GFM Network News


Dittmer: Why the U.S. wants to reform the WTO

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Being an export-oriented beef industry and veteran of the mCOOL fiasco, Canadian cattle producers know what the initials WTO stand for (World Trade Organization). The mCOOL deal boldly illustrated one of the major problems with the WTO — it takes forever to get anything resolved. Our joint experience with mCOOL was not the worst example. […] Read more

Dittmer: China back on the plus side

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

In the last couple of columns I had referred to speculations that China lifting its ban on Canadian beef and pork might be tied to Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou’s preliminary hearings in September or extradition hearings in January. After all, the alleged discovery of ractopamine residues in a shipment of alleged Canadian pork accompanied by […] Read more


Stagnant access to Chinese markets will put more incentive on Canada’s exporters to develop new markets available to them through the CPTPP.

Dittmer: Exporting commodities is not always easy

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

The problems for Canada over Huawei’s Meng situation have grown more complex. The preliminary hearing, which was already scheduled for eight days, has morphed into a multi-week, perhaps multi-month, legal extravaganza. Arguments about possible co-ordination between the U.S. and Canada, possible violation of her legal rights and the possibility of her extradition even being dropped […] Read more



U.S. President Donald Trump appears with China President Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders summit on June 29, 2019.

Dittmer: Opening trade wars vs. getting the lid back on

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Cattle producers have historically fretted at being regulated and taxed by politicians in some distant capitol. I believe Canadian cattle producers agree. Down here in the States, we sometimes ponder giving up on draining the swamp and just adding lots more water. But Canadians actually get a double dose. You not only have to deal with Ottawa […] Read more

The trade picture between the U.S. and China has ‘more twists and turns than a cow’s G.I. tract.’ – Steve Dittmer.

The trade and politics stampede

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

This trade circus reminds me of the chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede. The U.S. and China keep going round and round and ending up at the same place. President Trump threatens more tariffs and then like the outrider in the chucks, he closes in the last few yards from the finish and pulls them back […] Read more


Palace intrigue affects pigs and cows

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

It would seem a long way from the ancient halls of China’s government in Beijing to hog producers or ranchers and feeders in Canada. But such are the vagaries of global trade. I thought the U.S. trade situation was leaning towards the crazy. Now Canada has almost inadvertently become embroiled in something akin to a James […] Read more

Dittmer: Ratifying the new NAFTA deal

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

With all the hoopla over the U.S.-China negotiations, the ratification of the re-done NAFTA trade deal (USMCA-CUSMA) hasn’t been in the news much. But its passage is critical to all three nations involved. The issue has shifted from the diplomats and negotiators to the politicians. That’s sad and bad. In the U.S., the treaty is […] Read more


The prospect of a China-U.S. trade deal continues to hold major potential.

U.S. on the cusp of a China trade deal

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Despite not meeting the end of March deadline originally set in the President Xi Jinping-President Trump meeting, the trade negotiations between China and the U.S. moved along at a relatively rapid clip in March and April. The revised goal was to have an agreement ready for the leaders to sign by late April-early May. Rather […] Read more

As data technologies advance, nutrition professionals have suggested the research process that determines dietary guidelines be updated.

Improving your government’s nutrition advice

Free Market Reflections with Steve Dittmer

Seems I’m always apologizing for something from down here that migrates north and causes trouble. This time, though, I’d like to shed some light on how to fix things, in case you’d like suggestions to add to your own ideas. I’m referring to our influence on your Canada’s Food Guide. First, a little history you […] Read more