Quantitative models are necessary tools to represent the extremely complex interrelationships between agricultural activities and their environmental and socioeconomic consequences. It is a well-established fact that reactions to policy intervention on bio-natural and socioeconomic structures are rarely satisfactorily explainable or predictable on the basis of simple intellectual constructions. This contribution provides a review and assessment of different types of applied modeling allowing for informed discussion. A global framework is drawn up for market structures and policy measures in developed and developing countries. Salient policy issues on agricultural trade and emerging challenges including environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation are discussed as an introduction to the core survey of the quantitative tools currently used in tackling these issues.