The global lean toward economic protectionism may hurt the crop protection industry, but new and potential trade agreements among countries can limit the damage as the international trading landscape shifts, Jim DeLisi, Chief of Fanwood Chemical Inc. in Fanwood, New Jersey, recently told AgriBusiness Global.
David Xiaoyu — Business Manager of SPM Biosciences Co. Ltd. in Beijing and strategic director of Precision Ag Alliance, a three-company crop protection partnership — agrees that protectionism isn’t ideal but says the crop protection industry is too well-established to suffer long-term harm.
“The positions of different players are very solid,” Xiaoyu says. “China and India are focusing on production. The multinationals are developing new technology and novel molecules. Distributors are providing the service of agronomy. The entrepreneurs will make the right decisions to face protectionism.”
DeLisi and Xiaoyu recently shared their views on international trade and its impact on crop protection with AgriBusiness Global, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to threaten production and supply lines of all industries, and add another, unknown factor to the trade equation.
DeLisi says it’s impossible to understate U.S. President Donald Trump’s impact on international trade, although he acknowledges that Trump’s actions have brought mixed results. For example, Brazil has replaced the U.S. as the world’s largest grower of soybeans, due to U.S. tariffs on Chinese products. On the other hand, makers of active ingredients in other countries besides China have gained because of those same tariffs.
“(Trump) has radically altered the trading relationship with many of our partners, especially China and India, and he has put the ‘fear of God’ into most if not all of our trading relationships, especially the European Union,” DeLisi says.