Where are we going with U.S. and global trade? – Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net

By Dusty Sonnenberg, CCA, Ohio Field Leader: a project of the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff

Agricultural trade was the topic of the first in a series of winter outlook meetings hosted by the Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics (AEDE) at The Ohio State University’s College of Food Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (FAES). Dr. Ian Sheldon, Ohio State’s Andersons Chair of Agricultural Marketing, Trade and Policy, led the discussion examining the effects of the pandemic on global trade and U.S. agricultural trade, including an evaluation of the Phase 1 Trade Agreement with China.

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly had an impact on international trade.

“Global trade was forecast to decline by 9.2% in 2020, but then rise 7.2% in 2021 according to the World Trade Organization,” Sheldon said. “Those forecasts were originally made in late October and November of 2020. Forecast estimates initially looked much worse as their April forecast was for a decline of anywhere from 13% to 32%.”

There is still considerable uncertainty about the trajectory of trade for 2021 in light of the resurgence of COVID-19 at the end of 2020, as well as the discovery of the mutations of COVID-19 in Europe and now the United States. The federal government’s understanding of, and response to the pandemic and international trade issues is critical.

“It is important to understand the impact of the pandemic, and given the forecasts that both macroeconomic policy, be it fiscal policy or monetary policy; along with what we do or