Monday, November 09, 2020

Analysts predict what's likely and possible for farming, mining and other industries under the Biden administration

With President-Elect Joe Biden set to take office in January, Bloomberg journalists and analysts have put together some predictions on how the new administration will affect U.S. sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, retail, health care, and more. Here are some with rural resonance:

"Any Biden rollback of tariffs on Chinese goods could clear the way for more shipments of U.S. farm products to Asia," Kevin Miller and Melinda Grenier report. "But there’s concern a transition away from oil under Biden could erode demand for corn- and soy-based biofuels, which are mixed in with petroleum-based motor fuels. Some more left-leaning Democrats also may try to take a harder line against big agriculture companies. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker have said the U.S. response to coronavirus outbreaks at meat plants this year was 'feckless'."

Telecommunications giants such as AT&T and Verizon have enjoyed a friendly relationship with the Trump administration's Federal Communications Commission, led by former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai. Such companies lobby hard to win federal contracts to build out rural broadband, but often save money by installing cheaper, slower DSL broadband instead of fiber-optic cable. The Biden administration will likely reimpose net-neutrality regulations and work to expand high-quality internet service in rural areas, Bloomberg reports.

Biden has vowed to ban new hydraulic fracturing on public lands and help the U.S. energy sector transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. He may also tighten emissions standards, which could raise costs for the oil and gas industries.

Biden's win could hasten federal legalization of cannabis, allowing producers better access to electronic banking, tax deductions, and capital from lenders, Miller and Grenier report. 

Biden aims to expand coverage and subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act, which will help more people afford it, and says he will roll back some Trump administration changes that weakened it.

For manufacturers, "Major watch items include perennial concerns such as taxes and regulation, as well as trade — especially whether Biden will seek to improve global ties after four years of tensions stoked by Trump," Miller and Grenier report.

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