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International Markets & Trade

  • Statistic

    New International Evidence on Food Consumption Patterns: A Focus on Cross-Price Effects Based on 2005 International Comparison Program Data

    Cross-price elasticities quantify potential shifts in consumer demand in response to changes in both food and nonfood prices. The elasticites are estimated from 2005 data for 144 countries and cover nine consumption categories.
  • Feature

    What Can State-Level Reforms Tell Us About India’s National Food Security Act?

    India passed the National Food Security Act in 2013 to implement reforms in the distribution of subsidized food modeled after reforms made earlier in the State of Chhattisgarh. There have been significant gains in food security in Chhattisgarh, but impacts at the national level are uncertain.
  • Finding

    Stronger Canadian Dollar Puts Pressure on Canada’s Pork Industry

    The appreciation of the Canadian currency against the U.S. dollar has put pressure on Canadian slaughterhouses and hog finishing operations. With the closure of two major Canadian slaughterhouses and rising feed costs, Canada has been exporting a growing number of feeder pigs to the U.S.
  • Finding

    Flour Imports Help Afghanistan Meet Its Growing Food Needs

    Afghanistan is among the world’s largest importers of flour, averaging 1.6 million metric tons in recent years. Although flour production in Afghanistan increased rapidly in the post-2000 period, it could not keep pace with rising domestic demand spurred by strong economic growth and a rapidly expanding population that depends on flour for over half of its caloric intake.
  • Feature

    U.S. Exports Surge as China Supports Agricultural Prices

    As Chinese officials expanded support for agriculture, they began to rely on raising price supports to maintain net returns to farmers. China became the largest market for U.S. agricultural exports as its rising prices eroded the relative competitiveness of Chinese commodities.
  • Feature

    Developing Countries Dominate World Demand for Agricultural Products

    According to USDA’s baseline projections, developing country demand for agricultural products is expected to increase faster than their production in 2013-22. Thus, these countries will account for 92 percent of the total increase in world meat imports, 92 percent of the increase in world grains and oilseeds imports, and nearly all of the increase in world cotton imports.
  • Finding

    China’s Agricultural Productivity Growth: Strong But Uneven

    The rapid growth in China’s agricultural productivity over the past few decades may not have been sustained in recent years. Annual total factor productivity growth peaked during 1996-2000 at 5.1 percent before slowing to 3.2 percent in 2000-2005. It then declined by 3.7 percent per year in 2005-07. The significance of this slowdown remains unclear.
  • Feature

    Crop Outlook Reflects Near-Term Prices and Longer Term Market Trends

    Initial indications suggest continued expansion of U.S. corn and soybean acres at the expense of rice and cotton. Factors behind the acreage shift include growing U.S. ethanol production, rising demand in China for U.S. soybeans, and new competition for U.S. wheat from Black Sea wheat exporters.
  • Finding

    Why Do Indian Mangoes Cost So Much?

    Many attribute the high prices of Indian mangoes in the U.S. to the costs of meeting health and food safety requirements for imports. ERS analysis, however, finds that shipping and wholesale markups are in fact the biggest factor behind the high prices.
  • Feature

    Research Raises Agricultural Productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Agricultural productivity in Sub-Saharan Africa has been rising gradually since the 1980s. Agricultural research has spurred adoption of new technologies and has been a major driver of higher productivity in Sub-Saharan African agriculture. Despite these gains, productivity growth in the region remains well below that of other developing countries.
  • Feature

    Free-Trade Agreements: New Trade Opportunities for Horticulture

    The U.S has embarked on negotiations to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership and a comprehensive trans-Atlantic agreement with the EU that will liberalize and promote trade. The U.S. horticulture industry has an interest in the outcome of both negotiations, as fruit and vegetable trade continues to be influenced by a range of trade-distorting policies.
  • Finding

    China’s Cotton Policies To Lower Domestic Consumption and Imports

    Policy changes have severely constrained the profitability of cotton spinning in China and are expected to lower China’s cotton consumption and import demand, while boosting imports and mill use by other countries.
  • Feature

