U.S. Agricultural Trade: Trends, Composition, Direction, and Policy [September 5, 2007] [open pdf - 248KB]
"U.S. agricultural exports for FY2008 are forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reach a record $83.5 billion, while agricultural imports are expected to reach $75 billion, also a record level. The agricultural trade surplus is projected to be $8.5 billion. Exports of bulk commodities (e.g., soybeans, wheat, and feed grains) remain significant, but exports of high-value products (HVPs), such as fruits, and vegetables, and meats are increasing. HVPs accounted for almost 63% of total U.S. agricultural exports in FY2006. […] Among the fastest-growing markets for U.S. agricultural exports are Canada and Mexico, both partners with the United States in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). U.S. agricultural exports to China, recently a member of the World Trade Organization, have grown at an annual rate of 16% since 1992. Both the EU and the United States subsidize their agricultural sectors, but overall the EU outspends the United States five to one. 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. 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. 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 for emergency relief or development assistance. This report will be updated."
CRS Report for Congress, 98-253