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By Ian Sheldon, professor and Andersons chair of agricultural marketing, trade and policy. 

Picture of hand holding soybeans

With Russia and Ukraine alone accounting for 12 percent of total calories traded (IFPRI, April 13, 2022), continuation of the war has intensified the vulnerability of developing countries to food insecurity, the G7 countries recently predicting 43 million people were being pushed towards famine (

Picture of a bundle of wheat tied with a blue and yellow ribbon.

The shock to global commodity markets following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is expected to be the largest in the post-war period, and certainly since the oil crisis of the 1970s.  Over the past 30 year, the two countries have become major agricultural exporters, accounting for a quarter of globa

When surveying his decades-long career as a professor and researcher, Ian Sheldon says he started out his career as an industrial organization economist who paid some attention to the impact of trade on competition. 

Bringing higher rates of unemployment and poverty, the pandemic has also pushed more people into a struggle to buy the basics, including food. 

Dr. Ian Sheldon and Ben Brown, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Agricultural Risk Management, discuss COVID-19's Impact on Commodity Markets, International Trade and the WHO

The U.S. trade policy, labor and immigration issues, agricultural commodity markets, and the food supply chain will be among the topics addressed at a panel discussion during the 59th annual Farm Science Review Sept. 22–24 at fsr.osu.edu

The U.S.-China trade war represents a natural experiment in the sense that we have not seen such wide-ranging increases in tariffs since the 1930s, when Congress passed the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act (Bown and Zhang, 2019).  Not surprisingly, applied trade economists have already conducted in-depth research on the impact of the trade war so far, the most notable being Amiti, Redding, and Weinstein (2019)Alberto Cavallo et al. (2019), and Pablo Fajgelbaum et al. (2020).  This blogpost is a summary of the key results reported in these studies.

Analysis of the current administration’s trade policy choices has typically interpreted them in terms of a zero-sum game, i.e., rather than generating mutual benefits in a positive-sum game, international trade is a game where economically, one country is a winner while the other must be a loser (Chow and Sheldon, 2019).  However, there is an alternative explanation for these actions:  the administration has chosen to move from rules-based to power-based bargaining over tariffs as a means of dealing with latecomers to the World Trade Organization (WTO) (Mattoo and Staiger, 2019).  The concern here is that by switching from rules-based to power-based bargaining, the United States is putting the future of the post-war trading system at risk, as well as inflicting economic costs on both itself and its trading partners.

In light of the sectors targeted by China’s retaliatory tariffs against U.S. imports, it is not surprising that agriculture was a critical component of the Phase One Trade Agreement between the U.S. and China, that went into effect on February 14, 2020.   Specifically, China committed to purchasing an additional $12.5 and $19.5 billion worth of U.S. agricultural products above 2017 levels in 2020 and 2021, respectively, implying total agricultural imports of $36.5 billion in 2020 and $43.5 billion in 2021 (see Section 6-1 of the Agreement). Essentially, these commitments by China constitute a voluntary import expansion (VIE), harking back to the era of so-called “managed” trade between the U.S. and Japan in the 1980s (Bown and Keynes, 2020).

Dr.s Ian Sheldon and Brent Sohngen discuss the state of International Trade in the Era of COVID-19.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has cut demand for many U.S. products, agricultural exports are holding up well, according to a new analysis by an agricultural economist with The Ohio State University. 

 AEDE faculty and graduate students have a long-standing history of membership and leadership with the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA).

There are still open spots for the free conference.  Registration ends on January, 31 2019.

Abandoning Strategic and Economic Goals of TPP Has Consequences

When the United States withdrew from Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), it forfeited strategic advantages and economic benefits that would likely have emerged through the mega trade deal and partnership with 11 other economies, according to findings presented in a new study.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released details of their Market Facilitation Program (MFP) which was instituted to aid farmers impacted by ongoing trade disputes that have resulted in tariffs instituted by the U.S. and China. 

Professor Ian Sheldon Interview on Trade and Tariffs on Knowledge @ Wharton.

soybeans

Farmers in Ohio have begun planting soybeans just as the trade war with China, the world’s largest consumer of the crop, has reached another nerve-racking point.

AEDE's Ian Sheldon joins Joshua Meltzer, Senior Fellow in Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institute to discuss President Trump's willingness to revisit the Trans Pacific Partnership TPP.

AEDE Professor Ian Sheldon joins Daniel Sumner from the University of California at Davis and David Swenson from Iowa State University on the Knowledge@Wharton radio program.

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