News Briefs – for Oct. 24, 2011

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Former CWB minister passes

Reg Alcock, the Winnipeg member of Parliament who led then-prime minister Paul Martin s political defence of the Canadian Wheat Board, died Oct. 14 of a reported heart attack at age 63.

Alcock, the MP for the Winnipeg South riding from 1993 to 2006, served in Martin s cabinet from late 2003 to early 2006 as the minister responsible for the CWB, and concurrently as president of the federal Treasury Board.

Interim federal Liberal Leader Bob Rae, posting Friday on Twitter, described Alcock as a great guy and good friend to many.

Having narrowly lost his federal seat in 2006 to Rod Bruinooge of the Conservatives, Alcock joined the faculty of the University of Manitoba s I.H. Asper School of Business, where he served also as associate dean from 2008 to 2009.

China makes big U.S. corn buy, mammoth imports seen

WASHINGTON/REUTERS China has made its first large purchase of U.S. corn in months 900,000 tonnes and a trade group sees the possibility of mammoth imports.

It was the second-largest corn sale attributed to China and the seventh-largest sale on USDA records. The trade group U.S. Grains Council estimates China will need to import five million to 10 million tonnes of corn during 2011-12 far above the one million tonnes it has bought in each of the last two years.

However, with a growing population experiencing rising incomes, China is producing more meat from herds fattened on corn. It is expected to become a steady and large importer even though it is second to the United States as a corn grower. It is already the world s largest importer of cotton and soybeans.

U.S. senate passes free trade agreement with Colombia

WASHINGTON/REUTERS The U.S. Senate has approved a free trade deal with Colombia by a vote of 66 to 33. The deal, earlier approved by the House of Representatives, locks in Colombia s longtime duty-free access to the U.S. market and phases out Colombia s duties on most U.S. farm and manufactured goods.

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