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CCP75 - The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO) 2022

The Geography of Food and Agricultural Trade: Policy approaches for sustainable development

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    Book (series)
    The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2022
    The geography of food and agricultural trade: Policy approaches for sustainable development
    The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2022 (SOCO 2022) discusses how trade policies, based on both multilateral and regional approaches, can address today’s challenges for sustainable development. Trade policies in food and agriculture should aim to safeguard global food security, address the trade-offs between economic and environmental objectives, and strengthen the resilience of the global agrifood system to shocks, such as conflicts, pandemics and extreme weather. The report discusses the geography of trade, analysing food and agricultural trade and its patterns across countries and regions, its drivers and the trade policy environment. Comparative advantage, trade policies and trade costs shape the patterns of trade in food and agriculture. When comparative advantage plays out in the global market, trade benefits all countries. Lowering tariff barriers and reducing trade costs can promote trade and economic growth. Both multilateral and regional trade agreements can facilitate the process of making trade an avenue for growth but the gains of trade are distributed unevenly. When global environmental impacts, such as climate change, are considered, a multilateral approach to trade can help expand the reach of mitigation measures.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO) 2004 2004
    Technical developments that increase productivity and reduce costs mean that the long-term trend in real agricultural commodity prices on international markets is gradually downwards but that trend is dominated by significant short-term variability. Many developing countries, and especially the least developed countries, continue to depend on just a few agricultural commodities for the bulk of their export earnings. For them, commodity price variability has a strong impact on incomes, employment and government revenues, compromising macroeconomic planning and development efforts more generally. However, developing countries are also as a group increasingly reliant on food imports. The least developed countries are already net food importers. In these circumstances, falling international food prices are obviously beneficial but increasing reliance on imported food also means greater exposure to the variability in international food prices and hence food import bills. Developing countrie s need to contend with variability of international commodity prices in their efforts to increase their export earnings or manage their food import bills. At the same time, they must also contend with the market distortions introduced by the import tariffs and export and production subsidies used by both developed and developing countries, and by the market power in many commodity value chains of large transnational companies. The traditional international responses to commodity market instabili ty based on market interventions or compensation schemes are not currently favoured and new approaches are needed. These new approaches, such as marketbased price risk management, are aimed less at preventing price swings than at helping producers and consumers predict and manage better their adverse impacts.

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