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Early Adoption of Agile CTRM Critical for Any Agribusiness Planning Growth in 2021


Early Adoption of Agile CTRM Critical for Any Agribusiness Planning Growth in 2021

While productivity is the long-term propeller of economic growth, technology-enabled innovation is the major driver of productivity growth. Yet, we have seen modest growth productivity even as digital technologies boom. This is perhaps a function of resistance in transitioning towards new technology or being unable to find the right fit for business needs.

Considering the agribusiness, engaged in trading huge volumes of different commodities across continents, technologies like CTRM emerge as the most suited innovation to boost productivity. But how can organizations adopt this technology effectively?

In an industry replete with market-specific risks and challenges, a CTRM solution can provide effective solutions to enhance the efficiency of business processes and manage external uncertainties easily.

For instance, if you are a large agribusiness based in Toronto, exporting agriculture products to difficult-to-reach and risky markets like Libya, Syria, and Yemen, trading commodities can be challenging, especially when it involves high volumes and transactions, with a significant degree of volatility. It’s even more daunting to handle a range of commodities across grains, oilseeds, by-products, and specialty crops that service both feed and food markets, procured in one-half of the world and traded in another.

With an expanding footprint of operations in almost every continent in the world, the scale of operations can be an uphill task and even become unmanageable for organizations. So far, the agribusiness in Toronto deployed ERP systems that would break down tackling the burgeoning load of the growing business. Legacy ERP systems unequipped with the market and commodity-specific functionalities are responsible for loss in productivity. At the end of every month, the agribusiness would spend 5 to 8 days to close accounting books. A sizeable portion of work carried out manually on spreadsheets because their ERP system didn’t fully support features specific to trading in North American markets.

A multi-commodity Canadian agribusiness trading across continents, and many others like it, requires an advanced technological CTRM platform that can optimize their business processes and eliminate manual redundancies. A truly global and growing agribusiness needs a CTRM solution that can provide access to market-relevant data to make critical business decisions swiftly.

After implementing a CTRM solution, the agribusiness reduced their time to close end-of-month accounting books from 8 days to under 15 minutes.

The company also eliminated nearly 90% of its manual processes that required spreadsheets. It now spends less time extracting data manually, CTRM platform enables the agribusiness to bring all the information together in a few clicks.

Automation of redundant processes allowed the company to feed all the relevant information into the application at once and run multiple scenarios across commodities simultaneously and instantly. It enabled the company’s traders to compare more trade opportunities faster. The CTRM platform gave the traders more time to drill into results and rapidly analyze which trades were most profitable and why, so they make better decisions on future contracts.

Digitizing manual operations through implementing a CTRM solution not only increased efficiency but drove predictability and profitability as well. As the platform connected business units across the value chain, it enabled our Toronto-based trader to increase visibility and enhance the level of agility to respond to changing conditions in a volatile global marketplace.

As an upshot, CTRM aided in increasing the efficiency and reliability in its supply chain by planning and optimizing all aspects of the company’s multimodal logistics network. The platform linked Internal Movement Order (IMO) with Sales Movement Order (SMO), tagging respective sales orders with modes of transport and providing superior visibility into stock movement. Through this enhanced capability, the company was also able to optimize its stock adjustment activities while transloading, a common challenge in bulk transportation where businesses often incur additional terminal costs and delays.

An integral aspect of commodity trading as an agribusiness is vessel management. An integrated CTRM system enables traders, logistics, and finance people to look at the status of shipments in real-time. Planned Container Shipment (PCS) and Planned Bulk Shipment (PBS) solutions configured to the CTRM platform provide complete visibility into the movement of international stock shipments. This includes end-to-end vessel tracking, enhanced collaboration, and workflow management.

Having a deployed a comprehensive CTRM suite of solutions ensured optimal productivity at all stages of business, the agribusiness increased efficiency in PBS executions by 65% and PCS shipments by 50%.

