Global water supply something to watch

Tractor Machinery Association conference: Westpac look at year ahead


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Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk with Karen Radford from Wallenius Wilhelmsen at the Tractor and Machinery Association annual conference

Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk with Karen Radford from Wallenius Wilhelmsen at the Tractor and Machinery Association annual conference

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Westpac analyst looks at the year ahead at Tractor and Machinery Association annual conference

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Speaking at the Tractor and Machinery Association conference, Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk said water availability and its effects on economic development and growth needed to be considered.

"It is about agricultural production, you need water to grow," he said.

"We are large exporters of water, that shouldn't be surprising, we are big agricultural exporters, Brazil and Argentina are similar, the US is the same, and Canada. Big importers are through Europe and Japan, and Africa.

"However, the other big exporter of water is India, they have themselves fully resourced, using all the water they have got and exporting water in food exports.

"It is something to watch. China is balanced, India with its growing population needs to lift production but they can't lift supply of water and now they are talking about cities running out of water due to a dry monsoon.

"Confidence over water will be a rising issue, opportunities for us, risks for others."

Mr Smirk said the relationship between China and the USA on trade would also significantly affect the global economy for the foreseeable future but looked like imminent trade negotiations could equalise the relationship somewhat.

"The US is imposing lots of trade tariffs against the Chinese, the Chinese are trying to retaliate," he said.

"The thing that is interesting is looking at why they are doing this.

"The US was on the loosing side [prior to the trade war], they had the lowest levels of tariffs, they had hardly any tariffs on Chinese imports and very low tariffs on European imports, but for Europe they were roughly similar, both Europe and the US had roughly the same tariffs against each other.

"China however had much bigger tariffs against the US.

"Measures proposed that the next step brings them back to equal, so if you just take the simplistic view that this is purely about tariffs and levels of tariffs then the US is just catching up.

"The other battle that is over is technology, China has grand ambitions to become a dominant first world economy , they currently have a higher level of patents being issued then the US does. If you have a patent and want to make money you may still want to go to the US to get it implemented

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The story Global water supply something to watch first appeared on Farm Online.

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