This chapter reviews several important aspects of international agricultural trade, including regional trade agreements, market access, non-tariff distortions, suspension agreements, trade embargos, trade barrier case studies, international trade agreements, agricultural trade in transitional economies, international movement of capital and labor, and gains from trade. In earlier reviews of the literature on agricultural trade, including the Josling et al. (2010) paper on the AAEA 100th Anniversary Celebration, it is very apparent that the dimensions of agricultural trade are extremely complex. Because of these complexities, empirical analyses on the impact of trade policies are very difficult. These complexities include (1) agricultural trade is affected by both trade and agricultural policies (Schmitz and Schmitz 2012); (2) U.S. agricultural price supports have a major effect on the impact of U.S. agricultural tariffs and quotas; (3) policies outside of agriculture, such as the U.S. corn ethanol program (administrated through the U.S. Department of Energy), have major impacts on U.S. corn production and trade; (4) the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is not well understood; (5) multinational corporations are heavily engaged in international agricultural trade and influence the direction and magnitude of trade; (6) many large agricultural producer firms are involved in trade, in which firms domiciled in the United States produce, with their facilities, products abroad and then export these back to the U.S. market; and (7) international trade is affected by agricultural productivity, which in turn is affected by the cost of inputs, such as illegal immigrant farm labor – a debate that continues in the United States over the production of especially fruits and vegetables.
JEL classifications: F1, F2, F13, F14, F23