The best new research on China's agricultural trade is now available in one publication, “Agricultural Trade and Policy in China: Issues, Analysis and Implications,” edited by UC agricultural economists Scott Rozelle and Daniel Sumner.

China's tremendous population, significant number of poor people and immense territory prompted the economists to learn what can be done in the area of agricultural economics to improve the country's future.

Additionally, Sumner said, “What happens in China resounds around the world. Even those with no direct interest in China must pay close attention to economic trends in China to better understand how they affect the rest of the world's economy.”

The first part of the book reviews China's trade patterns generally and agricultural trade patterns and policies more specifically. This section includes chapters on China's trade regime, grain trade, economic reform and food economy. Part two examines how the World Trade Organization will affect trade openness and how China's agricultural consumers and producers will respond.

Part three analyzes commodity policy in China, including the role of trade and linkages between China's internal and international markets. In the fourth part of the book, the authors explain how declines in agricultural research investments in China are putting the country's farmers at a disadvantage in competitive international markets. The final chapters of the book explore the future of China's agricultural trade.

“We look deeply at the commodity market and policy issues within China,” Sumner said. “How these issues are resolved will determine how agricultural trade proceeds in the future.”

“Agricultural Trade and Policy in China: Issues, Analysis and Implications” was conceived at the 1998 meeting of the International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium, held in San Francisco and co-sponsored by the UC Agricultural Issues Center. Sumner, director of the Agricultural Issues Center, is a former chair of the IATRC. The IATRC, made up of economists from 25 countries, was formed to improve public understanding of international trade and trade policy issues.

The new book on China's agricultural trade is the latest of 30 proceedings of IATRC meetings published as books, reports or electronic compendia.

The volume is also the outgrowth of an ongoing program at the UC Agricultural Issues Center led by Rozelle, the center's associate director. Rozelle is working with the Center of Chinese Agriculture Policy in Bejing to learn how Chinese farmers in general and the country's poor farmers in particular will be affected by China entering the World Trade Organization.

“This book lays the groundwork for studying questions that are right at the top of the policy-making agenda,” Rozelle said. “These are very important issues as China becomes a new and more important player in the next trade talks, the Doha Round.”

Copies of “Agricultural Trade and Policy in China: Issues, Analysis and Implications” are available for $89.95 from Ashgate Publishing. To find the publication on the Ashgate Web site, go to http://www.ashgate.com and follow this path: subject areas > economics > series listing > books published in this series > “The Chinese Economy Series.” A 15 percent discount is offered for online orders. Orders may also be placed by calling (800) 535-9544.