“Wait and see.” It’s a frustrating phrase we’ve heard often over the past year, whether regarding the COVID-19 pandemic or the U.S. presidential election and its impact on trade. But while there are some aspects about those issues where we can only wait and see, falling into the trap of doing nothing but waiting can be costly.
We’ve all heard about “pivots” companies made once the pandemic hit, things such as expanding product lines to pandemic-demand items, reaching out to new types of customers, trimming product offerings to focus on the most-profitable or most-in-current-demand ones, etc. Most of these moves weren’t growth strategies; they were survival strategies – moves identified as possible for a particular company and then carried out.
USE YOUR VOICE
Trade issues should be handled in a similar manner. The food import industry directly and indirectly is responsible for or plays a part in millions of jobs throughout the country. It’s a huge mistake for those in the industry to assume their voices don’t matter. The industry needs individual voices as well as a collective voice.
For example, at this very moment, members of Congress and the Biden Administration need to hear about how Congress’ failure to renew GSP and to pass the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill are impacting importers, their customers and consumers. The same message needs to be heard regarding the impact of the punitive tariffs on products from the European Union and China.
CALL YOUR CONGRESS MEMBERS
We can’t “wait and see.” And we can be proactive without spending even one cent on lobbying. If any of the issues I listed impact you, a quick call or email to your members of Congress can go a long way. If they don’t hear from members of the food import trade, they may not realize a problem exists or they may think the industry doesn’t view an issue as a problem.
I’ve been told by a number of people over the years that many times the deciding factor in a member of Congress agreeing to support or oppose a particular issue is the size of the “piles of input." If more people have reached out in favor of an issue, it wins. If more oppose, the vote will be cast against.
AFI won’t wait and see. We’re continuing our outreach and I encourage you to do the same.