Publications

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  • A Framework for Analyzing Technical Trade Barriers in Agricultural Markets

    TB-1876, March 01, 1999

    Technical trade barriers are increasingly important in the international trade of agricultural products. Designing technical trade measures that can satisfy the growing demand for food safety, product differentiation, environmental amenities, and product information at the lowest cost to the consumer and to the international trading system requires an understanding of the complex economics of regulatory import barriers. This report proposes a definition and classification scheme to frame discussion and evaluation of such measures. Open-economy models that complement the classification scheme are developed graphically to highlight the basic elements that affect the economic impacts of changes in technical trade barriers.

  • A Historic Enlargement: Ten Countries Prepare To Join the European Union

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    In May 2004, eight Central and Eastern European countries (Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), plus Cyprus and Malta, will join the European Union (EU). This enlargement of the EU, the largest in its history, will bring profound changes.

  • A New Outlook for the U.S.-Mexico Sugar and Sweetener Market

    SSSM-335-01, August 11, 2016

    ERS examines the U.S. trade remedy investigations on sugar imports from Mexico and considers how the recent "suspension agreement" restrictions on these imports change the outlook for the integrated U.S.-Mexico sweetener market.

  • A Revised and Expanded Food Dollar Series: A Better Understanding of Our Food Costs

    ERR-114, February 24, 2011

    A new and expanded ERS food dollar series provides a more detailed answer to the question of where our food dollars go (e.g., the farm share and the share among the various supply chain industry groups)

  • A Short History of U.S. Agricultural Trade Negotiations

    AGES-8923, August 01, 1989

    The U.S. proposal to eliminate domestic farm subsidies worldwide, presented to the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations in 1987, is a significant break with past policies. Trade liberalization has been a U.S. goal since the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act of 1934, but, until recently, the United States and many other nations have acted to preserve their own farm subsidies. In the 1980s, slower growth in international farm trade, the threat of trade wars, and higher subsidy costs have led to a reassessment of domestic as well as export subsidies and have created a climate favorable to eliminating subsidies.

  • APEC Agriculture and Trade: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Region Buying More U.S. Consumer-Ready Food Products

    AER-734, September 11, 1996

    In fiscal 1995, more than 60 percent of U.S. farm exports, worth a record $33 billion, went to Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum members. Bulk exports showed the most dramatic growth, benefiting greatly from China's conversion from a net grain exporter into a major net importer. Chinese imports are projected to increase further over the long term. Continued trade liberalization throughout APEC, rapid economic growth in its developing economies, and limited arable land in China and East Asia will ensure continued growth in U.S. farm exports to APEC markets-especially meat for East Asia and grains for China and Southeast Asia.

  • Afghanistan's Wheat Flour Market: Policies and Prospects

    WHS-13I-01, October 23, 2013

    Afghanistan's milling industry has been slow to rebuild, due to highly variable domestic wheat supplies and competition from imported flour, largely from Pakistan where wheat producers and flour millers receive Government support.

  • Agricultural Baseline Projections to 2005, Reflecting the 1996 Farm Act

    WAOB-971, April 23, 1997

    This report provides long-run baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2005 that incorporate provisions of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996 (1996 Farm Act). The baseline assumes that the new farm legislation remains in effect through 2005. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices. Generally favorable global economic growth is projected in the baseline which, combined with liberalized trade associated with both the GATT agreement and unilateral policy reforms, supports strong growth in global trade and U.S. agricultural exports. Greater market orientation in the domestic agricultural sector under the 1996 Farm Act puts U.S. farmers in a favorable position for competing in the global marketplace. A tightening of the balance between productive capacity and demands results in rising nominal market prices, increasing farm income, and stability in the financial condition of the agricultural sector. However, management of risk will be important for farmers. With the reduced role of the Government in the sector under the 1996 Farm Act, farmers in general face greater risk of income volatility due to price variation, reflecting market price variability more directly. Consumer food prices are projected to continue a long term trend of rising less than the general inflation rate. The baseline projections presented are one representative scenario for the agricultural sector through the middle of the next decade, assuming no shocks and based on specific assumptions regarding macroeconomic conditions, policy, weather, and international developments. As such, the baseline provides a point of departure for discussion of alternative farm sector outcomes that could result under different assumptions. The projections in this report were prepared in October through December 1996, reflecting a composite of model results and judgmental analysis.

  • Agricultural Export Programs: Background for 1995 Farm Legislation

    AER-716, June 01, 1995

    Since 1985, the United States has heavily supported agricultural exports with an array of programs. A central issue related to those programs is how best to support farm exports, and farm income, with lower price subsidies under the Uruguay Round Agreement of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and with U.S. budget constraints.

  • Agricultural Policy Reform in the WTO--The Road Ahead

    AER-802, May 15, 2001

    Agricultural trade barriers and producer subsidies inflict real costs, both on the countries that use these policies and on their trade partners. This report quantifies the costs of global agricultural distortions and the potential benefits of their full elimination. The report concludes that eliminating global agricultural policy distortions would result in an annual world welfare gain of $56 billion. The report also analyzes the effects on U.S. and world agriculture if only partial reform is achieved in liberalizing tariffs, tariff-rate quotas (limits on imported goods), domestic support, and export subsidies.