Leveraging these applications of an adaptive CTRM suite, the company no longer manually extracts invoices from the system and emails them to finance for payment. The system sends automated alerts to finance on payments to be made, thereby enabling better internal controls.

Today, the Toronto-based agribusiness benefits from improved workflows and activity management escaping the shadows of an obsolete system. It shall continue to drive substantial gains in productivity and profitability, utilizing CTRM solutions which are quickly becoming indispensable for agribusinesses worldwide.


Eka Software Solutions is a global leader in providing digital commodity management solutions for the agriculture industry, driven by cloud, blockchain, machine learning, and analytics.

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agricultural subsidies


Everybody’s Subsidizing

$700 billion every year – that’s how much governments worldwide provide in some form of subsidy to their agricultural sectors. Researchers behind the OECD’s “Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation 2020” report found that the 54 countries studied (all OECD and EU countries, plus 12 key emerging economies) provide over $700 billion a year in total support to the agricultural sector. The vast majority of this, $536 billion, is in the form of payments to producers; the rest takes the form of consumer support and enabling services such as infrastructure investment or research and development.

Subsidies are in part, a recognition of the unique challenges that the agriculture sector faces – and the important role it plays in our society by ensuring food security. Farming is highly weather dependent and extremely vulnerable to uncontrollable events such as natural disaster. Agriculture also requires significant investment from producers in expensive equipment, inputs and labor before any profit can be made, and faces an obvious time delay between shifts in demand and supply.

700 billion

However, agricultural subsidies can also have trade-distorting effects. For this reason, they are the basis of many international disputes. In the recently negotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement agricultural subsidies played a key role: Canadian dairy subsidies were perhaps the biggest agriculture-related sticking point for the U.S., and Mexican tomato subsidies continue to cause tensions. Across the globe Brazil, Australia and Guatemala have disputed India’s subsidies to its sugar industry.

The complaint from least developed countries is that global subsidies disproportionately disadvantage their small producers, whose own governments cannot provide the same support, leaving them unable to compete with the heavily-subsidized farms of richer countries. Communities say that foreign products, such as European milk, are flooding their markets, crippling local herders and farmers and leaving consumers vulnerable to price changes.

The United States has borne the brunt of criticism for its agricultural subsidies. American farmers receive billions in support. However, when measured as a percentage of total farm revenues, South Korea, Japan, China, Indonesia and the EU all provide producer support above the global average of 12 percent, whereas the United States, along with Russia, Canada, and Mexico have historically been at or below this average.

China more than

Who Subsidizes the Most?

The tables below show the largest subsidizers ordered by total spending, and by percentage of gross farm revenues, according to the data collected by the OECD. Smaller countries like Norway, Iceland and Switzerland top the tables when it comes to support as a percentage of gross farm revenue at 57.6 percent, 54.6 percent and 47.4 percent respectively. The United States does not even make the top 10 on this measure, with total producer support calculated at 12.08 percent.

In terms of total spend, China, the EU, and United States comprise the top three. However, China spends almost four times as much as the United States, and more than the next three biggest spenders – the EU, United States and Japan – combined.

ag subsidies tables

Exactly how and to whom subsidies are dispensed differs widely by country, as do the goals of agricultural subsidy programs. Here we look at a few of the biggest subsidizers: China, the United States, Japan, and the EU, as well as the case of New Zealand, a nation with virtually none.

The United States

Throughout most of its early history, the United States did not subsidize agriculture. A nation largely founded by farmers and land workers held agriculture in high esteem, but was determined that no other group should be taxed to fund another. However, the Great Depression of the early 1900s and the presidencies of Hoover and Roosevelt reversed this. Hoover established the Federal Farm Board which fixed market prices for certain produce, inducing excess production of the supported items. Roosevelt supported the Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), which paid farmers not to produce in order to reduce agricultural surpluses.

In 2019, OECD data show that the United States provided agricultural support of over $48 billion, however, close to half of this was in the form of support to consumers through nutrition assistance programs. Federal support to agriculture has shifted and changed with various administrations, with the five-year Farm Bill being the primary legislative vehicle used to implement changes to the “farm safety net“, including government subsidies.

