U.S. farm exports will fall back to $190 billion this fiscal year, a drop of 4 percent from the record set in just-ended fiscal 2022, as economic growth slows in most countries, forecast the Agriculture Department on Tuesday. Soybeans, the No. 1 ag export, as well as cotton and corn would see the largest declines, jointly falling by 7 percent.
China was far and away the top customer for U.S. food and ag exports, despite rising tensions between the nations and the still-unresolved trade war, according to government data released on Monday. Agricultural economist David Widmar said China was on track to break the record it set last year for purchases of American agricultural products.
Doug McKalip told senators that if he’s confirmed as U.S. chief agricultural negotiator, “it will be my duty to break down the barriers” to U.S. food and ag exports. During a friendly and relatively brief confirmation hearing on Thursday before the Senate Finance Committee, he pledged to press U.S. trade partners to live up to existing agreements.
The U.S. International Trade Commission on Monday voted to reject steep duties on ammonium nitrate fertilizers from Trinidad and Tobago and Russia, going against a recommendation for tariffs from the Commerce Department.
Ocean carriers will be barred from unreasonably refusing to load U.S. cargo, a practice that blossomed during pandemic-related port congestion, under a bill signed into law by President Biden on Thursday.
In his second attempt to fill the post, President Biden nominated Doug McKalip on Wednesday to be the U.S. chief agricultural negotiator, working with U.S. trade representative Katherine Tai. The post has been vacant since Biden took office, to the increasing dismay of farm-state lawmakers and the agribusiness sector.
The United States will export a record $191 billion worth of agricultural products this fiscal year as the world scrambles to replace the corn, wheat, and vegetable oil it would normally get from Russia and Ukraine, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday. It would be the second year in a row of record-high farm exports.
President Biden selected two veterans of U.S. agriculture and nutrition policy for sub-cabinet positions at the Agriculture Department. Stacy Dean was nominated to serve as undersecretary for nutrition and Alexis Taylor to be undersecretary for trade, announced the White House. Dean has been the senior official overseeing USDA nutrition programs since Biden took office and Taylor has been Oregon's agriculture director since December 2016.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine will have, at most, a muted effect on U.S. food prices, said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday. “We have tremendous (domestic) production capacity,” he told reporters attending the USDA’s annual Agricultural Outlook Forum.
China is buying less U.S. crops and livestock than expected, particularly soybeans, and America's ag exports are feeling the pinch. Sales are forecast at a highest-ever $175.5 billion this fiscal year, said the USDA on Tuesday, but just like the record set last year, the crest was not as high as it looked in the summer.
Propelled by the global economic recovery from the pandemic, U.S. farm exports will set back-to-back sales records this fiscal year and in the new year beginning on Oct. 1, the government forecast on Thursday. China would account for $1 of every $5 in exports during the two-year span, with annual purchases running more than $10 billion above its previous record, set in 2014.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack named Daniel Whitley to be administrator of the Foreign Agricultural Service on Wednesday. He has been the acting chief of the agency, which tracks food and agriculture issues worldwide and promotes U.S. goods.
President Biden announced a breakthrough in the long-running U.S.-EU dispute over airliner subsidies on Tuesday: Suspension of retaliatory tariffs on each other's products for five years beginning in July. The overall $4 billion in EU tariffs included duties on $1.4 billion of U.S. ag exports from frozen seafood to cotton, wheat, tobacco and alcohol.
The Biden administration elevated a long-simmering dispute over Canadian dairy quotas on Tuesday by calling for a three-judge panel to decide the matter under USMCA rules. It was the first time that a dispute settlement panel was invoked under the trade agreement that took effect last July 1.
Global trade in food and agricultural products grew by 3.5 percent last year, according to the WTO, leading to descriptions that the sector was robust and resilient in the face of the worst pandemic in a century. However, a USDA working paper says the impact of the coronavirus was obscured by such factors as the de-escalation of the Sino-U.S. trade war.
Trade ministers from Canada, Mexico and the United States are scheduled to confer digitally on Monday and Tuesday in the first meeting of the USMCA's Fair Trade Commission, with dairy expected to be the hot topic. U.S. dairy groups called on Sunday for the Biden administration to escalate an ongoing complaint against Canadian dairy quotas unless this week's meeting produces results.
U.S. fertilizer companies are "materially injured" by imports of subsidized phosphate fertilizer from Russia and Morocco, said the U.S. International Trade Commission on Thursday, so it approved, on a 4-1 vote, the imposition of countervailing duties on the imports.
U.S. farm exports are forecast by the USDA to hit a record $157 billion this year, aided by a weaker dollar against many foreign currencies. Agricultural lender CoBank says the impact will be somewhat uneven, with meat and dairy products benefiting the most.
The world's most populous country is already its largest meat-importing nation and "looks like it's poised to play a major role in meat markets in the future," said USDA senior economist Fred Gale on Thursday. China's imports of beef, pork, and poultry are projected by the USDA to grow 29 percent in the coming decade.