Major trade role in call for economic action

by Josh Sosland
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The current U.S. economic recovery is one of the longest in the nation’s history and stands out as an outlier when measured against the performance of most other developed and emerging nations. Still, the recovery has been characterized as weak, reflecting growing income disparity, shrinking workforce participation and lower than hoped for growth rates.

Economic challenges, in the United States and globally, were addressed last week in a joint statement by German chancellor Angela Merkel and the heads of groups such as the World Trade Organization and the International Monetary Fund. They urged “decisive action and a new policy mix” to boost growth. Elements of the recommendations included efforts to “promote decent work and inclusive growth.”

Factoring large in the guidance was the continued role of trade. The groups rightly identified trade as “an important driver of global growth, development and employment.” Given the increasing challenge during the last several years of sustaining global progress at desired rates, every lever for achieving such gains must be fully utilized. At the forefront of current trade negotiations are steps aimed at abolishing export subsidies in the agricultural sector. In this year’s election season, the politics of trade have become dicier than ever. From almost every angle, grain-based foods has much at stake in the pursuit of policies recognizing the value of robust free trade.

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