Under the rules of the WTO the United States, along with other developed countries, agreed to set limits on spending. The U.S. limit is $19.1 billion on certain types of “market distorting“ support. However, the latest data shows that direct support to farmers in 2019 was the highest it has been in 14 years, at around $22 billion, leading to questions about whether the United States exceeded its annual limit on “amber box” spending.

This spike is largely attributed to recent ad-hoc compensation to farmers, unrelated to the Farm Bill and initiated by the Trump administration, to compensate farmers for unforeseen losses. To make up for lower prices and lost sales caused by the U.S.-China trade war, the U.S. government committed billions in dollars to farmers in 2018 and 2019 through the Market Facilitation Program. When COVID-19 hit, and the administration implemented another program – the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program – to help farmers stay afloat despite disrupted supply chains. All in all, government payments to farmers are projected to reach as high as $37.2 billion in 2020.

China 4x more


China began subsidizing agriculture in earnest relatively recently but has quickly become the world’s biggest subsidizer by dollar amount. Formerly the nation’s primary source of employment, the Chinese government for years taxed agriculture to support urban populations. In 2004, China first implemented subsidies to protect rural workers from foreign competition. Although it has now evolved into a manufacturing economy, roughly half the labor force is still employed in agriculture, with lower living standards than their urban counterparts. The Chinese government subsidizes rural farmers to prevent political instability, while bolstering the production of particular crops to reduce reliance on foreign produce, such as U.S. soybeans.

China’s agricultural subsidies have ruffled the feathers of other world powers, particularly the United States, which won a WTO case against the country’s unfair wheat and rice subsidies. The U.S. Trade Representative complained that Chinese subsidies undercut U.S. producers exporting their produce to China’s vast market. The WTO panel investigating the issue found that in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, “China provided domestic support… in the form of market price support to producers of wheat, Indica rice and Japonica rice in excess of its commitment level of “nil””. Disagreements over subsidies remain a sticking point in the U.S.-China trade war.

China may be beginning to scale back its subsidies. After two decades of steady growth, the OECD data show that China’s share of gross farm receipts going to support producers has started to decline in the last two years. Given its astronomical spending it will take a long time for China’s spending to approach anything on par with the European Union, let alone the United States.

line charts on China spend


Japan’s agricultural subsidies as a share of gross farm revenues are two times above the OECD average, at 41.3 percent, remaining high despite over a decade of cutting back. About 80 percent of the support is in the form of market price support, artificially keeping prices at a certain level, which is achieved mainly by border controls for rice, milk and pork.

In their discussion paper for the International Food Policy Research Institute, Yoshihisa Godo and Daisuke Takahashi outline Japan’s unique subsidy landscape. Most Japanese farmers farm as a secondary business and have another stable source of income, yet they receive the same benefits as full-time farmers, without feeling the same need to innovate and compete. The political pressure these small plot farmers yield gives them much sway over farmland use regulations and other policies that benefit them, such as income compensation programs.

These issues result in inefficiency and a lack of productivity, helping to explain why Japan is the only country with a declining food self-sufficiency rate, entrenching established interests and driving away young potential farmers.

This puts Japan’s heavy agricultural protection in a category of its own. Whereas the action of heavy-subsidizers like Europe and the United States increase their agricultural output – in Japan it has decreased. This may help to explain why Japan is becoming more willing to reduce tariffs on agricultural goods, pledging to cut back such tariffs on pork and beef in their recent free trade agreements with the EU, United States and UK.

The European Union

Since 2010, government support to agriculture in the EU has been stable at around 19 percent. The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is an extensive EU-wide policy and their largest budget item, accounting for around 40 percent of the annual budget. It aims to support farmers, improve productivity, and safeguard the livelihoods of European farmers, while improving sustainability and protecting rural land. The EU’s outline of the CAP explains that farming requires special protections given its distinctness from other productive activities, such as its reliance on the weather and time delays. The CAP provides three forms of protection: income support through direct payments to farmers; market measures to combat price or demand drops; and rural development.

