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Why Trade Matters

Benefits of trade Benefits of Trade Trade helps us feed a hungry world

Cargill’s business is feeding a hungry world. That means that food must be able to move to where it is needed, when it is needed—across countries, continents and oceans.

To accomplish this, we need access to an unrestricted, open trading system that connects all members of the world community. Using that system of trade, we can provide communities around the world with a dependable, affordable and nutritious food supply.

Trade provides access to technology and resources

But trade isn’t just about food. Open trade also allows nations to reach across borders to obtain other goods, services, new technologies and other resources they need to prosper. Most often these are resources which are not available or feasible to cultivate, manufacture or otherwise obtain internally. They may range from raw materials to factory machinery to finished products and other resources.

By obtaining these necessary resources through trade, companies can keep workers employed and consumers supplied with the items they need and want.

Trade benefits consumers and workers

Trade gives consumers access to products that contain a wide range of ingredients grown around the world. And it creates jobs even in places far from where specific crops are grown. Consider the following examples.

Cocoa and chocolate

Although chocolate products are enjoyed around the world, about two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is grown in West Africa. But thanks to trade, Cargill employees working in the United States, the Netherlands and Germany have jobs processing cocoa into a variety of ingredients.

Palm oil

The oil palms from which we obtain crude palm oil, palm kernel and palm kernel oil grow only in tropical climates. International trade supports the farmers and workers who grow and mill oil palm in Indonesia, as well as the many companies around the world who use the resulting products as ingredients.


Soybeans grown in the Western Hemisphere may travel through trade channels to Egypt, where they are crushed in a Cargill facility and then used to produce staple food items in a nation that cannot produce enough soybeans on its own.

By acquiring resources through open trade, countries can invigorate their economies and create new opportunities that would not otherwise be available. That’s because robust trade stimulates free enterprise and competition, which can help create jobs and economic growth, generate new export opportunities and improve the quality of life.

Trade lifts people out of poverty

These benefits are especially critical to developing nations, where the growth and economic development generated by trade have the potential to lift large portions of the population out of poverty. When trade connects developing nations to world markets, it also creates new job opportunities all along the supply chain.

As employment increases and incomes rise, trade helps more people in these nations advance beyond mere subsistence and enter the consumer class, where they will generate new demand for goods that further bolsters the robustness of trade. This is particularly true in agriculture. According to USDA, developing countries are projected to account for more than 80 percent of the increase in global demand for meat, grains and oilseeds to 2026.

Trade supports our entire supply chain

In our case, these additional benefits of trade extend to people all along our supply chain—including Cargill employees, our partners, customers, consumers and all those who live in the communities where Cargill operates.

And that’s reason enough for Cargill to do what we can to ensure that all of the world’s citizens have the opportunity to share in the benefits of trade.

More in this section:

Trade Feeds the World

Trade is everywhere, just below the surface, in many—or even most—of the goods we use and consume every day.

NAFTA in a Nutshell

The North American Free Trade Agreement has provided the United States, Canada and Mexico with mutual access to one another’s markets for nearly 25 years.