European Financial Imbalances: Implications of the Eurozone Sovereign Debt Problem for U.S. Agricultural Exports

Severe financial problems in some Eurozone countries will likely affect the EU's exchange rate, investment, and GDP growth over the next several years which will impact all trade, including food and agricultural trade. Three likely hypothetical scenarios are assumed in order to capture the effects of the financial imbalances on U.S. agricultural trade. The analyses and results are reported with the implications remaining positive for U.S. agricultural trade in all three scenarios in large part because the diversion of investment from the EU to emerging economies increases the demand for U.S. food and agricultural imports (May 2011).

The EU Sugar Policy Regime and Implications of Reform

The European Union's sugar policy underwent its first major reform in 2005 in response to mounting and unsustainable imbalances in supply and demand. The reform targeted only a few policy instruments (intervention price cut, voluntary production quota buyout, and restrictions on nonquota sugar exports), while leaving other key policies unchanged (interstate quota trading, sugar-substitute competition, and import barriers). A model-based analysis suggests that the initial reforms by themselves are unlikely to reduce overproduction due to the oligopolistic nature of the EU sugar market (July 2008).

" The Future of Biofuels: A Global Perspective"

Global biofuel production tripled between 2000 and 2007, but still accounts for less than 3 percent of the transportation fuel supply worldwide. Biofuels will likely be part of a portfolio of solutions to high energy prices, including conservation, more efficient energy use, and use of other alternative fuels (Amber Waves, November 2007).

European Union-25 Sugar Policy

The EU approved a reform of its sugar policy in November 2005, which is to be implemented in July 2006 and includes a price reduction of 36.5 percent to be phased in by 2009. Analysis shows a reduction of EU sugar production and a decline in EU sugar exports of 3-4 million metric tons, with a resulting increase in the world sugar price (January 2006).

" EU and U.S. Organic Markets Face Strong Demand Under Different Policies"

Many European Union (EU) countries have "green payments" available for transitioning and continuing organic farmers. By contrast, the U.S. Government has largely taken a free-market approach to the organic sector. Despite the different approaches, both regions have large retail markets for organic foods (Amber Waves, February 2006). For the full report, see:

Agricultural Trade Preferences and the Developing Countries

Nonreciprocal trade preference programs originated in the 1970s as an effort by high-income developed countries to provide tariff concessions for low-income countries. This study focuses on the United States and European Union and finds that the programs offer significant benefits for some countries, mostly the higher income developing countries (May 2005).

European Union Adopts Significant Farm Reform

The EU continued to reform its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2003-04 and will continue in 2005, building on earlier reforms enacted since 1992. The latest reforms move to fully decoupled payments through a single farm payment, which has important implications for WTO negotiations and EU farmers' decisions on what to produce (September 2004). For the full report, see CAP Reform of 2003-04 (August 2004).

European Trading Arrangements in Fruits and Vegetables

The EU participates in regional and preferential trading arrangements more than any other country or region. Over 70 percent of EU fruit and vegetable imports are from countries benefiting from preferential treatment for some portion of trade. Exports from countries without preferences, including the United States, are at a disadvantage in EU markets (July 2004).

Global Trade Patterns in Fruits and Vegetables

International trade in fruits and vegetables has expanded at a higher rate than trade in other agricultural commodities, and the variety of commodities has increased. Over the years, three regions-the EU, the North American Free Trade Agreement area, and Asia-have remained as both the major destinations and sources of supply. A substantial share of their trade is intraregional, particularly that of the EU (June 2004).

EU Enlargement: Implications for New Member Countries, the United States, and World Trade

This is part one in a series of forthcoming reports on the integration of the transition economies of Central and Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States into global commodity markets. The report presents a medium-term forecast of the changes that EU enlargement will bring to commodity production and trade in Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic as well as to the enlarged EU, and to U.S. and world trade (April 2004).

U.S.-EU Food and Agriculture Comparisons

The European Union and United States are the world's largest agricultural traders and among the largest producers and consumers. This report provides information and analysis that reflects the similarities and differences in their agricultural sectors when comparing farm structure, production, consumption, trade, productivity, farm policy, and responses to environmental issues. Implications of EU enlargement for U.S. trade are also addressed (April 2005).

Commodity Policies of the U.S., EU, and Japan

Commodity policies of the United States, the European Union, and Japan address some of the same goals, but there have always been key differences in approach and in their policy instruments. In recent years, efforts to encourage freer trade in farm commodities have led each toward less trade-distorting policies (December 2002).

