Boeing, Monsanto May Benefit From Kerry's Indian Diplomacy
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Every great power, or every power that thinks it is great, wants to use the United States as a punching bag. It's like the old TV show Everybody Hates Chris , in which the supposed object of everyone's ire grows up to be a rich and famous entertainer.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry seems willing to wear the "kick me" sign if it leads to outcomes the U.S. wants, and India is just the latest to take advantage. Everybody hates Kerry? Fine. But if you do business with him, in the end, that's the bottom line.
That's how I look at India's refusal Thursday to sign off on new World Trade Organization rules, throwing the future of the global trade bloc into doubt. Kerry is in India today, on a trade mission with U.S. Trade Representative Penny Pritzker, and what better way for new Prime Minister Narendra Modi to welcome him than with the diplomatic equivalent of a custard pie in the face?
India's media is filled today with stories about the South Asian nation's power to tell the world where to get off. Government supporters say the new stance on behalf of its "food security" program is a strong, sharp departure from the policy of the previous government.
In fact, the deal that was on the table was not only in India's interest, but in line with policies the new government was said to favor, replacing huge stockpiles of domestically produced food with direct transfers of cash that can be used to buy imports.
So who is likely to gain if Kerry can get the WTO negotiations back on track, maybe by accepting a few rhetorical kicks in the can? The biggest winners (and potential losers) are companies that export extensively to India, whose imports from the U.S. totaled nearly $22 billion in 2013.
These include gold companies like Newmont Mining
But the biggest U.S. beneficiaries of a deal, and perhaps the real causes of the hang-up, are agriculture companies like Monsanto
Before the WTO refusal, the Modi government was about to launch field trials of GMO crops, but was facing opposition within its own coalition. Monsanto is also fighting reports of Indian farmers committing suicide over the issue of GMO cotton.