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THE USE OF TRADE FLOW DATA IN AGRICULTURE POLICY

(Item 7 of the Agenda)

64. Two papers were presented to the Commission under Item 7 of the Agenda - Documents APCAS/04/07, "The Use of Trade Flow Data in Agriculture", and APCAS/04/INF4, "Trade Flow Data in Formulation of Agriculture Policy".

65. In the first presentation the Commission was informed of the flow processes in agriculture statistics, the tools for capturing the trade flows, and the uses of trade data. In the flow process, the Commission noted that the importing and exporting countries would have the opportunities to crosscheck data and to supplement missing data.

66. The tools used for extracting trade data, i.e. WATF - World Agriculture Trade Flow, an interactive map displaying trade flows between countries/territories and providing basic trade data, and the WATM - World Agriculture Trade Matrices, which was providing an analytical presentation of the same information, were demonstrated to the Commission. The Commission learned that these tools would facilitate both exporting and importing countries to discover markets and to access information on food safety (quality origin and destination) and food security (source of food).

67. The major uses of the WATF, as pointed out to the Commission, were market discovery (export and import); food safety (food quality origin and destination); and food security (sources of food).

68. In the second paper presented to the Commission, the Indian experience highlighted some of the realities of trade flows in agriculture at the individual crop level. The Commission learned about the impact of the international environment on policy-making through activities such as multilateral agreements on agriculture, thereby reducing broader protection, distortion in international prices and production and thus affecting the livelihood of the people. The Commission was informed that, as a result, there was a need to standardize trade flow data such as prices (farm gate, wholesale/retail border prices, import/export prices), data format (type of classification systems), tariff line versus product level, cost data, periodicity of data, automation and mechanization of customs administration.


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