Policy Backgrounder Aims To Simply Explain Complex Policy Tools

Can you explain an anti-dumping case over a conversation at the coffee shop?

Almost no one can unless they happen to moonlight as an international trade attorney. And yet, these cases – and other complex trade tools – impact the ability of farmers to sell into global markets every day.

The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) recently released a new trade policy “backgrounder” on trade tools and trade hot topics to offer plain-language explanations of issues like anti-dumping and countervailing duties (AD/CVD) cases, special safeguard tariffs, currency manipulation and trade policy’s interaction with labor and environmental policy.

The goal of this document – the second in an irregular series – is to help farmers and others in the grains sector feel more confident in their understandings of these essential trade topics.

“Most people working in agriculture are really engaged in developments occurring in trade policy and international markets, which is wonderful,” said Melissa Kessler, the Council’s director of strategic initiatives and engagement, who leads the organization’s trade education work. “The problem is that the structures and systems of trade policy are often head scratchers, even for people who have worked with them regularly. Our backgrounders help to fill that gap.”

The new guide is divided into four sections:
– Overview on Trade Tools and Trade Policy
– Trade Tools: Resources Used by Governments to Help Level the Playing Field
– Trade Policy: Evolving Topics Affecting Trade Policy and Trade Operations
– How Politics Impact the Use of Trade Tools and Trade Policy.

The document was developed with the expertise of TradeMoves, a policy consulting firm.

A first trade backgrounder, produced by USGC and the National Corn Growers Association with Andrea Durkin, a former trade negotiator, was published in 2019, focusing on the system of policy agreements in the United States and globally.

As an international market development organization, the Council seeks to marry policy development and mitigation with direct work to help remove overseas customers’ barriers to buying U.S. products. This includes helping stakeholders learn about the complexities of trade and how they impact sales and profitably.

“One goal of our trade education efforts is to create ‘trade-educated news consumers,’” Kessler said. “We all benefit when more and more of our members and partners can have informed, robust and even challenging conversations about trade policy. Information like that in these backgrounders helps make that possible.”

The Council’s Learn About Trade website page offers access to the backgrounders and information on a variety of trade 101 topics as well as current issues. Visit www.grains.org/learn-about-trade to learn more.

View the 2021 Trade Policy Backgrounder.