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Trade policy briefs

Trade Policy Briefs provide a succinct overview of key trade policy questions addressed in recent FAO studies with the view to broaden the understanding on such issues, especially in the context of the WTO negotiations on agriculture.

No. 39 Trade in fisheries products: fisheries sustainability, fishing capacity, and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing

This policy brief provides an overview of the main fish pillars associated with the current WTO mandate on fisheries subsidies – overfishing and overfished stocks, capacity, and Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. It also addresses traditional scientific concepts like the Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) in determining overfishing, the main FAO instruments associated with capacity and combatting IUU fishing, and the Regional Fisheries Management Organization (RFMOs) and flag, port, and coastal States.

No. 38 Trade in fisheries and aquaculture products: a major international commodity

This policy brief provides an overview of the latest statistic data on fisheries and aquaculture production and trade, highlighting the importance of international trade to many countries, particularly developing countries. It is also stressed the rank of fisheries and aquaculture trade in comparison with other animal proteins. Small-scale fisheries are also analyzed, including their singularity and characterization issues.

No. 37 COVID-19: Agricultural trade and policy responses during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020

Measures adopted around the world to contain the COVID-19 outbreak helped curb the spread of the virus and lowered the pressure on health systems. However, they also affected the global trading system, and the supply and demand of agricultural and food products. In response to concerns over food security and food safety worldwide, many countries reacted immediately to apply policy measures aiming to limit potentially adverse impacts on domestic markets. Covering the first half of 2020, this policy brief provides an overview of short-term changes in policy measures related to agricultural trade that countries adopted in response to the pandemic.

36. The role of digital technologies in livestock traceability and trade

This policy brief provides an overview on the role of digital technologies in optimizing traceability in trade for animals and animal products. It highlights the ways in which digital technologies can the enhance performance for monitoring and controlling animal disease, managing food safety and fraud risks, complying with animal production and food standards, facilitating trade and raising consumer awareness.

35. Trade finance and digital technologies: Facilitating access to international markets

This policy brief provides an overview of how digital technologies can help facilitate access to trade finance for market participants, in particular micro, small and medium sized enterprises, by addressing numerous challenges in traditional trade finance.

34. Importance of agriculture and trade policy coherence for agricultural transformation in africa

This policy brief is based on the FAO (2018) report “Policy coherence for agricultural transformation in African least developed countries: Aligning agriculture and trade policymaking processes”. The report presents the results of the Multi- partner Programme Support Mechanism (FMM) Project on Trade related capacity development for food security and nutrition in Eastern and Southern Africa, implemented by FAO and focusing on four least developed countries in Africa: Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

33. How can blockchain’s general architecture enhance trade facilitation in agricultural supply chains?

This brief provides an overview of the potential of distributed ledger technologies to facilitate transactions in agricultural supply chains through enhanced traceability, efficiency, transparency and accountability.  

32. Agricultural trade and employment: links, evidence and policy implications

With agriculture accounting for roughly 70 percent of employment and 30 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in low-income countries, trade in agricultural products has the potential to significantly affect rural employment, incomes and poverty in these countries.

31. Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11)

Summary of outcomes for agriculture and fisheries of the Eleventh World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC11), held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 13 to 13 December 2017.

30. Voluntary sustainability standards in agriculture, fisheries and forestry trade

This brief discusses the application of voluntary sustainability standards in agriculture, fisheries and forestry trade. 

29. The treatment of agriculture in Regional Trade Agreements

A discussion on the growing importance of regional trade agreements (RTAs) and the trends in the treatment of agriculture in RTAs.

28. Trade in fish and fishery products

This brief discusses trade in fish and fishery products, in particular, trends in import and export, subsidies, tariff and non-tariff measures.

27. Agricultural export restrictions

This brief explains and explores the rationale and options for strengthening disciplines on export restrictions.

26. Non-tariff measures in agriculture trade

This brief analyses the impact that non-tariff measures (NTMs) have on agri-food products and the disciplines on NTMs in the multilateral trading system.

25. Evolution of import tariffs and the issue of tariff escalation

This brief provides an overview of the evolution in bound and applied tariffs with a focus on tariff escalation.

24. Trade and food standards 

Based on a joint FAO-WTO publication, this brief emphasizes the importance of applying international food safety standards, and the need for countries to invest in building their own capacity in this regard. This would allow trade to take place smoothly and without distortions.

23. The changing patterns of agricultural trade

This brief describes trends in agri-food trade globally and by country income group with a focus on trade patterns of low-income countries.

22. Agricultural markets: trends and outlook

This brief discusses the major trends and prospects in agricultural production, consumption, trade and prices based on the OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2017-2026.

See also: Trade Policy Technical Notes which provide a more detailed discussion of the analytical approaches taken in these studies and provide suggestions for further work required to fill identified gaps in empirical work