Publications

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  • 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.

  • Exploring Linkages Among Agriculture, Trade, and the Environment: Issues for the Next Century

    AER-738, May 01, 1996

    Many trade and environment issues will confront agriculture over the next several years. This report provides an economic framework to better understand these issues and discusses prior empirical inquiries and findings. Four primary issues are addressed: (1) how will environmental policies affect agricultural trade?; (2) how will agricultural trade liberalization affect environmental quality?; (3) to what extent should there be international harmonization of environmental policies and product standards?; and (4) is there economic justification for using trade measures to protect the environment? This report demonstrates that basic economic paradigms can provide a basis for understanding how trade and the environment interact. The few empirical studies based on these concepts have found many of the linkages between trade and the environment to be weak or the effects small. Trade and environment issues remain important to monitor, however, because economic and environmental relationships and domestic and international policies are continually evolving, and decisionmakers need good information to confirm or disprove the numerous hypotheses that have surfaced in international discussions.

  • Provisions of the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act of 1996

    AIB-729, September 01, 1996

    This report provides an item-by-item description and explanation of the new Act, which will guide agricultural programs from 1996-2000. Signed into law in April, the act makes significant changes in long-standing U.S. agricultural policies. Major changes in U.S. commodity programs are included in the Act's Title I, known as the Agricultural Market Transition Act.

  • 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.

  • U.S. Export Performance in Agricultural Markets

    TB-1854, February 01, 1997

    This report develops a method, called trade-share accounting (TSA), that establishes the relationship between trade structure and market share. U.S. market shares are commonly used as measures of export performance in international markets and are frequently cited statistics in USDA publications. A drop in the U.S. market share is not necessarily associated with displaced U.S. sales from competing suppliers. Accurate interpretation of change in the agricultural market share requires understanding of the changing structure of world trade.

  • The Impact of China and Taiwan Joining the World Trade Organization on U.S. and World Agricultural Trade: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis

    TB-1858, May 01, 1997

    This report quantifies the potential impact of China's and Taiwan's accession to the World Trade Organization on U.S. and world agricultural trade by means of a 12-region, 14-sector computable general equilibrium model for world trade and production. Integrating China and Taiwan into the global trading system could increase total world exports by as much as $78 billion (1992 constant prices), total world imports by $94 billion, and world real consumption by $45 billion annually, as well as induce more competition on labor-intensive products and reduce their prices.

  • The Food and Fiber System: Contributing to the U.S. and World Economies

    AIB-742, August 03, 1998

    Even though farming accounts for only about 1 percent of the total national workforce, it is at the core of the food and fiber system. The system is one of the largest sectors in the U.S. economy, and is comprised of industries related to farming, including feed, seed, fertilizer, machinery, food processing, manufacturing, and exporting. The interrelationships among the sectors of the food and fiber system and the U.S. and world economies are many and complex. As a result, U.S. and world policies and economic factors--such as interest and inflation rates--play a critical role in everything from the cost and availability of farm credit to the demand for farm products at home and abroad. The farm crisis of the 1980's illustrates how specific economic events can impact the food and fiber system. In addition, long-term changes in the system have occurred in response to shifts in consumer incomes, demographics, lifestyles, and perceptions of health and diet.

  • Regional Trade Agreements and U.S. Agriculture: An Overview

    AIB-745, October 01, 1998

    Please also see Regional Trade Agreements and U.S. Agriculture. This report summarizes the implications of regionalism for the United States, focusing on the effects of major RTA's on U.S. agriculture. Regional trade agreements (RTA's) have become a fixture in the global trade arena. Their advocates contend that RTA's can serve as building blocks for multilateral trade liberalization. Their opponents argue that these trade pacts will divert trade from more efficient nonmember producing countries. U.S. agriculture can benefit from participating in RTA's and may lose when it does not. Agriculture is the source of most potential U.S. gains from RTA's.

  • Regional Trade Agreements and U.S. Agriculture

    AER-771, November 02, 1998

    Regional trade agreements (RTA's) have become a fixture in the global trade arena. Their advocates contend that RTA's can serve as building blocks for multilateral trade liberalization. Their opponents argue that these trade pacts will divert trade from more efficient nonmember producing countries. U.S. agriculture can benefit from participating in RTA's and may lose when it does not. Agriculture is the source of most potential U.S. gains from RTA's. While the United States, as a global trader with diverse trade partners, can gain potentially more from global free trade than from RTA's, many recent RTA's have been more comprehensive in their liberalization of agricultural trade than the Uruguay Round. A strong multilateral process can help ensure that RTA's are trade creating, rather than protectionist. (Please also see Regional Trade Agreements and U.S. Agriculture: An Overview).

