U.S. food and ag exports are concentrated in four markets that generate nearly $6 of every $10 in sales, said two senior U.S. ag trade officials on Thursday. To expand sales volume, they said at a trade group meeting, new customers must be developed in countries that have been off the export radar in the past.
U.S. farm exports will be the smallest in four years due to lower prices for wheat, corn, and cotton, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. China would remain the No. 1 customer for food and ag products, with Mexico a close second.
The government will provide up to $300 million for the first year of a new program to build food and ag export sales in nontraditional markets, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday. The USDA has committed $1.2 billion over five years for the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) after the second year in a row of declining ag exports.
The Agriculture Department will counter a decline in farm exports by seeking sales in new markets, including non-traditional destinations, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. Vilsack announced a calendar of six agricultural trade missions for 2024 and the opening of a comment period on how to allot $1.3 billion in the new Regional Agricultural Promotion Program.
The United States ran a record agricultural trade deficit of $16.6 billion in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, said a USDA database. The deficit was smaller than the forecast of $19 billion but fiscal 2023 was the third deficit in the last five years.
The new farm bill will not enacted until next year because of continuing disagreements over issues such SNAP benefits and higher crop subsidies, said Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow on Wednesday. “I am committed to passing a strong, bipartisan farm bill as soon as possible,” she said, but the process is taking longer than hoped.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack should tap a USDA reserve fund to expand international food aid and export promotion programs, said the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee in a letter released on Wednesday.
As a sign of partnership, India will remove retaliatory tariffs on U.S. apples, chickpeas, lentils, almonds, and walnuts, said U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai on Thursday, The decision was announced as part of a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington.
Competition from South America will crimp U.S. corn and soybean exports over the summer, according to a forecast by the Agriculture Department in its monthly WASDE report.
The Biden administration asked for USMCA consultations with Mexico over its ban on imports of GMO corn for human consumption, the last step before filing a trade complaint in the long-running dispute.
After setting a record last year, U.S. farm exports will shrink 8 percent this year, due to tightening economic conditions worldwide and lower commodity prices, said the Agriculture Department on Wednesday. The $15.4 billion decline in sales would be most pronounced for corn, cotton, beef, and soybeans.
If the United States takes its complaint against Mexico's ban on imports of GMO white corn to a USMCA panel, it could take 155 days — until late December or even January — for a final resolution, although a U.S. victory is likely, said three Ohio State University analysts.
The Biden administration is writing “a new story on trade” that emphasizes cooperation with allies because countries such as China have abused open markets and low tariffs, U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai said in a speech on Wednesday.
The United States lost its place as the world's largest wheat exporter a decade ago, and now its leadership in exports of corn, cotton and tree nuts is being challenged, said a new USDA report. "Changes in global patterns of production and agricultural markets affected U.S. export competitiveness during the last two decades," said the Economic Research Service.
Operators of large farms are losing faith in exports as an ever-growing market for U.S. crops and livestock, said a Purdue poll released on Tuesday. Only one-third of farmers surveyed for the monthly Ag Economy Barometer said they expected agricultural exports to increase over the next five years, down from 72 percent in 2020.
A global economic slowdown will combine with inflation, higher interest rates, and the strong dollar to erode U.S. food and agriculture exports by 12 percent through fiscal 2026, projected the USDA on Wednesday.
Foreign trade and U.S. food aid will be the subjects on Wednesday of "the first of many hearings the committee has planned as we gear up for the 2023 farm bill," said the leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee.
On the day before President Biden was to meet Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the head of the largest U.S. farm group called for prompt resolution of a threat by Mexico to block imports of U.S. corn in one year's time.
The drought-hit U.S. cotton crop is slightly larger than previously thought, at 14 million bales, but exports are stagnant for this marketing year, said the USDA on Thursday. The monthly WASDE report said cotton production was down worldwide.