Tuesday, November 14, 2006

 

Soy subsidies?

This isn't that biggest issue facing the Strickland administration, but this is the kind of crap that makes the Dept. of Development such an important target for an entire rebuild. From Gongwers (sub. req'd):
The state will open an international trade office in Shanghai that will focus on increasing Ohio companies’ exports to China and identify potential reverse investments for Ohio, Governor Bob Taft announced Monday.

The office is being opened as a cooperative venture between the Department of Development’s International Trade Division and the Ohio Soybean Council, which will supply half of the office’s budget.

. . .

The soybean organization supported the creation of the office given that China is the largest export market for American soybeans.

The office will be managed by Emerge Logistics, which was selected for the job through a competitive RFP process. Jeffrey Bernstein, the company’s founder and managing director, will lead the operations.
Taft also issued a press release about this here.

Now, you might assume Emerge Logistics is a top-shelf consultant on emerging market trade strategy.

You'd be wrong. Emerge Logistics is, essentially, a warehousing operation in Shanghai. Although it promotes itself as a supply-chain expert, its expertise if very limited. Granted, they have some efficiencies in getting goods through the paperwork bureacracy in China, and to that extent, that may be good for Ohio's soybean growers.

But these are not the credentials you'd want for running a balls-out trade office for Ohio in Shanghai. And, of course, that is not really what this deal is about. It's really about a backdoor subsidy (in this case, a cost-sharing) disguised as a broader trade effert. It ain't.

And, if you have a desire to waste an hour or six, just try to find the ODOD RFP that Emerge is said to have won "competitively," a nonsense word in the world of RFPs if there ever was one.

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