Global Agricultural Trade in the New Century Moving Forward or Retreating?

By Tangermann, Stefan | UN Chronicle, September-November 2001 | Go to article overview

Global Agricultural Trade in the New Century Moving Forward or Retreating?


Tangermann, Stefan, UN Chronicle


International trade in food and agricultural products is vital and will become even more so in the new century. It is especially vital for those countries that depend on imports to feed their population, among them a number of developing countries, where demand for agricultural imports is projected to grow dramatically in the new century as growth of domestic food consumption outstrips their production potential. Agricultural trade is economically vital for farmers in exporting countries who look for international markets to sell their produce in order to make a reliable livelihood. Many developing countries belong to that category of agricultural export nations. Less obvious, agricultural trade is also economically vital for countries that could, in principle, produce most of the food and raw material they need, but do better by concentrating on other sectors where they have a comparative advantage, while importing products at prices below the costs if they were to produce them domestically.

While almost everyone agrees that agricultural trade is vital, the world at the dawn of the new century is still full of barriers to this trade. Indeed, contrary to enormous progress in recent decades in liberalizing manufactures trade, agricultural trade is still significantly distorted through government policies. Many countries maintain high-tariff walls in their agricultural markets, often effectively blocking imports. Some developed countries have particularly high tariffs, but a number of developing countries also make it difficult for such imports to penetrate their markets. In other cases, Governments pay large sums of taxpayer money to push their agricultural exports onto world markets through export subsidies or domestic support. This is a phenomenon prevalent in developed countries. In these cases, agricultural production in the countries concerned is maintained at an artificially high level, above what can be produced competitively.

As a result, more competitive farmers in other parts of the world are denied the opportunity to use their productive potential in full. At the other end of the spectrum, some Governments of developing countries still make it difficult, through a variety of measures, for their farmers to sell on the international market, thereby depressing domestic prices for agricultural products and reducing incentives to produce. Where this happens, the countries concerned under-utilize their resources and employment opportunities. While Governments feel they have good reason for interfering with agricultural trade in these ways, an overwhelming amount of economic analysis has clearly demonstrated that countries individually and the world on aggregate, lose economic welfare as a result of such trade barriers. Most of the policies distorting agricultural trade are motivated by social objectives, in particular concerns about income distribution.

Market protection, through tariffs and export subsidies, aims at maintaining farmers' incomes and employment in agriculture. Where government policies keep domestic prices below the international level, the objective usually is to provide cheap food to poor domestic consumers, or to raise government revenue through export taxes. Other aims are also pursued by trade policies, but in most cases they come second to such income distribution objectives, and often they are justifications, rather than the true objectives of the policy. Social objectives in food and agriculture are worthy of policy efforts. However, interference with trade is a far cry from optimal policy approach and involves a large amount of extra costs for both the domestic economy and other countries. There are other much more direct and efficient measures to deal with social objectives. For example, direct income payments can help farmers more effectively than price support and without the negative implications for trade and domestic economic w elfare. Equally, targeted assistance to poor food consumers is much more efficient than keeping food prices low and thereby reducing incentives for domestic farmers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Global Agricultural Trade in the New Century Moving Forward or Retreating?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.