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Doing some fundraising for the Red Cross BC in support of the BC Wildfires today with a BBQ and raffles this week. #wethriveonhelpingpeople
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Thanks to our Surrey, B.C. IT team for hosting a delicious #CincoDeMayo lunch today!
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Canadian Import Volumes for February 2016 #aandadata #import
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A & A Economic Digest - November 2014 Edition

More than 20-million Canadians buy organic products weekly and there are 900,000 hectares of farmland across Canada. The organic market is worth C$3.5-billion annually and Canadian organic exports are valued at $458-million. Nationwide, there are over 5,000 certified organic farms, processors and handlers.


In the battle to save Asian forests, disposable chopsticks have long been a target for environmentalists. Last year, China exported over 10,000 tonnes of them and manufactures 80-billion pairs each year. For that, 20-million trees, mainly bamboo, birch and poplar, are chopped down. When the government imposed a 5% tax on throwaways, few people paid attention when the factory price of a pair is about one-third of a US cent. Some campaigners are now turning to the health dangers in using throwaway chopsticks which in small-town workshops are typically bleached in hydrogen peroxide, polished with paraffin and treated with sulphur dioxide.


Digital is now the favourite media category of Canadian advertisers. A new report says Canadian Internet publishers earned more revenue in 2013, making it the first time digital media outperformed television, daily print newspapers and radio broadcasters. Digital ad revenue grew 14 per cent last year rising to C$3.5-billion from $3.1-billion. Though TV advertising was down 2.3 per cent from $3.47-billion, it still took second-highest share of revenue. Daily print newspapers earned the third highest share of revenue, despite a 17 per cent drop from $2.2-billion to $1.68-billion. Magazines fell 2.7 per cent from $573-million to $558-million.


Vancouver’s Mink Chocolate company learned recently that its Mermaid’s Choice bar had been named best chocolate bar at an international competition and awarded a gold medal. Altogether, the company won six medals at the 2014 San Francisco International Chocolate Salon exhibition--three gold, two silver and a bronze. Mermaid’s Choice, which retails at C$6.25, is a ganache-filled bar, about 70 per cent dark chocolate with a soft truffle-like centre.


China issued its strongest pushback yet against global auto makers as it levied fines against Audi and Chrysler totalling US$45.8-million. This signals a growing frustration with foreign dominance in the world’s largest car market. More than three-quarters of the sedans driven off Chinese lots are Chevrolets, Volkswagens, Nissans or other foreign brands. More than two-thirds of China’s luxury-car sales go to just three brands: Audi, BMW and Daimler Mercedes Benz. Most local drivers do not consider Chinese brands as safe or stylish as foreign models.


Abandoning citizenship is often a last resort for Americans living outside the USA to escape a lifetime of onerous tax filings. It is about to become a costlier exit strategy. Citing dramatically increased numbers of Americans abandoning their citizenship, the US State Department is raising its renunciation fees to US$2,350 a person, up from the current $450. Throughout the first half of this year, 1,577 Americans worldwide renounced their citizenship or gave up their green cards. In 2013, a record 3,000 Americans renounced, up from just a few hundred a year in the mid 1990s.


The number of foreign students at US universities reached a new high of 819,644 last year. Many came from China on F-1 visas which are reserved for students. Chinese students in the US now number 200,000, up from 16,000 in 2003. Students from India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia also flock to America’s top universities. Foreign students contribute over US$30-billion to the US economy annually.


A Dutch farm is being run by robots. They feed 180 cows, monitor their health, clean their stables and milk them whenever the cows choose. In 2008, the owner invested US$730,000 in the machines that enabled him to double the number of cattle, increase the milk yield per cow by 15% and reduce wasted feed. An app warns the farmer if a cow needs human attention. Land and labour are expensive in Northern Europe. To compete, Dutch scientists, businesses and government have worked closely to boost productivity and develop high-value crops. Dutch cows now produce twice as much milk as they did in 1960. The value of the country’s agricultural exports are now second only to the US.


