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Doran: Nothing official without ink to paper

Back in the day, when there was an announcement by the government about this, that, or the other thing, it was taken as the real deal — and it was — and we would report on it accordingly. Well, times have changed, and I’m not taking the bait again.

One recent example was the “announcement” on Oct. 9, 2018, that the federal government will quickly approve allowing the E15 gasoline and ethanol blend year-round. In my excitement, I did the usual story with details of the announcement and quotes from ethanol boosters who were just as thrilled as I.

The catch? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not make a final rule until early June 2019.

The trade war with China reached an unprecedented level in March of 2018 when China’s Commerce Ministry announced the wheels were in motion to place a 120% tariff on 120 U.S. goods, followed by a second phase of a 35% tariff on pork, pork products and other goods in retaliation of President Donald Trump’s tariff directive.

Since that time, the newsroom has been inundated with little carrots via news releases and tweets that there has been a “breakthrough” in trade negotiations with China.

We all know the story about the boy who cried wolf. Now we’re living it.

We’d get our hopes up. It sounds like a deal has been made. The market reacts with a corn and soybean price up tick, only to wilt away into the abyss of fake announcements.

The same has been happening with the North American Free Trade Agreement Part 2. We heard several months ago that a deal was near for the new NAFTA – the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

Then on Dec. 10 there was a big stir in the market that indeed a USMCA deal has been reached. The announcement was made by congressional leaders and the White House.

All is well with the world, except for one problem. There was no ink to paper.

I messaged my executive editor, Jim Henry, and suggested that we not write about it until it becomes official. We didn’t want to get burned with disseminating something that wasn’t officially a done deal.

Jim agreed, and now here we are a week later and Mexico is returning to the negotiation table with concerns.

According to a report by Sabrina Rodriguez for Politico, Mexico was blindsided by the inclusion of language in the bill that would allow the Trump administration to deploy full-time diplomats in Mexico to make sure the country is upholding labor standards.

There are reports that the House may take up a vote on the USMCA later this week, but it still awaits approval from Mexico and Canada.

It’s a time in our history where the media has taken its share of hits with all of the “fake news” stuff. The funny thing is there’s a lot of “fake news” coming out of the federal government in the form of these “announcements” of policies that don’t have ink to paper.

They get our hopes up, toy with the commodity markets, but then it becomes much ado about nothing. Dear Lord, I miss the olden days.

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