Presenting at the Canadian Crops Convention, geopolitical expert Janice Gross Stein predicted that the global agricultural industry is facing at least a decade of turbulence as we see a drop in global trade and a rise in protectionism.
Janice is the founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She was recently asked to share her forecasts for the agricultural industry, while also exploring opportunities during a time of enhanced power competition.
Challenges Facing the Agricultural Industry
While she calls herself a long-term optimist, Janice warned her audience of many challenges ahead. The golden age of globalization, where markets functioned with the greatest autonomy, is over, she said. “We are in a new period where the big powers who set the framework will use markets for strategic purposes,” she continued.
We’re seeing great power competition between United States and Russia and the United States and China. All three countries are likely to use access to their markets as a tool in this global competition, Janice said.
“This is no small challenge for all of you in this room,” she said. “Your biggest export market is the US, with 70% of what Canada sells still going into the US.”
With Challenge, Comes Opportunity
To prepare for the turbulent decade ahead, Janice says we have to learn how to “work within that system to take advantage of what it means for us.”
In this case, it means building strong relationships with trade partners. “You show up once, then you show up again, and then you have to show up again,” Janice said. “Showing up is the single most important prerequisite of success.”
This is especially true in the Indo-Pacific region, which is the fastest growing market in the world for exports, Janice said. Canada has already developed a strategy for the region that encompasses 40 economies, more than 4 billion people, and is home to six of Canada’s top 13 trading partners.
“Markets are regionalizing,” Janice said, who was also the co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy. “You are now exporting into regional markets, that’s the mental shift.”
In addition, supporting sectoral councils such as the Canola Council of Canada and the Canada Grains Council, will also need to be prioritized to tackle the challenges ahead, Janice added. “Give them the muscle,” she said, “so they can work to build up expertise on these markets.”
Janice also noted that Canadian products will have to be better and more sustainable to stand out in the global market. “We need to partner with officials in the government because they are there on the ground to make those kinds of arguments and deepen those relationships,” she said.
Both realistic and hopeful, Janice Gross Stein’s dynamic presentations provide a unique perspective into what’s really happening around the world and what it means to her audiences. No matter the industry, she leaves her audiences with a better understanding of current global issues and a clear, compelling vision of the future.
Contact us to learn more about Janice and how to book as a keynote speaker for your next event.