Gabriel Carballal attended the Global Farmer Roundtable in 2012 and farms in Uruguay. The South American nation sits along Atlantic Ocean and shares borders with Brazil to the north and Argentina to the west and south. Like its two neighbors, the nation’s agriculture is quite productive and Gabriel shares his responses to a few questions about how important trade is for his farm and nation.

*L’anglais est une langue seconde pour la plupart des membres de la GFN et réponses peuvent être légèrement modifié pour plus de clarté.

Question: Le dictionnaire définit le commerce en tant que « substantif » et un « verbe » – les deux définitions décrivent l’action de la vente de biens et services. Quelle est l’importance commerciale- et la possibilité d’accéder aux marchés- pour votre exploitation agricole?

Gabriel Carballal, GFN member from Uruguay.

Réponse: I’m a farmer who lives in Uruguay, a South American country with a population of only 3.5 million inhabitants. All we produce (blé, orge, soja, maïs, bétail, etc.) ends with surplus. So trade and ability to access markets is essential to our operation. A free, clean and agile market is basic for our farming operation.

Question: Quand on parle de commerce, l’accent est souvent mis sur la capacité de vendre des produits et services (exportations). Commerce couvre également ce que nous achetons. Quelle importance il la possibilité d’acheter des biens et services pour votre batterie de serveurs (les importations)? Par exemple, Quels sont les éléments dont vous achetez des produits locaux et/ou importez qui sont nécessaires à votre exploitation agricole rentable?

Réponse: That’s correct. Inputs and local costs are really affected by trade defects. In my country the government tends to affect imports with several taxes and that affect my costs, sometimes to turn a profitable business to an unprofitable one. Our main problem are those goods fully controlled by our government like energy and fuel (government monopoly) which are used for transferring “wealth” from the rural to the urbanized areas. Que, plus big import taxes we have (jusqu'à 100% of the original value) are jeopardizing our operations.

As the soy field above and this picture show, the Carballal farm might be confused with one in the U.S. Midwest.

Question: À votre avis, Quelle sont l’importance des accords commerciaux pour votre exploitation agricole? À votre communauté. Dans votre pays?

Réponse: I believe trade agreements are fundamental, not only for our farm but for the entire country. It’s a demonstration of intelligence and evolution. There are numbers that shows how much money decants in actual commerce. It is said that less than 5% of the final price of any product goes to the farmer, to the originator. So any trade agreement that eases transactions and makes a flatter world must be a priority.

Roads, like this one in Uruguay, are crucial for efficietly transporting ag products.

Question: Quel type d’infrastructure est nécessaire pour déplacer efficacement produits dans et hors de votre exploitation agricole?

Réponse: Fondamentalement, logistics infrastructure. Routes, routes, ports. Transportation costs are huge here in Uruguay. 3 À 8 times our neighbor’s. With those numbers, profit moves away. Taxation is also a wealth kidnap. But this times forces us to compete in a global world with local costs and infrastructure. Malheureusement, rural efficiency is not the main concern right now.

Question: Nous parlons beaucoup de tarifs douaniers et le commerce des guerres partout dans le monde dès maintenant. Y a-t-il d’autres obstacles au commerce (barrières non tarifaires) qui ont un impact sur votre exploitation agricole qui vous intéressent?

Réponse: Bien sûr. Labeling is a perfect demonstration. That impacts our business clearly, a wealth custom where money disappears with almost no return.

World commerce is tricky and absorbing but also interesting. Non-tariff barriers are usual and we have to deal with all the time. Misinformation, misleading, lying, those are all types of “confusing” trade. Increasing each and every day…

Question: En une ou deux phrases, Quel message souhaitez-vous envoyer des négociateurs commerciaux de votre pays / dirigeants politiques au sujet de l’importance et l’impact du commerce accès ou obstacles sur votre exploitation agricole et l’ensemble de la communauté?

Réponse: Everything that make markets “dirtier” cuts wealth from all the commerce chain. That’s a lose-lose strategy. Be sure that each $ earned multiplies vastly. It’s not necessary to harvest that $ earlier. Actual price situation is a demonstration of what happens in an artificially manipulated market…