ABSTRACT

This chapter assess the impact of new technologies on the agro-food system in the US and the EC and the consequences for the trade relationship between them. During the last 50 years, the agricultural sector has gone through a series of structural changes. Changes in production practices brought about by technological change, though often introduced to cut costs, have led nevertheless to increased production expenses as a proportion of gross farm income. The impact of biotechnologies on structural change is most obvious in the farming sector itself. On the input side the most interesting development is the integration of the seed industry in multinational (petro)chemical and pharmaceutical companies brought about by a number of factors. Although most food manufacturing companies are now engaged in biotechnology research, most of the new biotechnologies are and will be developed in the chemical industry and in small biotechnology research companies.