    Southeast Asia Projected To Remain Top Rice Exporter

    Southeast Asia's rice surplus of exports over imports has grown steadily over the past decade. Despite slower production growth in the region, USDA projects that the surplus will remain large over the next decade because rice consumption in Southeast Asia is expected to increase at a slower rate.
  • Finding

    A Market for U.S. Distillers Dried Grains Emerges in China

    China has become a key importer of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS), the main co-product from ethanol production. About a fourth of U.S. DDGS output is exported, and China accounted for nearly 20 percent of those exports in 2010/11.
  • Finding

    Mexico Emerges as an Exporter of Beef to the United States

    Mexico has historically been a top export market for U.S. beef, but in 2003, it emerged as an important source of beef imports for the United States. U.S. beef imports from Mexico at least doubled in 2010 and 2011.
  • Finding

    Brazil’s Agricultural Productivity Growth Spurred by Research

    Over the last 25 years, Brazil emerged as a major agricultural producer and exporter, with agricultural production rising 77 percent between 1985 and 2006. Government investments in infrastructure and agricultural research, led to increases in agricultural productivity and expansion of cultivated area.
  • Feature

    New Evidence Points to Robust But Uneven Productivity Growth in Global Agriculture

    Total factor productivity in agriculture is showing rapid growth at the global level led by improved performance in China and Brazil, although the global rate of growth in harvested yield for major grains and oilseeds has slowed. Agricultural productivity growth may be slowing in some countries and regions and remains very low in food-insecure Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Feature

    Long-Term Prospects for Agriculture Reflect Growing Demand for Food, Fiber, and Fuel

    Growing food demand in developing countries, rising biofuel demand, and slowing agricultural productivity gains have put upward pressure on farm-commodity prices over the past decade. According to USDA’s annual baseline projections, these and other factors will continue to influence prospects for U.S. and world agriculture over the next decade.
  • Finding

    How Much U.S. Meat Comes From Foreign Sources?

    While it is relatively easy to track the amount of meat and the number of livestock imported by the U.S., it is more difficult to estimate the amount of meat produced in the U.S. from animals originating abroad. ERS estimates show the share of domestic meat production attributed to foreign-born animals is significant and trending upward.
  • Statistic

    Middle-Income Countries Drive U.S. Agricultural Trade

    In 2011, the U.S. shipped nearly half of its total agricultural exports to upper middle-income countries. Steadily rising incomes, population growth, and increased urbanization have helped position these countries as important and destinations for U.S. goods.
  • Finding

    Potential Developing Country Agricultural Safeguards in Cereal Grains Markets

    If approved, the special safeguard mechanism (SSM) is expected to increase domestic commodity prices in the developing countries where the policy is implemented. The SSM is also expected to increase the volatility of world commodity prices if the measure is widely used by developing countries.
  • Feature

    Immigration Policy and Its Possible Effects on U.S. Agriculture

    Policymakers are considering changes to U.S. immigration law that would affect the market for hired farm labor--including mandatory use of an Internet-based employment eligibility verification system and an expanded guestworker program for nonimmigrant, foreign-born agricultural workers.
  • Finding

    China’s Hog Cycle Boosts U.S. Pork Exports

    High pork prices in the Chinese market have created opportunities for the U.S. pork industy. However, U.S. pork sales to China have not risen at a steady rate.They tend to rise and fall in rhythm with cyclical changes in China's hog sector.
  • Feature

    The NAFTA Countries Build on Free Trade

    The NAFTA governments are seeking more open trading relationships with non-NAFTA countries, such as China, Colombia, Panama, Japan, and South Korea, as well as increased commerce within the North American free-trade area.
  • Finding

    U.S. Ethanol Dampens Global Crude Oil Prices

    The U.S. is the world’s largest ethanol producer and currently holds a 57-percent share of global ethanol production. A one-time 5-percent increase in U.S. ethanol use will lower the crude oil price by an estimated 8 cents per barrel over 12 months.
  • Finding

    Market Potential for U.S. Distillers’ Grains Exceeds Likely Supply Growth

    U.S. production of distillers’ grains (DGs) has quadrupled since 2004/05. For the foreseeable future, however, potential feed use of DGs in the U.S. will significantly exceed projected supply.
  • Feature

    Can Brazil Meet the World’s Growing Need for Ethanol?

