By Ashwani Kumar
| October 17th 2009 01:03 AM | Print
GM potential crops in world production and trade
To analyze the effect of consumer attitudes on trade patterns, we begin with a description of trade patterns in GM-potential crops. Data for production, consumption, and trade are from version four of the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) database, which is estimated for 1995 ([McDougall et al., 1998]). The main crops that have been genetically modified to date are soybeans and maize. The sectoral aggregation of this database therefore comprises a cereal grains sector (which includes maize but not wheat and rice) and an oilseeds sector (which includes soybeans) to reflect these two GM potential crops. The livestock, meat and dairy, vegetable oils and fats, and other processed food sectors are also singled out, since they are important demanders of oilseeds and cereal grains as intermediate inputs to production.
The importance of trade in GM-potential crops varies across the regions. For example, the value of oilseed exports relative to total value of production is significant for the Cairns group (15.7), the United States (28.7) and the Rest of South America (32.4). The Cairns group and the United States export a high share of the production of cereal grains, 9.7 and 16% respectively. Otherwise, most of the production of these two crops is consumed on the domestic markets. On the import side, the value of oilseed imports into Western Europe amounts to almost 40% of the total value of oilseed absorption. High-income Asia is also heavily dependent on imports of oilseeds (71.1% of absorption) and to a lesser extent cereal grains (18.3% of absorption). In general, the trade dependencies for livestock and processed food products, which use GM crops as intermediate inputs, are lower than for the agricultural sectors described above. However, trade in these products is still important for developing regions. For example, Sub-Saharan Africa exports 16% of its processed food products and 11% of its meat and dairy products. Low-income Asia exports 10% of its processed food products and 13% of its meat and dairy products.
The United States is the dominant exporter of both cereal grains and oilseeds, accounting for 76% of total cereal grain exports and 50% of total oilseed exports. High-income Asia is the main importer of cereal grains (41% of total imports) and the second largest importer of oilseeds (30% of total imports). The EU is the main importer of oilseeds (39% of total imports). In terms of processed food trade, countries in the Cairns group and the EU are large exporters of meat and dairy products and other processed food products. High-income Asia is a major importer of other processed food products. Developing countries account for a small share of global trade in GM-potential crops and processed products.
Bilateral export patterns indicate that a large share of US oilseed exports are sold in the EU and High-income Asia, 34 and 37%, respectively. The US is dependent on High-income Asia as a market for cereal grains, sending 49% of cereal grain exports to that region. Furthermore, Western Europe depends heavily on importing these crops from the US, with 44% of oilseed and 72% of cereal grain imports coming from the US.