Former United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab opened the 51st Annual U.S. Grains Council Board of Delegates Meeting this week. Illinois corn farmers are in attendance at the meeting, participating in discussions regarding the role corn plays in export markets.
More than half of all Illinois corn is exported. More than any other state, export markets are vital to the corn farmer. That’s why the Illinois Corn Marketing Board invests corn checkoff dollars in the U.S. Grains Council, who, among other duties, acts as a customer service representative to our corn customers around the world.
Schwab gave a very no-nonsense report on U.S. Trade Policy and Politics in a Post-Doha World. Some of her key points are as follows:
- 95% of the world’s consumers are outside our borders. “Demographics are in your favor,” Schwab said.
- The developing world, since the 1990s, has been growing twice as fast as the developed world, “and that’s a good thing. (In developed countries,) agriculture is looking at saturated markets.”
- “Remember, every state has two senators and at least two cows. Agriculture is important to everyone.”
- Anecdotally, you rob the bank because that’s where the money is. In agriculture, you focus on exports because that’s where the money is. “If you thought the recent Chinese purchases were like Christmas, then know that the potential is there for Christmas every single year for as far as the eye can see.”
- American agriculture is (The United States’) comparable advantage. “You are poised to be the big winner in the globalization sweepstakes, in the multi-polar monopoly game, unless we screw it up.”
- “It is in the national self-interest that you in agriculture be more active (in trade) than you have been in the last several decades.”