When the first Metro Toronto taxi licence was issued in 1953 it had no value. Today, a permit to operate a cab in the city is valued at more than C$300,000. Between 2003 an 2013 the value of a Toronto cab licence has increased 235%. The figure for Vancouver is 220 %. In the same period the value of West Texas crude has increased 191%, Art, 183%, Fine Wine, 182% and Chinese porcelain, 83%.


Between 2007 and 2012, the number of breweries in the US has doubled from 398 to 869. The brewery industry reported US$28.3-billion in shipments in 2012, an increase of nearly 33.6% since 2007 Employment in the brewery industry also climbed over the five year span, rising to 26,077 employees in 2012, up 3825 or 17.2% from 22,252 in 2007. While overall employment grew, the average number of employees per establishment was nearly halved, from 56 in 2007 to 30 in 2012. Beer shipments in cans increased 32% between 2007 and 2012, and was worth $14.3-billion. The wineries industry employed 37,602 people in 2012, up from 33,390 in 2007.


In the midst of the strongest market for commercial trucks in eight years, North American sales of natural-gas-powered vehicles are just crawling along. Their higher purchase price compared with diesel trucks, improved diesel fuel economy and continued scarcity of fuelling stations are damping natural-gas-powered truck demand. About 10,480 of the heavy-duty trucks are expected to be sold this year up 20 per cent from the 8,730 sold last year, but forecasters had expected sales to nearly double to 16,000 given the enthusiasm for natural gas a year ago. A natural-gas truck costs about US$50,000 more than $150,000 diesel truck.


Britain is now the lowest cost manufacturing economy of Western Europe. Stable wages and improved productivity over the past decade has made the UK increasingly competitive even compared to many Eastern European countries. The UK is recovering its mantle as a global manufacturing hub and is now one of the cheapest locations to produce goods in Western Europe. . Direct manufacturing costs in the UK have improved by up to ten percentage points compared to other Western European countries.


Engineers in Canada have built a chin strap that harnesses energy from chewing and turns it into electricity. They say that the device could one day take the place of batteries in hearing aids, earpieces and other small gadgets. Made from a “smart” material that becomes electrically charged when stretched, the prototype needs to be made 20 times more efficient in order to generate useful amounts of power.


The rate of destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has increased for a second year running. Brazilian government figures show deforestation was up by 29% to the 12 months ending in July 2013. Satellite data shows that almost 6,000 sq. km. of forest were cleared during this period. The largest increases were in the states of Para and Mato Grosso where most of Brazil’s agricultural expansion is taking place. Besides agricultural expansion, the rebound in deforestation is due to illegal logging and the invasion of public lands adjacent to big infrastructure projects such as roads and hydroelectric dams.


For half a century, Indonesia and Malaysia have accounted for the vast majority of the world’s palm oil. Now, investors are flocking to West Africa to secure land for rival plantations. Environmentalists say that the forests of South-East Asia have been massively despoiled and are warning West African governments not to follow suit and a growth versus conservation battle is in the offing. Demand for palm oil, whose annual global production is valued at US$50-billion, is soaring and consumption may triple between 2000 and 2050.


Worldwide, the snack industry is worth US$300-billion in revenue and is expected to exceed $380-billion by 2017. The industry is driven by consumers’ changing tastes and health considerations. Since 2004, the number of consumers categorized as “healthy snackers” has grown from 29-million to 41-million. Supermarket sales account for 50 per cent of all snack sales which is important at a time when the average size of supermarkets is declining.


The Economist has again ranked Vancouver as the third most livable city in the world. Three Canadian cities, Vancouver, Toronto and Calgary have been named as some of the best places in the world to live. Toronto was number four and Calgary tied with Adelaide, Australia for fifth. Melbourne, Australia topped the list of 140 cities for the fourth year in a row with Vienna, Austria coming in second.


