What is in this article?:
- Milo Hamilton, rice marketing expert, explains issues facing Asia in bid to feed growing populations.
- Hamilton: "I argue that rice is a political and cultural ‘cement’ that holds Asia together."
- Water rights/use growing concern.
Labor costs, Mexico
On labor costs and an “accidental super-power”…
“Chinese labor costs are also skyrocketing. By 2015, Mexico will have labor costs 30 percent lower than China. There’s a giant sucking sound of industry heading south to Mexico even as we speak.
“The United States is an accidental super-power. Despite the mess in Washington, we’re getting stronger and stronger. Our reliance on world trade will go from 15 to 7 percent. We have our own credit. We have our own river system. We face two oceans. We have no enemy surrounding us except for the Mexican drug lords. These are the sorts of benefits the United States has due to its geography and demography.
“China’s work force is declining by 3 percent in the next decade while projections are that Mexico’s will rise by 58 percent. Think about it: over the next five years, in order to keep their farmers growing rice, China will have to keep raising the price. Right now, it costs $20 per hundredweight there. What Arkansas farmer can’t grow and trade rice for $20 per hundredweight?
“Well, (the Chinese) can do two things. First, they can continue to run the rice price up. Or, they can just import rice. They’re in a fix and it’s getting worse.”