    Brazil's ethanol industry has been aided by increased capacity to produce sugarcane as an ethanol feedstock, supportive government policies, and efficiency improvements. Other factors, however, may affect its ability to fill growing world demand for ethanol.
  • Feature

    Rising Food Prices and Declining Food Security: Evidence From Afghanistan

    Afghanistan is particularly vulnerable to food and fuel price shocks, which, in 2007/08, led to an increase in household food insecurity.
  • Feature

    Are Competitors’ Free Trade Agreements Putting U.S. Agricultural Exporters at a Disadvantage?

    Findings show FTAs increased trade among member countries, suggesting the large number of FTAs that do not include the U.S. may be eroding the U.S. presence in foreign markets.
  • Finding

    Chinese Apple Juice Export Growth Follows Investments in the Industry

    A combination of government, foreign, and private investment began building a juice processing industry in China in the early 1990s. China is now the world's largest supplier of apple juice concentrate.
  • Finding

    Growing Beef Consumption in Japan Could Benefit U.S. Producers

    An increased presence of U.S. beef in Japan could bring higher returns for U.S. producers and lower prices for Japanese consumers.
  • Statistic

    Research Areas

    Selected statistics on agriculture and trade, diet and health, natural resources, and rural America
  • Feature

    World Sugar Price Volatility Intensified by Market and Policy Factors

    Rising production costs and growing ethanol use in Brazil, combined with policy-induced production swings among Asian countries, are the main sources of higher and more volatile world sugar prices.
  • Finding

    Weighing Policy Options To Increase Incomes of Mali’s Cotton Farmers

    A joint study by ERS, Purdue University, and Oklahoma State University found that eliminating U.S. cotton subsidies could bring limited benefits to the operators of small farms in Mali. Greater gains could be realized through a combination of increased fertilizer use and the introduction of genetically modified cotton crops.
  • Statistic

    In The Long Run: A Relatively Low Dollar Implies Good Prospects for U.S. Agricultural Trade

    The depreciation of the U.S. dollar since 2002 has helped increase the real (adjusted for inflation) value of U.S. agricultural exports to record levels.
  • Feature

    Accelerated Productivity Growth Offsets Decline in Resource Expansion in Global Agriculture

    The rate of growth in global agricultural productivity has accelerated in recent decades and accounts for an increasing share of expanding agricultural production.
  • Statistic

    Research Areas

    Research area charts from the September 2012 issue of Amber Waves
  • Feature

    Former Soviet Union Region To Play Larger Role in Meeting World Wheat Needs

    The next decade is likely to see a major shift in global wheat production and trade. USDA projects that wheat exports by Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan will increase by 50 percent by 2019, and the region could lead the world in wheat exports by the end of the period.
  • Finding

    Indian Sugar Market More Volatile

    Sugar production in India, the world’s second largest producer, will likely drop sharply in 2009/10. India will shift from a net exporter to a large net importer. Swings in India’s sugar trade are increasingly significant for world markets
  • Finding

    Supply Disruptions Cause Price Spikes in Afghanistan’s Wheat Market

    Growing conditions in Afghanistan suggest a record 2009/10 wheat harvest and a favorable shortrun outlook. Nevertheless, Afghanistan will remain subject to supply disruptions and price spikes as long as its domestic production is highly variable and weak transportation links limit its ability to diversify sources of imported grain.
  • Finding

    Indonesian Agricultural Growth Leads to Increased Trade and Food Security

    Indonesian policy changes in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s provided incentives for agricultural producers to exploit the country’s comparative advantage in perennial crops and led to an increase in agricultural exports and per capita incomes. As a result, food insecurity in Indonesia declined by nearly half from 1981 to 2007.
  • Finding

    Trade and Development When Exports are Volatile: A Case Study From Malawi

    Tobacco, accounts for about 60 percent of Malawi’s total merchandise export earnings and 13 percent of its GDP. However, Malawi has found it difficult to sustain economic growth because tobacco export revenues have not been invested in yield-increasing technologies and inputs to improve productivity.
  • Finding