Google has had to reinforce its fragile undersea internet cables with a material similar to that used in bulletproof vests in order to protect against shark attacks. The company announced it was going back to some of the 100,000 miles of private fibre optic cable it owns around the world and reinforcing it with the protective material to at least in part minimize the damage that results from frequent and unexplainable shark attacks. Fibre optic cables use lasers to send data across the ocean, allowing transfer rates up to 100 times higher than traditional copper cables.


Despite steadily increasing trade with China, Canadian businesses were the least likely to have settled transactions using the Chinese currency of 11 markets surveyed. Only five per cent of Canadian companies reported that they had done cross-border business using Chinese yuan or renminbi. By comparison, 22 per cent of global companies had done business using the yuan and 17 per cent of US businesses made transactions using the currency. More than half the Chinese businesses surveyed said they would offer discounts of as much as five per cent to firms willing to pay using their local currency.


For many, the ideal place for a wedding reception would be a local hall or a nice stately home. Not in Hong Kong however. McDonald’s wedding parties are so popular that the fast food empire has a dedicated wedding service there, available in 15 venues where customers can choose from four different wedding packages.
Thank you for reading the A & A Economic News Digest. For more information visit our website or contact A & A Contract Customs Brokers Ltd. at

Past issues of the A&A Economic News Digest can be found at
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The August 2014 Edition of our Economic Digest is here...  In this issue, #DOMAINS, #KOI, #COAL and more!


European wine producers together with their Californian and Australian counterparts are fighting a rearguard action to prevent the introduction of internet domain names such as .vin and .wine. Producers of fine wines argue that making these names available could make it easier for unscrupulous companies to pass off inferior wines such as Champagne, or Napa Valley sparkling wines. European wine producers are prepared to boycott the new domain names if they are introduced saying that protecting wine-growing place names is critical to all wine-growing regions of quality.


More than one in five households in Canada have cell phones as their only form of telephone service. In 2013, 21 per cent of households reported using a cell phone exclusively, up from 13 per cent in 2010. This is more pronounced in young households where all of the members are under 35 years of age. Total cell phone usage, whether used exclusively or in a combination with other types of phone service, continues to grow in popularity in Canada. In 2013, 83 per cent of Canadian households had an active cell phone, up from 78 per cent in 2010. The province with the highest proportion of cell phone users was Alberta with 91 per cent and the lowest was Quebec with 76 per cent.


Consumer demand for more natural, environmentally friendly and socially-responsible food has proliferated. More than ever, consumers want to know exactly what is in their food, and they are turning to food labels to provide this information. When shopping for foods, according to Consumers Reports, two-thirds of Americans are checking to see if their food is locally produced. The majority of consumers (59 per cent) are also checking to see if their food is natural. Consumers are less likely to look for fair-trade (31 per cent of consumers), animal welfare (36%), antibiotic (39%) and non-GMO (40%).


Japanese Koi fish have been found in Boundary Dam in Estevan, Saskatchewan. They are not native to the province and are causing problems. The government which has known about the Koi since 2010 speculate that they were dumped into the Dam. The fish uproot submerged vegetation that can impact how other fish and other aquatic species do as they depend on the aquatic vegetation. Koi fish are also known for stirring up sediment and eating the eggs of other fish. There does not appear to be a feasible method that is environmentally friendly of getting rid of the Koi.


Online shoppers in the UK now have longer to cancel orders under new laws. The cooling-off period for an online order has been extended to 14 calender days from seven working days. Shoppers can now claim a full refund during this period without having to give a reason for the cancellation.


Doctors in the US complain that errors in how they code treatments are often mistaken for fraud and that the automation of claims-monitoring could make this worse. Next year, Medicare will have 140,000 different codes, including nine for injuries caused by turkeys. (Was the victim struck or pecked? Once or more often? Did she suffer negative after-effects? And so on). Many clinics have fallen under suspicion and had payments suspended, only to win a reprieve when the facts are studied closely. This could make many doctors reluctant to take Medicare patients.


