Agriculture Is Still Vital to U.S. Trade Talks -- For Now

May 2, 2019 | 09:15 GMT

Farmers' political clout may be waning, but agriculture is still a key talking point in trade deals.

A wheat field in Kern County, Calif. Farming in the United States isn't going away anytime soon, but the same can't be said for its influence over policy.



  • Agricultural sectors in several countries will likely retain high levels of influence for another decade or so, but demographic change and technological advancements will eventually exert a stronger and more consistent influence, eroding farming's ability to shape trade priorities.
  • The Japanese market may soon open up for U.S. farmers as Tokyo could sacrifice its own agricultural sector during its current trade talks with the United States to protect its other industries.
  • The EU will push back against including agricultural concessions to the U.S. in their trade talks, but U.S.-China negotiations could progress in a favorable direction for U.S. farmers ahead of America's presidential elections. 


Time stops for no one, or so the saying goes. And right now, the clock is not on the side of many U.S. farmers, who have suffered hit after hit in recent months and years. U.S. farmers are facing geopolitical trends that will change the face of America's heartland. Longer-term demographic and technological factors point toward a future in which the agricultural sectors will lose political influence not only in the United States but also in Europe and Japan. Eventually, for instance, precision agriculture and increased use of automation will better align urban and rural economic interests. For the moment, however, political necessity in the United States and strong nationalist sentiment on both sides of the Atlantic on topics like rules of origin mean the agricultural sector will continue to have pride of place during trade negotiations -- even as the demographic and technological ground begins to shift beneath its...

Keep Reading

Register to read three free articles

Proceed to sign up

Register Now

Already have an account?

Sign In