The centrally organized system however lends itself to opacity and corruption in the distribution of these subsidies in some member states where populist governments are able to capture the benefits and use them to reward friends and punish enemies. The burdensome administration process and system that doles out cash based on the amount of land-owned is also proving to be a roadblock for young farmers who access their land through non-conventional contracts or seek to start small – meaning they miss out on subsidies that are propping up their larger competitors.

Subsidies are also forming a key part of the UK-EU Brexit negotiations. UK farmers will lose out on billions of dollars of EU agricultural subsidies when the country breaks with the bloc, which will be a huge challenge for the government and the country’s farmers who will see a phasing out of subsidies they rely on to keep their farms afloat. But it will also provide an opportunity for them to take a new approach that rewards farmers who incorporate good environmental practices.

India and What’s Hidden in the Data

India is notably absent from these tables given that they are the world’s largest producer of milk, pulses and spices and second largest producer of rice, wheat and fruit among many others. They are undeniably an agricultural super power, so is it that they don’t subsidize? No, they definitely do, but the answer is a bit more complicated.

Indian farmers are aided by direct payments and large subsidies for inputs, such as irrigation water, power and fertilizers. Producers in India receive support corresponding to about 7.8 percent of gross farm receipts, as well as market price support of 2 percent. If we only take into account the positive support, India is subsidizing agriculture by over $11 billion. However, this is offset in the OECD data by what they term India’s negative market price support, which reflects the amount that domestic producers are implicitly taxed due to a series of complex domestic regulations and trade policy that more than offsets any gains they receive from subsidies to the tune of $77 billion, a -14.8 percent hit in terms of farm receipts.

Generally, developed countries such as OECD member countries have very low values for this negative market price support category, sometimes even zero. But other countries with restrictive domestic and trade policy – such as Argentina and Vietnam, which have negative support values of $11.4 and $5.2 billion respectively – hurt their producers in this way.

A World Without Subsidies? Just Look to New Zealand

Not all wealthy, agriculture driven countries rely on subsidies, however. Australia and New Zealand’s agricultural supports are just 1.85 and 0.7 percent of their gross farm revenues respectively. New Zealand in particular is a fascinating case. Its low agricultural support may be surprising given New Zealand is five times more dependent on farming than the United States.

In 1984 New Zealand’s government ended all farm subsidies, which at the time represented around 30 percent of the value of farm production. Despite fear and protests at the time, around twenty years after the action just one percent of farms had gone out of business and the value of farm output increased by 40 percent. By reacting to competitive pressure and consumer demand, cutting costs, and innovating, New Zealand farmers were able to rebuke the argument that agriculture needed government support to survive.

Effects of the “New Subsidizers”

Certain types of agricultural subsidies have trade-distorting effects, but their historical use among the biggest and wealthiest agricultural exporting countries provoked a “they’re doing it, so we should too” response. The biggest growth in subsidy use over the last decade has been among the fast-growing emerging economies such as China, India, and Turkey, clearly seen in the data from the OECD.

Given differing WTO rules on agricultural subsidies for developed versus developing countries, and the significant amount of spending particularly by China, this shift is important to recognize to both break old perceptions of who subsidizes and to ensure that new baselines are used to negotiate future rules on agricultural subsidies.


Alice Calder

Alice Calder received her MA in Applied Economics at GMU. Originally from the UK, where she received her BA in Philosophy and Political Economy from the University of Exeter, living and working internationally sparked her interest in trade issues as well as the intersection of economics and culture.


USTR, DOC, and Department of Agriculture Issue Plan to Investigate Foreign Imports of Certain Perishable Produce

On September 1, 2020 the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Department of Agriculture, and Department of Commerce issued a 32-page report outlining the Trump Administration’s plan to address increased foreign imports of perishable fruits and vegetables. Following the public hearings held in August, the Administration published this report in hopes to open a dialogue with senior Mexican Government officials over the next 90 days regarding specific produce.

