U.S. Agricultural Trade: Trends, Composition, Direction, and Policy [September 25, 2006] [open pdf - 196KB]
"U.S. agricultural exports for FY2006 are forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at $68 billion. Agricultural imports are expected to reach $64.5 billion. The agricultural trade surplus, projected to be $3.5 billion, is at its lowest level in 19 years. Exports of bulk commodities (e.g., soybeans, wheat, and feed grains) remain significant, but exports of high-value products (HVPs), such as meats, fruits, and vegetables, are increasing. HVPs accounted for 62% of total U.S. agricultural exports in FY2005. […] Both the EU [European Union] and the United States subsidize their agricultural sectors, but overall the EU out-subsidizes the United States. Recent reforms of the EU's Common Agricultural policy shift substantial spending into direct income support decoupled from production and into rural development. Canada supports some sectors (e.g., dairy and poultry) more than others. Australia provides less support to its agriculture. Single desk sellers with monopoly powers operate wheat markets and markets for some other commodities in Canada and Australia. Export subsidies are more important in the EU than in the United States; border measures (tariffs) are more important in Canada than in either the United States or the EU. Australia operates a mix of trade measures. The United States is the dominant supplier of foreign food aid, followed by the EU, Canada, and Australia. U.S. and other major food aid donors provide commodities mainly for development assistance or emergency relief. This report will be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, 98-253