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How the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Demonstrate the Importance of Ag Trade

Posted by Jason Hafemeister, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs in Trade
Jul 22, 2021
Tokyo Olympics image

Beginning July 23, all eyes will be on Japan as it hosts the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. For me, this summer’s Olympics is the perfect blend of things that I’m passionate about – there’s cycling, there’s an international governing body that oversees the games, and there’s fellowship between the United States and Japan.

You may ask, “What does any of this have to do with the USDA?” Well, as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, it occurred to me that the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is the perfect analogy to illustrate the importance of institutions that support agricultural trade.

Let’s start with cycling. Just like the wheels on a bike that spin around, agriculture trade flows around the world. In order for a bike to operate smoothly, the two wheels must work together and in sync, or the bike will come to a halt or even worse crash and potentially cause damage. The same concepts apply to bilateral trade agreements. In order for an agreement to be successful, the two countries must work together and be in sync on the terms of the agreement. Without cohesiveness, just like a bike, agricultural trade could come to halt and potentially cause damage, from restricting imports and limiting a food supply, to causing commercial disruptions, and economic downturn. So, whenever you wonder why agricultural trade and trade agreements are important, think of the Olympic cyclists racing on their course, how they have invested in their training and the most efficient technology, and how important it is for their wheels to work in sync.

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Be sure to follow USDA social media for posts throughout the 2020 Tokyo Olympics about the U.S. foods and ingredients that are helping propel Team USA to victory in Japan.

Category/Topic: Trade