Emerging Trade Policy Issues: The Hard Choices

William H. Meyers
February 1987  [86-WP 3]

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Meyers, W.H. 1987. "Emerging Trade Policy Issues: The Hard Choices." Working paper 86-WP 3. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.


Agricultural trade policy has been receiving increased attention in the United States for the last few years. The reason is obvious. After a decade during which the value of agricultural exports grew from $8 billion annually to a peak of nearly $44 billion in 1981, both quantities and values of exports have fallen substantially. Recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates project $43 billion in farm exports in 1985. In the long history of U.S. Agriculture, exports have often been a major force in agricultural prosperity and distress. It is a natural tendency therefore, to look at export growth as a solution to the dismal state of the farm economy. Unfortunately, poor export performance is only one of a complex array of factors that have contributed to the current distress in agriculture; and many of these factors are jointly related to macroeconomic policies and performance.