Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer spoke Tuesday at the AgExecutive Forum hosted by the Association of Equipment Manufacturers in St. Louis, Mo. One of the themes of this year's forum is globalization.
Schafer said that when the group's leaders had chosen globalization as the theme, they had no idea how "spot on target" it would be, although the globalization they had in mind at the time was the globalization of agricultural markets that has created new opportunities in areas that would have seemed impossible a few years ago.
"Now the rollercoaster ride of the financial markets over the past few weeks has shown us another side of globalization," Schafer said. "Technology and trade utilization has indeed made our world flatter and has also made the world's financial and credit markets more interdependent than ever before. That has changed the risks and the realities of doing business in every industry. In real time we can see just how connected the world's financial markets and how quickly a problem in one market can spread to others around the world."
While no one knows when the present crisis will ease, but Schafer says he believes there are some positive signs on the horizon.
Schafer went on to talk about trade and exports and also the Doha Round of World Trade Organization global trade talks.
"The lead ag negotiator at Doha is Joe Gluaber, USDA's chief economist. He tells me we are getting close to solving most of the agriculture issues in the Doha Round," Schafer said. "I am optimistic that something can be done and an overarching agreement can be reached."