  • Technological Changes in the Transportation Sector--Effects on U.S. Food and Agricultural Trade: A Proceedings

    MP-1566, October 30, 2000

    ERS sponsored a workshop, Technological and Structural Change in the Transportation Sector: Effects on U.S. Food and Agricultural Trade, March 17-18, 1999, in Washington, DC. The program's objectives were to raise awareness within ERS about the role and importance of transportation in U.S. food and agricultural trade and to discuss the need of an agency research agenda in this area. More than 60 people attended. Bob Thompson of the World Bank and Jeffrey Frankel of the Brookings Institution led with discussions about the role of transportation in the global food system and the importance of integrating geography and transportation in analysis of international trade. Other panels dealt with transportation technology, past and future, the changing policy environment for ocean shipping, logistical and technological developments aiding exports of specific commodities, including the use of supply chain management. Representatives of the Agricultural Marketing Service discussed the availability of transportation cost data, and the availability of other shipping data was discussed by representatives of the PIERS database, a product of the Journal of Commerce. Two ERS research projects were summarized, one using GTAP and another applying the gravity model to estimate the extent to which distance is less of an inhibiting factor in exporting certain U.S. agricultural exports. The administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service, the ERS associate administrator, and representatives of the Transportation Research Board, the USDA's World Board, and the Farm Foundation discussed potential ways ERS could include the transportation variable in its research. The program was cosponsored by the Farm Foundation and World Perspectives, Inc.

  • Sanitary Concerns Restrict U.S.-Mexico Poultry Trade

    Amber Waves, February 03, 2003

    Trade in livestock and meat can be influenced by differences in animal health and sanitary regulations among trade partners. The recent elimination of poultry tariffs between the U.S. and Mexico through the NAFTA highlights the potential impact of such differences.

  • Nontraditional Exporters Increase Role In Wheat Market

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2003

    Though the volume of world wheat trade has changed little in the past 15 years, shares of trade volume in exporting countries have changed quite a bit. The U.S. remains the largest exporter, but U.S. farmers are increasingly producing other crops, like corn and soybeans, so the U.S. share of the wheat market has fallen from 40 percent in the 1970s to 23 percent (forecast) for 2002/03. This shift in U.S. agricultural production, combined with rising prices caused by drought in three of the largest exporters—U.S., Australia, and Canada—has created opportunities for “nontraditional” wheat exporters.

  • Food Safety and Trade: Regulations, Risks, and Reconciliation

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    Global food trade is expanding, providing consumers with access to a wider year-round variety of foods at lower prices. Trade expansion, however, has brought into sharper focus the divergence among countries’ food safety regulations and standards.

  • A Richer World Wants a Richer Diet

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2003

    A number of forces, such as income, urbanization and population growth, are changing the way the world eats. Of these forces, income—both its level and growth—has had the greatest effect.

  • The U.S. Trade Balance. . . More Than Just A Number

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2004

    U.S. agricultural imports may soon exceed exports, giving the U.S. a trade deficit for the first time since 1959. Although exports continue to rise, importing are increasing at nearly twice the pace. US consumers are buying horticultural products-vegetables, fruits, juices, nuts, and cut flowers-and cheese, bakery products, pasta, candy, vegetable oils, wine, beer, coffee. Many of these products are not commonly available, are grown off-season to US production, or are more cheaply produced overseas.

  • In the Long Run

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2004

    Indicators: In the Long Run - February 2004

  • U.S.-EU Food and Agriculture Comparisons

    WRS-0404, February 27, 2004

    This report provides information and analysis on a wide range of topics relating to agriculture in the United States and European Union (EU), including comparisons of farm structure, production, agricultural productivity, risk management, environmental, commodity policy, trade, and food consumption, as well as implications of EU enlargement for bilateral relations. The purpose is to provide information to a broad audience seeking to understand key similarities and differences between two of the world's largest agricultural producers and traders and to gain perspective on the issues affecting US-EU relations.

  • Processed Products Propel Gains in U.S. Agricultural Exports

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    Processed high-value products (HVPs) accounted for most of the growth in U.S. agricultural exports between 1976 and 2002. In 2000 and 2001, exports of processed HVPs alone surpassed bulk agricultural exports to become the largest category of U.S. agricultural exports.

  • U.S. Seafood Market Shifts to Aquaculture

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    Aquaculture is growing rapidly in many countries, including the United States. The estimated value of U.S. production in 2001 was $935 million. Aquaculture also accounts for a growing share of U.S. seafood consumption.

  • Mandatory Country-of-Origin Labeling--Will It Benefit Consumers?

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    Proponents of country-of-origin food labels claim such labels would benefit consumers who are concerned about food safety, who wish to support U.S. producers, or who believe that U.S. foods are of higher quality than imports. Others argue that mandatory labeling will merely raise costs and bring few benefits.