Asia-Pacific Expanding Its Reach; California Water Shortage Impact Farmers
Trade negotiators for the U.S. and Japan are working around the clock to complete a trade agreement prior to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s visit to Washington later this month. Negotiators are working to have the agreement ready to unveil during Abe’s visit as they hope the deal can pave the way for a broader Asia-Pacific pact involving 10 other countries. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and Japanese Economy Minister Akira Amari hope to wrap up the deal in time for Abe’s April 28th visit with President Barack Obama.
Farmers are exempt from California’s water reduction mandate. The cutbacks, to be implemented by state and local water agencies, will affect consumers, but farmers, who are already making do with less water for irrigation, will be exempt. The state is in the midst of a multi-year historic drought, and this winter’s record low snowpack prompted the water rationing. California’s Water Resources Control Board chairwoman Felicia Marcus said regulators would not hesitate to issue fines worth up to $10,000 a day to districts that don’t succeed in implementing the cutbacks.