Markets and trade

International trade

There has been a rapid increase of bilateral, regional and mega-regional trade agreements because the WTO Doha Round of negotiations did not reach a conclusion. Trade in most agricultural commodities is expected to increase, trade rules are becoming more complex, and, in times of food crises, trade instruments are being used by some countries to guarantee food for their own people. Trade can have significant implications for food security, nutrition and employment.  

FAO supports member countries by providing:

• In-depth analysis on the possible consequences of trade policies
• Capacity development to improve understanding of international rules and their implications
• Neutral fora for dialogue between stakeholders from Trade and Agriculture
• Support to regional trade integration
• Assistance in preparing for trade negotiations and implementing agreements

Key facts

• The value of trade in agricultural products has grown almost threefold over the past decade and will continue to do so.
• Low and middle income countries account for approximately one third of global trade in food and agricultural products.
• WTO has 164 member countries, of which 36 are least developed.
• Between 2000 and 2015 the number of Regional Trade Agreements in force more than doubled.


Trade, Food Security and Nutrition

This course seeks to strengthen capacities of agricultural and trade sector stakeholders to:

  Assess the challenges and opportunities posed by greater openness to trade for food security and nutrition
  Evaluate different types of trade policy measures and their role in promoting food security and nutrition, in order to design and implement coherent and evidence-based policies
  Formulate agricultural trade strategies and negotiate trade agreements, taking into consideration the global and regional regulatory frameworks governing trade, food security and nutrition

The course is available in English. A downloadable package of this course is also available in Russian.

Duration:  7 hours

Agriculture in international trade agreements

This course seeks to strengthen capacities of policy makers and all other interested stakeholders to:

  Understand and identify the main provisions of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) on market access, domestic support and export competition; and
   Understand and identify the main provisions of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), and of other WTO agreements that concern trade-related constraints and procedures; and
  Describe the treatment of agriculture in Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) and their provisions on policy areas relevant to agricultural trade, compared to those of multi-lateral trade agreements.

The course is available in English.

Duration:  7 hours