  • Agriculture in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

    ERR-176, October 28, 2014

    The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership is expected to increase the value of intraregional agricultural trade by about 6 percent in 2025, and increase U.S. agricultural exports to the region by 5 percent, compared with the baseline.

  • Agriculture in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership: Tariffs, Tariff-Rate Quotas, and Non-Tariff Measures

    ERR-198, November 10, 2015

    Model results under three possible scenarios suggest the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union could lead to higher ag exports for both, particularly for the United States.

  • Alternative Policies to Agricultural Export Taxes That Are Less Market Distorting

    ERR-187, June 09, 2015

    ERS examines effects of alternative policies to conventional export taxes on countries' domestic and trade markets for agricultural products -- policies that are less market distorting and less welfare diminishing.

  • An Economic Chronology of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in North America

    LDPM-14301, June 09, 2006

    The first confirmed cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in Canada and the United States had significant effects on trade and prices of U.S. cattle and beef. However, these incidents occurred during a period of low U.S. beef supplies, near-record beef prices, and strong domestic demand for beef that was largely unshaken by the BSE announcement. Also, U.S. reliance on beef and cattle exports, roughly 10 percent of production, was not so great as to cause burdensome increases in domestic supplies. Increased regulations, however, imposed additional costs on beef production and processing sectors.

  • Animal Products Markets in 2005 and Forecasts for 2006

    LDPM-14601, September 08, 2006

    Uncertainty continues to shape the forecasts for animal products markets in 2006. Potential and actual animal disease outbreaks, consumer sensitivities, volatile exchange rates, and growing competition from producers in other countries cloud U.S. trade prospects for major meats. Loss of U.S. trade market share, partly caused by disease outbreaks and related trade restrictions that have affected animal product exports since 2003, compounds the problem. The outlook for U.S. meat, poultry, and dairy markets in 2006 depends on how well domestic production adjusts to changes in input costs, the effect of exchange rates on trade, the continuing effects of disease and trade restrictions on exports, and the increasing competitiveness of emerging animal products exporters.

  • Are U.S. And EU Agricultural Policies Becoming More Similar?

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2003

    Throughout much of the post-World War II period, agricultural policy in the U.S. and European Union (EU) has focused on supporting farm income primarily through price supports. Both countries supported commodity prices through purchase and storage of surplus commodities. The U.S. relied more on producer loans secured by commodities and acreage controls, while the EU relied more on export subsidies to dispose of surpluses. Both the U.S. and the EU have significantly changed their commodity policies in the past decade. While their policies have evolved in similar directions in some respects, important differences remain.

  • Bacterial Foodborne Disease: Medical Costs and Productivity Losses

    AER-741, August 01, 1996

    Microbial pathogens in food cause an estimated 6.5-33 million cases of human illness and up to 9,000 deaths in the United States each year. Over 40 different foodborne microbial pathogens, including fungi, viruses, parasites, and bacteria, are believed to cause human illnesses. For six bacterial pathogens, the costs of human illness are estimated to be $9.3-$12.9 billion annually. Of these costs, $2.9-$6.7 billion are attributed to foodborne bacteria. These estimates were developed to provide analytical support for USDA's Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) systems rule for meat and poultry. (Note that the parasite Toxoplasma gondii is not included in this report.) To estimate medical costs and productivity losses, ERS uses four severity categories for acute illnesses: those who did not visit a physician, visited a physician, were hospitalized, or died prematurely. The lifetime consequences of chronic disease are included in the cost estimates for E. coli O157:H7 and fetal listeriosis.

  • CAP Reform of 2003-04

    WRS-0407, August 25, 2004

    The European Union continued to reform its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2003-04, building on the reforms of 1992 and 1999. The centerpiece of the latest reforms is the introduction of a single farm payment (SFP), which is paid to EU farmers based on historical payments unrelated to current production decisions. These recent reforms allow the EU to assume an aggressive position in World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations on agriculture, while allowing farmers to make production decisions based more on market signals than on EU policy interventions.

  • California and Iowa Remain Top U.S. Agricultural Exporting States in Fiscal 2005

    FAU-11401, June 30, 2006

    U.S. agricultural exports reached a new record in fiscal 2005 at $62.4 billion, but only $1 million higher than the record set in fiscal 2004. While California and Iowa continued their reign as top exporting states, Texas regained its third place position ahead of Illinois; Indiana moved back into the top 10. Iowa moved ahead of Illinois in soybean exports; California continued to dominate vegetables, fruits, tree nuts, seeds, and dairy.

  • Changing Crop Area in the Former Soviet Union Region

    FDS-17B-01, February 21, 2017

    Total crop area fell substantially in Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan during the 1990's. Though area has rebounded somewhat in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, it is still far below the levels of the late Soviet period in Russia and Kazakhstan.