"The 107th Congress has been considering a variety of 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 by the Bush Administration, and actions taken by Congress, thus could affect the outlook for agricultural trade. U.S. agricultural exports are forecast to improve only slightly in FY2002. 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. At the same time, other groups have pressed for restrictions on some agricultural imports to protect U.S. producers from what they view as unfair foreign competition."
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB10077
U.S. Department of State: http://www.state.gov/