Food and Agriculture Practice Group
Transnational Strategy Group
For more information on the services TSG can provide, please contact us.
Governmental agricultural trade negotiations and private sector efforts to secure agriculture market access or overcome barriers are often among the most disputed and difficult areas in international economic policy and business. In the case of trade agreements, 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. In addition, agricultural products have often been selected as targets in trade dispute resolution efforts and to provide maximum leverage for corrective action.
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. Where agricultural products are targeted for trade action (tariff increases and the like) to implement WTO decisions or other trade dispute resolutions, properly constructed arguments can be prepared that can lead to relief or elimination of such additional burdens on trade.
Given the extensive, hands-on at senior level experience of our team in negotiating international trade agreements covering food and agriculture and promoting ag exports, we are well positioned to advise and assist governments, companies and trade associations as they approach and engage in international trade negotiations and market opening efforts. Our team has served in the U.S. Congress and worked in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Foreign Agriculture Service, Department of Agriculture; 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. Our seasoned professionals have real world experience opening foreign agriculture markets. 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 agribusiness firms and potential partners around the globe.