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International trade

In the absence of a conclusion to the WTO Doha Round of negotiations, there has been a proliferation of bilateral, regional and mega-regional trade agreements. The volume of trade is projected to expand for most agricultural commodities, trade rules are ever more complex, and trade instruments are being used by some countries in times of food crises to guarantee available and accessible food. Trade can therefore have significant implications for food security, nutrition and employment.   

FAO supports member countries in multiple ways, providing: in-depth analysis on the possible consequences of trade policies; capacity development to improve understanding of international rules and their implications; neutral forums for dialogue between stakeholders from Trade and Agriculture; support to regional trade integration; and assistance in preparing for trade negotiations and in implementing agreements. 

Key facts
• Trade in agricultural products has grown almost threefold in value over the past decade.
• Low and middle income countries account for approximately one third of global trade in food and agricultural products.
• 168 countries are currently WTO members, of these 34 are least developed.
• Between 2000 and 2015 the number of Regional Trade Agreements in force more than doubled.