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Current Activities

ERS Supports Pacific Economic Cooperation Council

Over a number of years, ERS has had an ongoing role in providing information and analytical support for the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC). When applicable to its mission, ERS strives to assist PECC in its program of work, which aims to enhance cooperation and policy coordination in areas including trade, investment, and all major industrial sectors in the Asia-Pacific region. Past ERS contributions have focused on food retailing, transportation infrastructure, urban population growth, and water scarcity. More recently, ERS economist Jean Buzby gave a presentation on private and public cooperation in raising food safety standards at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Food Safety Cooperation Seminar in Gyeongju, South Korea. The contribution of the private sector in improving food safety will become increasingly important given the trends towards stricter supply chain management, growth in international trade, and industry consolidation. Public and private sector cooperation in food safety can go a long way in strengthening food safety, encouraging harmonization with international food standards, and facilitating and promoting international food trade. Jean Buzby

New Trade Model

Researchers from ERS and Pennsylvania State University have collaborated to develop a new trade model. The ERS-Pennsylvania State University Trade model is an applied partial-equilibrium, multiple-commodity, multiregion model of agricultural policy and trade. It is a gross trade model that accounts for exports and imports of each commodity in every identified region. Currently, there are 12 countries/regions and 35 commodities included in the framework. The model is called the Partial Equilibrium Agricultural Trade Simulator (PEATsim).

ERS Forecasting Retail Food Prices in 2006

As part of the ongoing ERS research focus on retail food prices and the impact of energy, transportation, and other operating costs on retail price changes, ERS economists Ephraim Leibtag and David Torgerson participated in the Food Institute's first annual “What's Ahead for 2006” conference. The focus of the conference was to estimate the impact of recent cost increases on the food market system and to interact with food industry decisionmakers to develop solutions to deal with increasing production costs. ERS researchers discussed recent trends in retail food markets, projections of retail food price inflation for 2006, and the recent increase in energy prices and the impact of those changes on food manufacturers. Ephraim Leibtag