Agricultural Trade Costs

John C. Beghin, Heidi Schweizer
December 2020  [20-WP 608] (Revised)

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Suggested citation:

Beghin, J.C. and H. Schweizer. 2020. "Agricultural Trade Costs." Working paper 20-WP 608. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.


We examine the recent evolution of salient trade costs in agricultural and food markets, and changes in their composition. We review ways to measure costs and provide guidance with policy prescriptions to reduce them. We pay attention to transportation costs, border measures, and standard-like nontariff measures. By pointing out limitations in current approaches and recent developments, we aim to improve our understanding of their effects and derive clearer prescriptions. We suggest promising directions for further research and investigation of agricultural trade costs, including on the emerging debate on gene-editing and trade, transportation costs, and mainstreaming recent advances in analyzing nontariff measures.