Trade Among Unequal Partners: Changing EU Trade Arrangements with Developing Countries

The EU, more than other WTO members, has used exceptions to international trading rules to provide nonreciprocal trading preferences to selected developing countries. Some of these arrangements have been challenged under WTO procedures and the EU has responded with proposals to convert the arrangements into reciprocal trading areas, which may be disadvantageous to the developing countries and to U.S. trading interests (September 2002).

Livestock Feeding and Feed Imports in the European Union-A Decade of Change

Events and policy changes in the livestock sectors of the European Union during the 1990s produced important impacts on trade in feedstuffs. Lower grain prices and a declining euro together with several animal disease epidemics resulted in significant increases in the feeding of grains and oilseed meals and a reduction in the feeding of nongrain feed ingredients (July 2002).

Traceability for Food Marketing and Food Safety: What's the Next Step?

Traceability systems, which document information on specific product attributes from creation through marketing, are used primarily to help keep foods with different attributes separate. The EU's recent proposal on traceability for distinguishing engineered crops and foods is an example of government-mandated traceability. Is a government mandated system—rather than reliance on private firms' documentation—a practical or efficient use of traceability? (February 2002). 

Pressures for Change in Eastern Europe's Livestock Sector

The meat and dairy processing sectors of several East European countries are undergoing rapid concentration, accelerated by pending accession to the EU and pressure to meet strict EU sanitary standards. The trend is most evident in Poland and Hungary, but all Eastern European countries aspire to eventual EU membership and are experiencing noticeable restructuring (January-February 2002).

EU Preferential Trading Agreements: Heightened Competition for U.S.

Although the EU has pursued global multilateral trade negotiations within the WTO, it also participates in more nonglobal preferential trading agreements (PTAs) than any other WTO member. These PTAs allow the EU to control imports and assist in maintaining domestic EU prices. The PTAs disadvantage U.S. exports to EU markets while providing advantages to EU exports in the markets of EU preferred partners (December 2001).

Crop Production Capacity in Europe

From Spain to Ukraine, agricultural production is pursued under a vast array of agronomic and political conditions. In Western Europe, policies in recent decades have maintained high farm prices and provided income payments to farmers, often leading to surplus production. In the decade ahead, Europe as a whole will continue to be a net exporter of grain, although the magnitude will depend partly on the former Soviet Union's ability to develop institutions and policies to accommodate the new market conditions (March 2001).

Other Links

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS). Wide range of information and data on U.S. agricultural trade, as well as agriculture and agricultural policy of the European Union (EU) and other foreign countries.

FAS, U.S. Mission to the European Union, Brussels. Information on U.S.-EU agricultural policy and bilateral trade issues, EU food import rules, animal product import rules, fruit and vegetable standards, and import duties and quotas.

Global Agricultural Trade System (GATS). Data on U.S. exports and imports of agricultural, fish, forest, and textile products from 1989 to the present.

USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). Each month, USDA forecasts supply and demand for major farm commodities for the United States and for the world.

U.S. Government

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Agency responsible for developing and implementing trade policies to promote world growth, support environmental protection, and advance core labor standards.

U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). Agency that provides objective trade expertise to both the legislative and executive branches of government, determines impact of imports on U.S. industries, and directs actions against certain unfair trade practices.

Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook. Information on the geography, people, government, economy, and transnational issues of EU member countries.

International Organizations

Europa. The official site of the European Union.

European Commission, Agriculture and Rural Development. The administrative and regulatory body of the European Union responsible for agricultural policy, agricultural markets, agricultural statistics, and international agricultural trade relations.

Delegation of the European Commission to the United States. News and information on the EU of particular interest to the United States.

Official Journal of the European Union. Published every working day in all official languages of the EU, the journal consists of two related series (L for legislation and C for information and notices) and a supplement (S for public procurement).

World Trade Organization (WTO). Information on the rules of trade between nations, and access to official WTO documents.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Statistics Directorate. Data on economic indicators, labor force, agriculture, national accounts, and international trade for its members, including the EU.

Last updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2017

For more information contact: Kari Heerman and Lorraine Mitchell

Assistive Options

Top of page

Assistive Options

Open the original version of this page.

Usablenet Assistive is a Usablenet product. Usablenet Assistive Main Page.