In recent years, there have been increasingly negative comments on trade and globalisation, and diverse recent developments seem to point to a reassessment of bilateral relations. The risk of more protectionism is a serious one. These are developments that go against the grain of the traditional Dutch attitude and ideas about open trade and globalisation.
Utilising trade to solve social issues
The international playing field surrounding the international agrofood trade is subject to large changes. The existing multilateral framework for trade agreements (WTO, GATT) is under pressure and has difficulty accommodating issues such as climate change and healthy nutrition.
Trade is often seen as the cause of non-sustainable production, food shortages and/or decreased employment opportunities in the agricultural sector, although the question remains as to whether this is correct.
In addition to our yearly Agro Debate (page in Dutch), Petra Berkhout, Siemen van Berkum and Ruerd Ruben have written the position paper: ‘From trader to forerunner; Rethinking the international positioning of the Dutch agrofood sector’.
This paper approaches the role of trade in sustainable and climate proof development from the perspective of how trade could contribute to solving social challenges. It then focuses on what this could mean for the trade strategy of the Dutch agrofood sector.