Just as Russia has its vodka, Mexico its Tequila and Scotland its Scotch, China has its Baijiu. It is the world’s biggest-selling spirit category and represents a US$23-billion market. Producers are now seeking new markets in the US and Europe as sales fall in China after a crackdown on wasteful spending. The Chinese white spirit is distilled from sorghum, wheat or rice and accounts for more than one-third of all the spirits consumed in the world because China is the leading spirit consuming nation. Baijiu can trace its history to the first century BC. Experts say western palates may need some training to appreciate the product which some have compared to drinking paint thinner.


Power plants fired by coal in the US will be hit hardest by an Environmental Protection Agency plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing power stations by 30 per cent from their 2005 levels by 2030. Industry groups are already lining up to object with the US Chamber of Commerce warning of a US$51-billion annual hit to the economy from higher energy bills. However, if that estimate is accurate it would still represent only about 0.3% of the annual US GDP. It also ignores the environmental and medical benefits of reducing the use of coal which pumps out double the carbon dioxide of natural gas when burned and contributes to smog and respiratory problems.


Iconic motorbike manufacturer Harley Davidson, has revealed its first electric motorcycle. The bike will not go on general sale, instead the company will select customers from the US to ride it and provide feedback. The bike will travel down the US’s Route 66 visiting more than 30 Harley Davidson dealerships between now and the end of the year.


A new British report from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) says that coffee drinkers who choose brands carrying the Fairtrade label are not helping the poor and the “ethical trading” claims made by fair-trade organizations are hollow. The researchers investigated labour markets for export crops in Uganda and Ethiopia, The report’s conclusions will come as a shock to consumers in rich countries who pick brands carrying the Fairtrade logo, supposedly supporting the earnings of family farms and small-holders by paying of a “Fairtrade premium” helping them compete in a world dominated by large plantations. The SOAS researchers are urging Fairtrade organizations to improve their audit procedures and establish minimum wage standards.


Visitors to Scotland spent 20 per cent more last year than in 2012, a bigger increase than London and the UK as a whole. The number of visitors was up 9.8- per cent to 2.44-million, spending a total of US$3.36-billion. Edinburgh was the biggest draw with 1.3-million people staying one night or more in the city, second only to London. A further increase is expected for 2014.


A Canadian trauma specialist and an armed forces surgeon has developed a new tool for first responders. It looks like a futuristic hair clip and is about the size of a child’s hand-held toy. It looks innocent except for the eight needles protruding from the clamp. The iTClamp is specially designed to close a wound in a way that is so simple, anyone can do it. Instead of applying a complicated tourniquet with the right amount of pressure, let alone performing the long and complicated process of stitching a profusely bleeding wound, the clamp can be placed simply over the injury and squeezed together. This closes the wound and takes about three seconds to apply. The device has been approved by Health Canada for more than a year and a half, by the US Food and Drug administration for a year and by Europe for about 15 months.


The next big thing in the tech world is forecast to be Uber which has raised US$1.2-billion in capital from private investors, giving it an estimated market value of $17-billion. Uber’s limousine and car-sharing services operate in 128 cities in 37 countries through its app. which is a challenge to licensed taxi services. There have been protests by European taxi drivers in Paris and London, angry at what they say is unfair competition from Uber’s unregulated service.


Deforestation is reducing the amount of leaf litter falling into rivers and lakes, resulting in less food being available to fish, a new study claims. Researchers found that the amount of food available affected the size of young fish and influenced the number that went on to reach adulthood. The results illustrate a link between watershed protection and healthy freshwater fish populations. A team of scientists from Canada and the UK collected data from eight locations with varying levels of tree cover around Daisy Lake in Canada which forms part of the boreal ecosystem.


Golf, which usually rides out a recession because so many players are affluent is one of the last victims of the financial crisis. In the US, an estimated five million fewer people play the game at least once a week than a decade ago. A similar measure in England shows a 16 per cent drop in the same period. In Canada the number of occasional golfers is down 17 per cent and those classed as playing infrequently have plunged 49 per cent according to a 2012 study. It is estimated that golf accounts for C$11.3-billion worth of Canada’s GDP. The combined revenues of $4.7-billion produced by golf courses, driving ranges and the like nearly matched the total of all other sports and recreational activities.