    Random Inspections Reveal Import Risks

    With the rising volume of agricultural imports in recent decades comes a growing risk of non-native pests and pathogens. Customs agents inspect what they know to be the riskier shipments, but they cannot inspect every shipment. ERS developed a model to determine the optimal number of random inspections of agricultural imports and the most effective allocation of inspection resources at a given port.
  • Finding

    China’s Cotton Use Trimmed by Growing Efficiency and a Slowing Economy

    Higher efficiency combined with changes in fiber blending has reduced the volume of cotton fiber needed to produce China’s textile and clothing exports. These changes have important implications for understanding world cotton markets and the size of the world’s largest cotton textile industry.
  • Feature

    A Weakening Global Economy Interrupts Agricultural Trade

    The financial sector turbulence originating in the United States has had a ripple effect worldwide, curbing economic growth in nearly every country. Slower growth and weaker currencies in emerging markets have reduced U.S. competitiveness and agricultural exports in the short term. At the same time, reduced consumer spending domestically is dampening U.S. import growth. Despite the current downturn, world food demand remains stable, and demand for U.S. exports is expected to recover as developing-country growth resumes in the longer term.
  • Finding

    What’s Next for NAFTA?

    Following the full implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) some researchers and policy makers are thinking about ways to build on NAFTA to increase integration even more. One idea under discussion is to move in the direction of a customs union.
  • Statistic

    Indicators

    Indicators table from March 2009 issue of Amber Waves.
  • Statistic

    Research Areas

    Research area charts from the June 2008 issue of Amber Waves.
  • Feature

    Who Will China Feed?

    Though China continues to be a major player in global food exports, growing resource constraints and environmental costs could mean an end to “easy” growth for Chinese agriculture.
  • Feature

    World Trade Organization and Globalization Help Facilitate Growth in Agricultural Trade

    Despite strong criticism of the WTO, its membership continues to grow as countries seek the benefits of expanding trade.
  • Statistic

    Indicators

    Indicators charts from the June 2008 issue of Amber Waves
  • Statistic

    Research Areas

    Research area charts from the April 2008 issue of Amber Waves.
  • Feature

    Global Market Opportunities Drive Beef Production Decisions in Argentina and Uruguay

    Improvements to certification programs and traceability programs have helped expand beef exports from Argentina and Uruguay.
  • Finding

    Why Has Japan’s Orange Market Declined?

    Japan was once the largest foreign market for U.S. oranges, but since the mid-1990s, orange consumption and imports in Japan have fallen by over 30 percent. The United States is still the source of most of Japan’s oranges, but Japan has fallen to third place among U.S. export destinations.
  • Statistic

    Research Areas

    Research area charts from the February 2008 issue of Amber Waves.
  • Statistic

    Data Feature

    ERS uses two methods for calculating the share of imports in U.S. food consumption-by value or by volume. Both methods introduce some bias into the calculation. Changes in relative exchange rates can shift the shares when calculated by value, and the high share of value-added in processed foods can distort the import value. The water content of the foods is a major source of bias when calculating share based on volume. For most foods, the import share is higher when based on volume than when based on value.
  • Feature

    Rising Food Prices Intensify Food Insecurity in Developing Countries

    Recent hikes in oil prices have raised serious concerns in low-income countries, both because of the financial burden of the higher energy import bill and potential constraints on imports of necessities like food and raw materials. Higher oil prices also have sparked energy security concerns worldwide, increasing the demand for biofuel production.
  • Feature

    Converging Patterns in Global Food Consumption and Food Delivery Systems

    U.S. and international trends in food spending, food consumption, and food delivery systems. Across countries and income levels worldwide, consumers are choosing to spend their additional income on some combination of increased quality, convenience, and variety of foods. Food delivery and consumption patterns in middle-income countries are converging to countries with higher income levels. Income growth has been a primary force behind converging global consumption patterns.
  • Finding

    Canadian Dollar Reaches Parity With U.S. Dollar

    For the first time since 1976, the Canadian dollar is at parity with the U.S. dollar. In keeping with macroeconomic theory, the result has been accelerating growth in U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and slower growth of imports from Canada.
  • Statistic

    Indicators

    Amber Waves presents the broad scope of ERS's research and analysis. The magazine covers the economics of agriculture, food and nutrition, the food industry, trade, rural America, and farm-related environmental topics.