"The 107th Congress is considering trade issues with implications for the U.S. agricultural sector. Trade in agricultural commodities and food products affects farm income and rural employment, and it also generates economic activity beyond the farm gate. With agricultural export sales the equivalent of one quarter of farm income, some policymakers view U.S. efforts to develop market opportunities overseas as vital to the sector's financial health. Decisions taken by the Bush Administration, and actions taken by Congress, thus will affect the outlook for agricultural trade. U.S. agricultural exports are forecast to improve in FY2002, but the world economic slowdown has made the outlook somewhat uncertain. Agricultural groups and their supporters in Congress believe that long-term prosperity depends partly on U.S. trade policies that: (1) aggressively reduce foreign imposed barriers to U.S. farm products, (2) hold other countries accountable for commitments they have already made in existing trade agreements, (3) resolve festering disputes with major trading partners, and (4) fully use U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) export and food aid programs. Other groups, for various reasons, have pressed for restrictions on agricultural imports."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10077
U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/