An estimated 2.7-million Canadians, or 8.3 per cent of the population have been diagnosed with migraine, a debilitating disorder characterized by pulsating headaches that can last for a few hours to several days, often accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. Females were more than twice as likely as males to report migraines, 11.8 per cent versus 4.7. For both sexes, migraine was most common in ages 30 to 49. Compared with the national figure, the prevalence of migraine was lower in Quebec, (6.8 per cent) and higher in Manitoba (9.5), Nova Scotia (9.1) and Ontario, (8.8).


Canadian workers are winning a reputation for building quality vehicles. A Toyota plant in Cambridge, Ontario led the global rankings in the widely watched annual survey by J.D. Power and Associates that measures vehicle quality. The General Motors plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, placed second in North America, and Canadian-built vehicles placed first in five out of 23 categories. Quality has a direct and meaningful impact on subsequent loyalty and it costs hundreds of millions of dollars to win back customers who have abandoned a brand.


Doctors in the UK are warning that Britain’s obesity crisis could cripple the National Health Service as hospitals are forced to buy and rent special equipment to keep bodies cool because they are too large to fit into mortuary fridges. Hospitals are also having to widen corridors, buy reinforced beds and lifting equipment in order to cope with the growing numbers of obese patients. A quarter of adults in the UK are estimated to be obese and the number is expected to grow to account for more than half the population in the next 30 years.


India has taken over from the US as the largest importer of oil from Nigeria. The US has drastically reduced its demand for Nigerian crude in recent months and now buys about 250,000 barrels a day. India buys considerably more, about 30 per cent of the country’s 2.5-million barrels of production. US demand for imported oil has fallen sharply because of increasing domestic shale gas and oil production. It is estimated that the US will be largely energy independent by 2035.


Researchers into unusual claims by cellphone owners in Britain has revealed the most bizarre and outlandish accidents befalling the nations’s technology. One farmer claims to have damaged his iPhone while calving, acccidently inserting it into the rear of a cow while attempting to use it as a flashlight. And a woman absentmindedly baked her Nokia 6303i into a sponge cake intended for her daughter’s birthday.

Thank you for reading the A & A Economic News Digest. For more information visit our website or contact A & A Contract Customs Brokers Ltd. at

Past issues of the A&A Economic News Digest can be found at
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Summer has arrived - and so has the June issue of our Economic Digest. In this issue - #TEA, #DENMARK, #MAIL, #MINING and more!
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Summer has arrived - and so has the June issue of our Economic Digest.  In this issue - #TEA, #DENMARK, #MAIL, #MINING and more!


A machine with a US$13,000 price tag is said by its manufacturer to make the perfect cup of tea. It claims that the brewing process is far more complicated than simply dipping a tea-bag into some boiling water. Prototypes are being tested in US coffee shops and the device could be commercially available later this year. It uses a brewing chamber into which loose tea leaves and water are placed. The air is then drawn out to create a vacuum. This negative pressure in the chamber brings the tea leaves to the surface of the liquid and draws out flavour more precisely than simply adding boiling water. The process is repeated for between 60 and 90 seconds and different flavours need different numbers of infusion cycles. The machine can brew more than 60 cups of tea an hour.


Tablet computers are behind a swift rise in people aged 65 and over using the Internet in the UK. In the past 12 months the percentage of older people going online rose by more than a quarter to 42 per cent. In 2013, 17 per cent of people in the 65-or- over category had used a tablet for their web browsing. In 2012, tablet use in this group was just five percent. Despite the increase, the oldest group of people spend the least amount of time online of any adult age group with an average of nine hours 12 minutes per week. By contrast, those aged 16-24 devote about 24 hours each week to online activities.


