The Global Landscape of Agricultural Trade, 1995-2014

Global agricultural trade, about $1 trillion in 2014, has been rising about 3.6 percent per year for the last two decades, facilitated by technological change and productivity gains, as well as trade liberalization. In addition, trade patterns have shifted and trade policy has evolved. The largest importers and exporters of agricultural products are largely unchanged over the last 20 years, but five countries—Brazil, Russia, India, Indonesia, and China—account for much of the increase in trade. The landscape of policies affecting trade is increasingly complex, and agricultural trade is facing obstacles that may restrict future growth. Despite trade rules such as in the World Trade Organization, countries impose trade barriers. High tariffs are permitted for many products in many countries. Rising domestic support in some countries could undermine a level playing field for agricultural trade. Moreover, sanitary and phytosanitary barriers and other technical barriers to trade are growing, with disagreements about the scientific basis for rejecting products becoming particularly contentious. This report surveys 20 years (1995-2014) of trends in world agricultural trade (1995-2016 for some measures of U.S. agricultural trade) and summarizes key policy issues that will confront decision makers and shape agricultural trade in the coming years.

Issue Date:
Nov 13 2017
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Series Statement:
Economic Information Bulletin Number 181

 Record created 2017-11-20, last modified 2020-10-28

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