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Trade

How the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Demonstrate the Importance of Ag Trade

Beginning July 23, all eyes will be on Japan as it hosts the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. For me, this summer’s Olympics is the perfect blend of things that I’m passionate about – there’s cycling, there’s an international governing body that oversees the games, and there’s fellowship between the United States and Japan.

Has Global Agricultural Trade been Resilient under COVID-19?

Last year, as COVID-19 rattled the world economy and disrupted trade flows, agricultural trade remained mostly stable, falling only two percent during the initial wave of infections and lockdowns, before bouncing back and ending the year up 3.5 percent. But the growth in agricultural trade doesn’t mean that trade flows were insulated from the effects of the pandemic. Much of 2020 was in fact shaped by other factors. For instance, 95% of global agricultural trade growth came from China and was driven in part by non-pandemic related factors of increased feed demand, efforts to restock grain reserves, and policy factors. A recent paper by USDA’s Office of the Chief Economist, Has Global Agricultural Trade been Resilient under COVID-19? Findings from an Econometric Assessment (PDF, 1.4 MB) (Arita et al.), suggests that while agricultural trade remained stable at the aggregate level, a deeper empirical analysis reveals there were still significant disruptions due to the pandemic.

USDA Amplifies Farmers Voices and Concerns Over Transportation and Shipping

Today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) convened a meeting with representatives of U.S. agricultural products and leadership from the United States Department of Transportation (DoT) to discuss current issues surrounding shipping U.S. agricultural exports, as well as logistical and technical concerns. Participants included a wide range of agriculture stakeholders in the livestock, grains, specialty crop, and dairy industries, as well as representatives from the shipping and value-added sector of U.S. agriculture. The discussion was led jointly by USDA Chief of Staff Katharine Ferguson and DoT Senior Advisor Carlos Monje, the key point of contact for Secretary Buttigieg on this issue.