Denmark is home to 1,500 mink farmers who together rear about 17.2-million of the mammals a year, about one-fifth of the world’s supply. It also produces smaller quantities of other furs such as white fox and chinchilla. Danish food companies make the world’s most nutritious mink food, a foul-smelling, fishy concoction and Danish design companies drive fur fashions. The Danish Fur Breeders Association is the world’s largest fur-auction house which sells fur from all over the world. Last year it auctioned 21-million pelts and had a turnover of US$2.8-billion.


Although US$91-billion is spent each year on American roads, that is nowhere enough to keep the country’s 4.1-million miles of public roadways in good shape. The Federal Highway authority estimates that $170-billion in capital investment is needed every year. Last year, a report from a civil engineering group said that 31 per cent of America’s major roads were in poor or mediocre condition. Main roads through cities were in worst shape with almost half the miles travelled over urban interstates in 2013 giving a bumpy ride.


With a workforce of just over 491,000 in 2013, the United States Postal Service is second only to Walmart among civilian employers in America. But it still employed more than 200,000 fewer people last year than it did just nine years earlier, when it handled nearly 500-million more pieces of mail and had almost 2,000 more retail offices. The rise of e-mail has left America’s massive postal service with far less to do and it has been scrambling to find ways to raise revenue. A new report suggests that post offices should begin offering financial services such as cheque-cashing, small loans, bill payments and international money transfers.


Nearly one in ten international tourists worldwide is now Chinese, with 97.3-million outward-bound journeys from the country last year, of which around half were for pleasure. Most of those who travel go to Hong Kong, Maca or Taiwan Chinese tourists spent most in total, US$129-billion in 2013, followed by Americans at $86-billion. More than 80 per cent of Chinese tourists say shopping is vital to their plans and that they are expected to buy more luxury goods next year while abroad than tourists from all other countries combined. This growth is expected to continue. Currently, only about five per cent of the Chinese population have passports.


Last year, developing countries received US$134.8-billion in aid, the highest ever according to the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee. Donations fell in 2011 and 2012 as rich countries adopted austerity budgets. Five DAC member countries, including Britain for the first time, met the UN target of 0.7 per cent for aid as a share of gross national income (GNI). The Netherlands missed the benchmark for the first time since 1974. The United Arab Emirates increased aid fourfold, chiefly to help Egypt. America gives less than 0.2 per cent of its GNI but remains the largest donor providing $32-billion in 2013.


For the fifth year in a row, Vancouver International Airport has been recognized as the Number One airport in the world. The Skytrax rankings are based on more than 12-million passenger surveys conducted in airports around the world on 39 elements of airport experience.


A decision by Canada’s Competition Bureau means retailers will now be able to lower the prices of e-books. The Bureau has reached a deal with the four major e-book publishers that forces them to drop their practice of stopping retailers from offering discounts on e-books. Similar settlements in the US over the past two years resulted in shaved prices for e-books there. Best selling e-books are now sold at discounts of 20 per cent or more south of the border.


Scottish potato chip maker Mackie’s has reported a six-fold leap in annual exports to Canada.. The company exported 279,000 packages in 2013, up from 46,000 in the previous year. The Canadian market now makes up about 40 per cent of Mackie’s export sales turnover.


A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) says that resistance to antibiotics poses a major global threat to public health. It analysed data from 114 countries and said resistance was happening now in every region of the world. It described a post-antibiotic era when people die from simple infections that have been treatable for decades. The report focussed on seven different bacteria responsible for common serious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and blood infections.


Plans to open the world’s first mine in the deep ocean have moved closer to reality. A Canadian mining company has finalized an agreement with Papua New Guinea to digging up an area of seabed. The controversial project aims to extract ores of copper, gold and other valuable metals from a depth of 1,500 metres. Environmental campaigners say mining the ocean floor will prove devastating, causing lasting damage to marine life. Under the agreement, PNG will take a 15 per cent stake in the mine by contributing US$120-million towards the cost of operation.


