Foreign trade policy

Agricultural markets are places where agricultural products and raw materials are exchanged and prices for these products and materials are set. Traditionally, many of these markets were heavily regulated within the EU. Through the EU's agricultural reforms, however, governmental influence has declined continually over the last two decades, which has meant that the role played by developments on global markets and international agricultural futures markets in setting prices has become increasingly important.

Since 2007, global price developments for agricultural commodities have been dominated by rising prices and greater price fluctuation. Improved transparency and appropriate regulation of agricultural futures markets have been introduced in an attempt to help limit possible negative effects that financial investors may cause, reduce insecurity about supply and stocks, and in this way stabilise price formation.

The greater the uniformity of trade regulations, and the fewer obstacles impeding trade, the better international trade can function. The BMEL's aim in this regard is to develop the international trade agreements in a manner that on the one hand enables the multifunctional European agricultural sector to remain a viable model in the future, and on the other that also enables developing countries to participate in world trade on an equal footing. To receive competent advice in issues relating to international trade, the BMEL has set up the Economic Committee on Foreign-Trade Issues (WAA).

Exports of goods from the agri-food sector are of great economic importance to the Federal Republic of Germany. The BMEL provides German enterprises with targeted support in the development of new markets via export promotion measures, participation in trade fairs, and the removal of barriers to trade.

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Overview of topics

Facts and figures on German agricultural exports

The German agricultural and food industries are well positioned internationally: Germany has for many years been the world's third largest overall exporter of agricultural goods and the No. 1 exporter of confectionery, cheese, pork and agricultural technology.

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Export promotion programme for the German agri-food sector

The BMEL operates a programme to support the German agri-food sector in its endeavours to open up new markets abroad. The programme is constantly being refined and adapted to current requirements.

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Price fluctuations (volatility) of agricultural commodities

In recent years, price fluctuations and price spikes on global commodity markets have increasingly come to the forefront of public attention. Particularly in developing and emerging countries that are dependent on imports, extreme price fluctuations can put food supplies at risk during times of low supply and high demand.

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The European Union's free trade agreements

Free trade is one of the major drivers of growth for the world economy. Both consumers and enterprises can derive great benefit from it - the history of the European Union shows this.

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