The Soy Cartel

Could we be looking at a soy and grain OPEC in South America?

Argentina and Brazil are negotiating an alliance with other South American producers of grains and oilseeds to deal jointly with buyers in Asia and elsewhere, according to Brazilian Agriculture Minister Wagner Rossi.

Rossi met his Argentine counterpart Julian Dominguez and ministers from Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay in Santiago today and yesterday. Brazil is seeking to draw up “consistent” policies with its neighbors, Rossi said in an interview in Santiago.

A deal between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay would combine about half of the world’s soybean production, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Argentina and Brazil are also among the world’s top three corn exporters, according to the USDA. China is the world’s largest soybean importer.

The Soy Cartel

Brazil Interested in F-18 Aircraft for the São Paulo

The government of Brazil is contemplating the purchase of 28 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet Aircraft, to upgrade the fleet on their aircraft carrier, the São Paulo. (Brazil bought the São Paulo from France in 2000.) I think strengthening the US-Brazilian bilateral relationship is important and military cooperation is a part of that, but I have to wonder if Sino-Brazilian military exercises on the carrier is going to affect whether this sale could get approved by the Pentagon. It seems the chances of the Chinese looking under the hood at US military technology to be pretty high if they are training on a carrier stocked full with F-18s.

Brazil Interested in F-18 Aircraft for the São Paulo

Mountain Roads

It snowed the other night in the hills around Cochabamba, and the mountains now look beautiful on my walk to work. It also snowed near La Paz, and, though I’m sure the mountains look nice and get a skier like me excited, the snow has shut down the highways connecting La Paz with Cochabamba and Oruro. This exemplifies one of the biggest hurdles in the development of Bolivia: keeping the country connected.

The country is largely in the Andes, where roads twist and turn, and it generally takes a long time to get from point A to point B. And then it snows and the capital is cut off from much of the rest of the big economic centers of the country. This hurts the ability to move things around Bolivia and generally keep the economic wheel turning. And there’s no quick solution.

That’s why projects such as this highway to connect the Cochabamba department and the eastern part of the country to Brazil are really important. They will open up new possibilities of commerce and roads that stay open even when La Paz can’t be reach.

Mountain Roads