International trade is vital for moving products and services from areas of surplus to areas of need. In recent years, however, open trade – and especially international trade agreements – have come under fire from critics who say they are bad for workers, consumers and the environment.
Cargill, a long-time proponent of trade liberalization, believes food should flow freely across borders. Open trade and functioning markets are necessary to delivering long-term food security, job creation and economic growth. Among those who stand to benefit are farmers, consumers and many workers and employers along the supply chain.
- Cargill supports international trade agreements that remove tariffs, quotas, overly restrictive regulations and other barriers to the free flow of goods and services.
- Global food security is best served when open markets allow for crops grown in the places with the most conducive climates and the highest yields to be shipped to areas that want and/or need them. Trade gives consumers access to more food at lower prices.
- Access to food is a basic human right. Restricting trade can limit that access, artificially raise prices for consumers, divert food from markets in need, send mixed signals to farmers as they make planting decisions, and misdirect agricultural investment.
- Trade supports jobs and the economy. For instance, farmers can expand their incomes by exporting crops, which in turn gives them the means to invest and further boost their productivity. But open trade in food and agricultural goods not only benefits farmers. Wages and employment rise faster in the sectors of the economy that benefit from trade. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, every $1 billion in agricultural exports supports 9,000 U.S. jobs for transportation workers, food processors, packers, longshoremen and numerous others along the supply chain.
- Trade can increase agricultural sustainability. When crops can be traded freely, they can be grown where they grow best, reducing the need for land, fertilizers, energy and other natural resources. Trade deals can also promote best practices in sustainability and food safety among participating nations.
- While trade liberalization on the whole is beneficial for the economy, and trade agreements offer participating countries the option of harmonizing standards in order to create a more level playing field, we recognize that some sectors of the economy can be adversely affected. With this in mind, Cargill supports government efforts similar to the U.S. Trade Adjustment Assistance program, which provides retraining for workers to become more competitive in the global marketplace.