The USTR requested that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) formally initiate an investigation under Section 201of the Trade Act of 1974 (Global Safeguard Investigation) with respect to imports of blueberries. Additionally, USTR intends to request that the ITC monitor and investigate imports of strawberries and bell peppers, which could lead to an expedited Section 201 investigations later this year.

The USTR is separately pursuing negotiations with the Mexican government to address U.S. industry concerns over imports of strawberries, bell peppers, and other perishable products. Section 201 investigations occur when a country experiences an unexpected surge in the import quantity of a certain product. The most recent Section 201 investigation was used to limit imports of solar panels and washing machines in 2018.

Other initiatives include the Department of Commerce improving communication with U.S. farmers responsible for growing the subject produce and assisting them in understanding trade remedy laws and procedures.

Similarly, the Department of Agriculture will develop a market promotion strategy for domestically produced produce and work with producers to maximize the use of existing agriculture programs. USTR, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Agriculture will establish an interagency working group to monitor seasonal and perishable fruit and vegetable products, coordinate as appropriate regarding future investigations and trade actions, and provide technical assistance to Congress in developing legislation on this issue.

The interagency announcement regarding imports of certain fruits and vegetables follows media reports that U.S. farmers are on track to receive a record $37.2 billion in subsidies from the government this year.


Stephen Brophy is an attorney in Husch Blackwell LLP’s Washington, D.C. office focusing on international trade.

Turner Kim is an Assistant Trade Analyst in Husch Blackwell LLP’s Washington, D.C. office.

Camron Greer is an Assistant Trade Analyst in Husch Blackwell LLP’s Washington, D.C. office.



A new survey of Nebraskans finds that citizens appreciate trade’s benefits, especially for farmers and ranchers, but want more reliable information about trade policy.

Anxious but confident: the more international trade the better

Nebraskans surveyed are anxious about the economy but confident with respect to the importance of trade to their state’s agricultural production complex.

Released last month by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), the new report, “U.S. Foreign Policy for the Middle Class: Perspectives from Nebraska,” assesses state views about how U.S. foreign policy interacts with the economic wellbeing of the middle class in the nation’s heartland. The research team interviewed over 130 Nebraskans in six communities across the state in the summer of 2019 (before the economy was further affected by the coronavirus pandemic) to gauge their perceptions.

Whether respondents hailed from urban Omaha or rural Scottsbluff, and whether they worked directly in agriculture or in health care, local government or education, those interviewed were remarkably consistent and clear on the subject of trade policy and the state’s agriculture sector: the more international trade, the better.

Focus Group Cities

The big picture is not the only picture in the Nebraska economy

Macro-level statistics obscure the importance of Nebraska’s agriculture sector. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that manufacturing contributes more than twice as much as agriculture to Nebraska’s GDP (10.9 percent versus 4.9 percent, respectively). But within manufacturing, “food and kindred products” is the top category. The broader agricultural production complex includes processing but also transportation, warehousing, agriculture-related research, and other professional services such as IT, legal, insurance, and financial.

Thus, while Nebraska has a diversified economy and workforce, one in four jobs is directly or indirectly tied to the state’s agricultural production complex, according to UNL researchers. Some interviewees pointed to main street businesses like car dealerships as a barometer for agriculture, saying that farmers are more likely to purchase new cars or trucks when they have profitable years.

As the report notes, “Even if they do not hold one of those ag-related jobs, most Nebraskans likely benefit in some way from the revenues the sector generates. That may explain why so many of those interviewed, whether directly involved with agriculture or not, said they supported any trade policies that worked best for farmers, ranchers, and others associated with the agricultural production complex.”

