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What We Believe: Trade Works

Trade is crucial to Cargill’s mission to feed and nourish the world

Trade connects all members of the global community and it functions as the economic circulatory system of the planet. Since our founding in 1865 with a single grain elevator in Iowa, Cargill has been purchasing farmers' crops, finding markets for their harvest and feeding people around the world.

We believe that trade offers access to both locally and globally sourced products—and it provides the most efficient means for ensuring that people around the world can obtain a sufficient, affordable supply of nutritious food.

Trade also provides a range of other benefits.

  • It fuels economic growth.
  • It helps companies create new jobs.
  • It raises incomes.
  • And it helps nations prosper.

But trade is also a complicated and competitive business function. And each trading partner is playing to win.

That is why Cargill believes that trade must be conducted within a rules-based system, one that ensures all participants are competing on a level-playing field—each with the same responsibilities, equal access to markets and an equal opportunity to compete in those markets.

When such a system is established through a trade agreement, all market participants know where they stand—and what will happen if they stray from the rules.

At the same time, competitive pressures may tempt countries to veer away from agreed-upon policies. They may seek to gain economic advantage by bending or violating the rules.

And that’s where trade organizations are vital referees in any rules-based trading system. Cargill believes it is especially critical to ensure that the World Trade Organization has the authority to uphold global trading agreements, and referee trade disputes. When good oversight is assured and trade agreements are respected, trading partners develop greater trust in the system, and markets operate more fluidly and efficiently.

In a well-regulated environment, trading partners also are more willing to respect competitive advantage. It makes no sense, for example, for an arid country to grow wheat in the desert, even though it can be done. When confidence in the trading system is assured, that country will be more likely to respect comparative advantage and buy wheat from regions where it can be produced in a more economically and environmentally sustainable way, rather than producing it at home under unsuitable growing conditions. That nation can then focus its energies on producing things that generate the most economic benefit at home.

The fact is, in today’s world of interconnected economies, we are all linked to one another through  trade. It affects all of our lives and communities. When trade is open and markets are healthy, benefits flow both ways between trading partners in the form of better jobs, greater purchasing power and increased productivity.

That’s why Cargill works to ensure that the pathways of trade remain open and unencumbered. All of our livelihoods depend on it.

Business leaders shaking hands

Trade Voices

Leaders across the Cargill community are speaking out about the benefits of open, honest and fair trade agreements that connect our global food system.