A farmer who stumbled across an ancient Korean method for curing garlic is now supplying some of the UK’s top restaurants with so called “black garlic”. He wanted to find a way of preserving some of the 900,000 pungent bulbs of garlic he grows so they could be eaten all year round. The answer came when he chanced upon a 4,00-year-old Korean recipe giving a way of preserving garlic bulbs by exposing them to heat and moisture for more than a month. The closely-guarded process kickstarts a chemical reaction between the sugars and amino acids which transforms regular bulbs into sweet, sticky black garlic.


Filmmakers digging in a New Mexico landfill have unearthed hundreds of E.T, The Extra Terrestrial cartridges, considered by some the worst made video game ever and blamed for contributing to the downfall of the video-game industry in the 1980s. Some speculate that thousands or even millions of the unwanted cartridges made by Atari were buried in the landfill. The game was a design and marketing failure after it was rushed out to coincide with the release of the movie.


Rising levels of CO2 around the world will significantly impact the nutrient content of crops, such as wheat, rice and soybeans, according to a new study. Experiments show levels of zinc, iron and protein are likely to be reduced by up to ten percent in wheat and rice by 2050. The scientists say this could have health implications for billions of people, especially in the developing world. Around a third of the global population are already suffering from iron and zinc shortages.


Vancouver’s ban on doorknobs on all new buildings has set off a chain reaction across the country as other jurisdictions ponder whether to follow Vancouver’s lead. The war on doorknobs is part of a broader campaign to make buildings more accessible to the elderly and disabled, many of whom find levered doorhandles easier to operate than fiddly knobs. Vancouver’s code adds private homes to rules already in place in most of Canada for larger buildings, stipulating wider entry doors, lower thresholds and lever-operated taps in bathrooms and kitchens, In BC, bears have been known to scavenge for food inside cars whose doors have handles for this reason and one county in Colorado has banned door levers on buildings for this reason.


Almost a fifth of China’s soil is contaminated an official government study has shown. Conducted between 2005 and 2013, it found that 16 per cent of China’s soil and 14.5 per cent of its arable land showed contamination. The report named cadmium, nickel and arsenic as the top pollutants. The study took samples across an area of 6.3-million square kilometres, two-thirds of China’s land mass. The contamination is notably higher than the previous survey between 1986 and 1990. Up to now, this report has been classified as a state secret because of its sensitivity. There is growing fear in China over the effect that modernization has had on the country’s air, soil and water.


The Canadian government hopes changes will lead to a huge expansion of BC’s fish farms. Bureaucratic hurdles and legal uncertainty are being swept away as part of an attempt to help the Canadian industry, which has stagnated for years, to take advantage of rising global demand for seafood. It is believed that aquaculture could expand from C$2-billion in total annual economic activity to $5.6-billion in 10 years and to more than $8-billion in 15 years. BC has been compared unfavourably to Norway which has a coastline identical in length to BC and a population size similar to BC. Norway sold more than 1.2-million tonnes of farmed salmon in 2012. In 2013, BC produced 57,000 tonnes.


A battery that can charge in under 30 seconds has been shown at a technology conference in Tel Aviv. A Samsung S4 device went from a dead battery to full power in 26 seconds in the demonstration. The battery is currently only a prototype and it is predicted that it will take three years to become a commercially viable product. It is estimated that the batteries are likely to be 30- to 40 per cent more expensive to manufacture compared to traditional ones and the final product will be twice as expensive as those on the market today.


Gasoline-sniffing spiders have forced Mazda to issue a voluntary recall notice so it can apply a software fix to its cars. The yellow sac spider is attracted to the smell of gasoline and the manufacturer fears it could weave its web inside engines causing a blockage and build-up of pressure increasing the risk of engine fires. 42,000 Mazda 6 vehicles from 2010 to 2012 are involved in the recall.


A homeless man in Maine used the cash advance feature on a bank ATM to give him US$700 and he did it 53 times for a total of $37,000.

Thank you for reading the A & A Economic News Digest. For more information visit our website or contact A & A Contract Customs Brokers Ltd. at

Past issues of the A&A Economic News Digest can be found at
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