Buffalo Niagara is 'most trade-dependent crossroads in the world,' says global trade expert
A longtime Washington lobbyist and experienced voice in the international business community says there is no better time to talk about trade. That is exactly what Bill Lane did, as he gave the keynote address at Wednesday’s World Trade Celebration at Buffalo Riverworks.
Lane is the former Global Director of Government Affairs for Caterpillar and former president of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition. He says his more than 30 years as a lobbyist has offered him a unique vantage point on trade.
"Trade is always confrontational, always controversial, and it’s something that you can’t just put on the sidelines and think that you’ll garner support," he said. "It’s something you have to constantly talk about. It’s something you have to focus on, and the second you take it for granted is the day folks will quickly embrace protectionist policies.”
Although Lane offered perspectives and insight on the challenges being seen in global markets, he says success is not about what he has to say or what political candidates decide to do. Instead, he says the key is what the business community does to take action.
With Britain deciding whether or not to remain in the European Union and global trade constantly being discussed by presidential candidates, Lane says business leaders need to step up and influence the conversation.
“The business leaders have a role to play. They know how trade impacts their business and their future, and it’s important for them to talk to their stakeholders, whether its employees, whether it’s suppliers, whether it’s their communities,” Lane said.
Lane also noted that the Buffalo Niagara region is “one of the most trade-dependent crossroads in the world.”