Whether negotiating globally as in the World Trade Organization (WTO), regionally as in the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), or bilaterally as in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), agriculture inevitably proves to be the greatest impediment to reaching agreement. It is generally assumed that agriculture will be the greatest problem and the last to be resolved and it almost always is. This is because agriculture is usually the most protected sector in most economies. It is in agriculture that one finds the most trade distortive policies and practices including the highest tariffs, the most quantitative restrictions, the highest subsidies, and the most trade restrictive sanitary and phytosanitary measures. Overcoming these impediments presents major challenges.
Negotiating international trade agreements, especially free trade agreements, present the best opportunities to reduce and eliminate trade distortive measures. Innovative and politically acceptable solutions are required to reach agreements.
Given the extensive, hands-on at senior level experience of our team in negotiating international trade agreements covering food and agriculture, we are well positioned to advise and assist governments, companies and trade associations as they approach and engage in international trade negotiations. Our team has served in the U.S. Congress and worked in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the White House, Department of State and other relevant agencies. We can assist a party in determining and clearly defining its interests and objectives and we can help assure that those objectives are clearly communicated to the negotiators. Given that we are truly transnational with senior advisors and other contacts located around the world in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, we are also able to explore quietly and confidentially what is politically possible. We can also assist in assuring that WTO obligations are fully met while also assuring that WTO opportunities are fully exploited. And we can work to build commercial relations between U.S. agribusiness firms and potential partners around the globe.