Date: November 27, 2000
Creator: Becker, Geoffrey S.
Description: Agricultural interests have been following trade policy developments against a backdrop of weak foreign demand and large world supplies of agricultural products. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the value of U.S. agricultural exports fell between FY1996 (a record year) and FY1999 by almost $11 billion. USDA forecasts agricultural exports at $50.5 billion in FY2000 and $51.5 billion in FY2001. However, the projected agricultural trade surpluses for those years, of $11.5 billion and $12 billion, would be less than half the FY1996 surplus of $27.2 billion. Many agricultural groups and their supporters in Congress believe that the sector's future prosperity depends upon such U.S. trade policies as: 1) encouraging China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), with its binding rules and responsibilities; 2) exempting agriculture from U.S. unilateral economic sanctions; 3) fully using export and food aid programs; and 4) aggressively battling foreign-imposed barriers to the movement of U.S. farm products. A few U.S. farm groups are wary of such approaches.
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