If you’re one of the millions of Americans headed to Starbucks for a seasonal pumpkin spice latte, the benefits of trade are right in your hand. Whether it’s Starbucks or a boutique coffee shop, the coffee we drink is imported. Because while the United States excels at growing many crops, coffee beans aren’t one of them.
The Supreme Court answered this question when it decided that under the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, tomatoes would be considered a vegetable for the purpose of assessing a customs duty. Who knew the answer would relate to trade policy? And thanks to trade, we eat fresh tomatoes all year round.
Governments have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their food supplies, and to protect the health of the plants and animals that supply the food system. In negotiating trade agreements, countries have sought to balance the twin objectives of protecting human, plant, and animal health and ensuring the international flow of safe food.
People eat SPAM on every continent, including Antarctica. How much? 12.8 cans every second. Hormel keeps adding new flavors, like SPAM Teriyaki and SPAM Chorizo, to whet global appetites. Thanks to international trade, SPAM finds itself the centerpiece of comfort foods all over the world.
In 2016, American ranchers sold $6.3 billion worth of beef overseas, finding its way into traditional meat dishes from yakiniku in Japan to tacos al carbon in Mexico, and bulgogi in South Korea. And now, thanks to a new trade deal, they can sell beef to China too.
Through a combination of automation, analytics, mobile payment and other digital technologies, the world’s leading food retailers are in a race for your “digitally-enabled” grocery business.
They say variety is the spice of life. As millions of households around the world can increasingly afford to diversify their diets, stimulating global demand for more meat, fish, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. It’s an opportunity farmers in America and in developing countries are preparing to seize.
Madison, Wisconsin is home to the exceedingly vibrant and sort-of-famous Dane County Farmers’ Market. Purveyors arrive in the wee hours of the morning from all corners of the state. We all recognize that drawing the line at the county is arbitrary. The market’s popularity, variety, energy owe themselves to trade and to quality—not to locality.
Among the chief beneficiaries of the current Korean passion for potatoes are U.S. potato growers and processors, who’ve seen their exports explode in recent years. U.S. exporters credit one factor in particular for boosting the wide availability of American potatoes in Korea: free trade.