Ag Policy Connection Ep. 10 — The future of trade with carbon tariffs, green subsidies, and protectionist politics


Governments in many countries are enacting policies aimed at mitigating climate change — massive subsidies, carbon levies, and strict regulations — that also have consequences on trade flows.

Billions of dollars of incentives in the Inflation Reduction Act in the U.S., the Canadian government’s carbon taxes, and the EU’s biofuel feedstock requirements and carbon border adjustments are just some examples of what these policies look like in action.

Most countries are going in their own direction, as politicians also see opportunities to protect jobs within their country with policies that tilt the playing field toward domestic producers, creating a trade environment that is ripe for disruption and accusations of protectionism.

Since agriculture and food supply chains in Canada and North America are very dependent on trade, what needs to happen to prevent having green policies devolve into a protectionist mess that results in less efficient trade in both economic and environmental terms from a global perspective?

How should sustainability be measured and valued in trade? There are real concerns about losing export markets, but could a focus on carbon intensity or another sustainability metric be an advantage for selling the stuff Canada produces? How will upcoming elections affect trade, especially as Canada, the U.S., and Mexico prepare to review the North American trade deal in less than two years?

These are some of the big questions we explore on this trade-focused episode of the Ag Policy Connection podcast with our expert panel:

  • Steve Verheul, principal with GT and Company, Canada’s former chief trade negotiator and chief agriculture negotiator prior to that; and
  • Tyler McCann, managing director with the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, and former policy advisor to Canada’s agriculture minister during the negotiation of the Canada-EU and CPTPP trade deal negotiations.

Watch our discussion below, or find the episode in the RealAgriculture feed in any podcast app!

The Ag Policy Connection is brought to you by the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute and RealAgriculture.


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