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Cargill CEO: We can't afford to wall ourselves off

February 7, 2017
Food & Drink

Cargill Inc. CEO David MacLennan is warning that protectionist and anti-immigration policies could hurt the company — one of the nation’s largest — by stalling trade and driving away some of its best people.

Bloomberg reports on an essay by MacLennan in the Huffington Post (you can also read his full remarks here), noting that he becomes the latest CEO to push back against President Donald Trump’s immigration ban and moves to scrap international trade deals.

Though McLennan doesn’t mention Trump by name, he calls out legal immigration as a positive force, both for the company and the U.S. economy, and adds that, “The current climate has many of our smartest people from outside the U.S. questioning whether they want to stay here.”

He also speaks up for international trade deals, noting that American agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada have quadrupled to $38.6 billion since the North American Free Trade Agreement was implemented. “We can’t afford to wall ourselves off from these markets,” he said.

Minnetonka-based Cargill’s got a horse in the race, of course. It and other agribusiness giants are among the world’s largest trading companies. But Cargill has traditionally kept out of political debates, so MacLennan speaking out about this sort of thing is generally more surprising than, say, Starbucks’ Howard Schultz doing it.

By Mark Reilly

Source: Biz Journals

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