U.S.-China talks cover cyber issues, currency, Chinese reform
By Paul Eckert and Anna Yukhananov
WASHINGTON | Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:01pm EDT
(Reuters) - U.S. officials appealed to China's self-interest on Wednesday with calls for deeper economic reforms including changes to the exchange rate policy and a halt to cyber theft of trade secrets - actions they said would benefit both nations.

Vice President Joe Biden launched the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue by stressing the shared stakes and responsibility to support the global economy.

"The next steps that China needs to take for its own economy happen to be in the interests of the United States as well," he said as the two-day talks opened in Washington.
The second involves relationships between corporations.  Note that Michigan's Debbie Stabenow has a starring role as part of U.S. government oversight in Smithfield CEO feels Senate heat over sale to China By Doug Palmer.
WASHINGTON | Wed Jul 10, 2013 6:40pm EDT
(Reuters) - U.S. senators sought answers from the head of Smithfield Foods (SFD.N) on Wednesday about whether the proposed sale of the Virginia ham maker to China's largest pork producer could hurt U.S. food safety and raise prices for American consumers.

Although there was no indication Congress would intervene to block the deal, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow said she was worried that it would undermine the long-term competitiveness of the U.S. pork industry by exporting valuable production techniques to China.

"This is a precedent-setting case and we owe it to consumers, producers and workers to ensure we are asking the right questions and evaluating the long-term implications," the Democrat said at the hearing with Smithfield President and CEO Larry Pope.
Al Jazeera English provides some background on the deal in US meat company awaits for Chinese takeover.

The world's largest producer and processor of pork, Smithfield, has agreed to sell to China's biggest meat company.

The deal, which is subject to approval by company stockholders and regulators from both countries, would be the largest purchase of a US company.

Residents and workers of Smithfield, in the US state of Virginia, are keeping a wait-and-see attitude towards the $4.7bn possible deal by the Chinese company, Shuanghuai International Holdings.

Al Jazeera's Tom Ackerman reports from Smithfield.
I have another stake in this story besides my interest in Sino-American relations.  Smithfield happens to be one of the subjects of the movie Food, Inc., and I ask two questions about the company in my worksheet on the film.
21. What ethical effects does he think the treatment of pigs as “a pile of protoplasmic material” would have on the treatment of people and other countries?

22.Does the portrayal of the working and living conditions of the Smithfield meatpackers support the opinion of the owner of Polyface Farms that you described in question 21?
I'd like to think that Chinese management might improve working conditions at Smithfield.  I have my doubts that it will.

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