Trade a most important foreign policy

Exports dominate the discourse on trade

The Nebraskans interviewed spoke about trade almost exclusively in terms of exports, perhaps not surprising for a state that consistently ranks highly in the production and export of many agricultural products from soybeans and corn to beef and beef products. Nebraska’s most important export markets are Canada and Mexico, U.S. free trade agreement partners.

The majority of those interviewed saw U.S. trade agreements as benefiting Nebraskan agriculture, in particular the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and the U.S. trade deal with Japan (as a second best alternative to the Transpacific Partnership, from which the U.S. withdrew in 2017). While many supported the President’s tough stance against China, they also worried about the potential for future lost market share due to shifting supply chains brought on by the trade war. In the voice of one interviewee, over the long run, the United States needs to “focus [more] on developing markets…and less…on picking a fight with China.”

The seeming invisibility of imports

Imports were rarely mentioned by those interviewed, whether from a consumer or supply chain perspective. Aside from one manufacturer who said that increased steel tariffs had put cost pressure on his inputs, most discussion of tariffs revolved instead around retaliation on U.S. agriculture exports, not the impact of U.S. tariffs on imports. This is not surprising: exports are celebrated in news releases and headlines. Import data is portrayed in the negative light of trade imbalances. Imports of intermediate goods make up 60 percent of global trade by some estimates, but in the form of parts and components for the production of final goods, they lack visibility.

U.S. import tariffs have likely affected consumer prices to some degree. In research prepared for the Yeutter Institute by Edward Balistreri of Iowa State University, tariffs imposed in 2018 and 2019 as part of the U.S.-China trade war may have cost Nebraska’s households as much as $600 per year through a combination of lost export opportunities, increased productions costs, and increased consumer prices. A potential doubling of tariff costs on imported items theoretically risked households near the lower bounds of the middle-income range falling out of the middle-income bracket while those tariffs were in place. Despite being a pocketbook issue, the cost of imports was notably absent as a topic of discussion across interviews.

View on China engagement

There is more than one “heartland”

The Carnegie Endowment conducted similar interviews and focus groups in Ohio in 2018 and Colorado in 2019. There are important nuances among and within these three states. On trade policy, Nebraskans were far more aligned in their views than Ohioans.

Nebraskans tend to view agriculture as the backbone of the state’s economy, leading to more consistent opinions on the beneficial role of trade. Ohio has a much larger manufacturing workforce that has experienced heavy losses in recent years, with trade policy and globalization often taking the blame. This perception has led to deep divisions over trade policy among those interviewed in Ohio.

In comparing the three states, the report notes that such “place-based economic considerations appeared to drive attitudes on the intersection of U.S. foreign policy with the perceived economic interests of America’s middle class.”

“I don’t trust Washington”

Unfortunately, where participants in all three states did seem to agree was in their mistrust of institutions and their sources of information regarding foreign policy.

Project participants consistently said they did not trust the news media or official Washington to provide unbiased information about trade and foreign policy. As a result, many said they do not always feel they have enough knowledge to develop well-informed opinions. They also do not believe that decisions about foreign policy are made with middle America’s economic interests in mind.

One Nebraska participant illustrated a common sentiment in expressing, “I don’t think anybody knows what the truth is and I don’t …trust Washington to tell me what the truth is.” If participants wanted to learn more about trade and foreign policy, they often said they did not know where to find trustworthy sources of information.

Quote about trust

How to amplify middle-class voices?

At a time of intense debate over what the aims of U.S. trade policy should be, such depth of perspective from Americans across the country is important. Do we need new structures to gather it?

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative formally seeks public comment as part of its process to determine negotiating priorities and statutorily maintains 26 advisory committees to make sure U.S. negotiating objectives “reflect U.S. public and private sector interests.” The advisory system includes a committee designed for input from state and local level leaders. Yet these structures are neither visible nor accessible to most Americans.

Elected officials may of course offer input outside of these constructs. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts gave an example on an episode of the Yeutter Institute’s Trade Matters podcast:

“When there was a rumor that the United States was going to pull out of the South Korean Trade Agreement, I picked up the phone on a Friday afternoon to call our U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Lighthizer, to tell him how bad that would be for Nebraska,” Governor Ricketts said.

“He called me back on Sunday afternoon, so very responsive…he doesn’t always tell you what you want to hear, but certainly wanted to listen as I was talking about why South Korea was such an important trading partner.”

Place-based trade policies?

Governor Ricketts’ comments and the report findings reinforce a central conundrum of trade policy: it has disparate impacts on the economies of different U.S. states.

In their pursuit of the national interest, foreign policy professionals, including trade negotiators, understandably do not want to pick winners and losers or wade into domestic politics. But integrating more information about the economic experience of middle-class Americans into the trade policymaking process can help inform policy options that anticipate the losses — and local opportunities — from trade policy.

Meanwhile, what about those who said they wanted to learn more about trade and foreign policy, but did not know where to find information they could trust? They also reported that locally trusted leaders can play a key role in how people think about policies. Perhaps such leaders are a starting point for deeper conversations about trade.

Related in the series by The Carnegie Endowment on U.S. Foreign Policy for the Middle Class:

-Perspectives from Colorado

-Perspectives from Ohio


Jill O'Donnell

Jill O’Donnell is a professor of practice and the director of the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She is the host of the institute’s Trade Matters podcast. She served on the research team for the report discussed in this article, along with colleagues from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Bureau of Business Research and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, in partnership with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.

U.S. Export Volume Expected to Climb in 2015

Baltimore, MD –   U.S. exports are expected to grow by $88 billion or 5 percent, in 2015, despite tepid global GDP growth, according to a research report just released by trade credit insurance provider, Euler Hermes.

According to the company’s latest Economic Insight report, the U.S.’s biggest export gains in 2015 will come from Canada, China and Mexico.

The report also projects strong export increases to smaller countries in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, “reflecting recent rapid growth in these emerging markets, while also providing the U.S. with more diversification in its export composition.”

Export gains will primarily come from the agrifood, chemicals, energy and mechanical sectors. Textiles and ferrous metals show the smallest increases as the U.S. has become a much smaller player globally within these industries.

As U.S. energy companies are expected to start exporting natural gas globally by the end of 2015, revenues from this sector could be significant, growing from $16 billion in 2012 to $42 billion in 2040 or nearly 1 percent of GDP.

The planned 2016 expansion of the Panama Canal, which may double its capacity, “will also boost U.S. trade by allowing larger ships to carry exports from the U.S. through the canal, significantly reducing costs and making those exports more competitive.”

The U.S.’s largest trade deficit is with China, but several factors could shrink it, especially as China pivots toward a more domestically driven economy, and as the U.S. natural gas boon and favorable labor conditions have reduced China’s competitive wage advantage to the point that a growing number of companies are opting to ‘in-source’ their manufacturing.

In the coming year, the value of the U.S. dollar is expected to rise in 2015 making U.S. exports more expensive and less competitive with export financing faces several challenges, including tight lending conditions and risk-averse bankers.

Rising rates in 2015, the report says, “may make financing more costly and/or harder to obtain, especially given fragile global growth and geopolitical uncertainty.”

In addition, global business insolvencies “are expected to fall 3 percent, a much slower rate than 2014’s decrease of 12 percent.”

At the same time, insolvencies still remain 12 percent above 2007’s pre-crisis levels, meaning that exporters will need to continue stringently evaluating their partners for insolvency risk.

To further promote U.S. exports, two major trade agreements – the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – are currently being negotiated.

Both agreements  are being structured to reduce the burden of Customs, regulations, tariffs and taxes, lower barriers to trade, and allow increased access to new markets.

“Demand for U.S. exports is, of course, dependent on the strength of the global economy,” said Dan North, senior economist for Euler Hermes Americas.

“While the global economy is set to enter its fourth straight year of lackluster growth, the U.S. economy continues to grow and many of our industrial sectors are showing strength both at home and abroad.”