U.S. exports of horticultural products to all countries in October reached $1.07 billion, up 11 percent from the same month a year earlier. Eleven out of 15 categories of horticultural exports registered increases. Categories with the most significant increases in October were tree nuts (up $64.8 million or 33 percent); fresh vegetables (up $16.7 million or 23 percent); fresh noncitrus fruit (up $13.5 million or 11 percent); and wine (up $9.2 million or 37 percent). The category with the most significant decrease was fresh citrus (down $9.6 million or 22 percent). The forecast for fiscal 1997 horticultural exports is $10.5 billion, 5 percent above the revised 1996 value of $10.0 billion. This increase is based on the expectation of continued sales recovery to Mexico and steady growth to key Pacific Rim countries, Latin American countries, and Canada. Export growth to Japan, the third largest horticultural export market after Canada and the EU-15, is expected to remain slow due in part to the relative strength of the dollar.
French fry exports in 1996/97, from 3 major exporting countries - - the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands - - are forecast at a record 1.58 million metric tons, 5 percent above the previous year's shipments. All 3 countries are expected to register export gains in 1996/97. Canada is expected to account for nearly 50 percent of the combined 3 countries' export increase in 1996/97. U.S. frozen french fry exports reached a record $256.3 million and 350,000 tons in 1995/96, double the value and volume of just 5 years ago. U.S. french fry exports are forecast to increase 7 percent in 1996/97. Rising per capita incomes in many countries, ongoing Market Access Program activities, and the increasing popularity of U.S.-style fast food restaurants, particularly in East Asia and Latin America, are expected to continue to spur demand for french fries. Japan is the largest U.S. market, accounting for more than half of total U.S. shipments.
The smaller U.S. sweet corn pack in 1996, estimated at 2.96 million metric tons, down 2 percent from 1995, is expected to lower carryover stocks for canned and frozen sweet corn. U.S. exports of canned sweet corn in 1996 are forecast at 166,000 tons, 2 percent above the 1995 volume. Japan is the top U.S. market for canned sweet corn, with the United States accounting for 90 percent of Japan's imports. Other major U.S. canned corn markets include Taiwan, Hong Kong, Germany, Korea, the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands. U.S. exports of frozen sweet corn in 1996 are expected to approximate the 1995 level. Thailand's canned sweet corn production is expanding in response to strong export markets.
Ten years after the inception of the Canned Fruit Agreement (CFA) in 1985, the European Union (EU) continues to increase subsidies, production and exports of canned peaches. EU production increased from 386,000 tons in 1985 to over 549,000 tons in 1995. In 1985 the EU became a net exporter of canned peaches. Exports to third countries during the last 10 years increased from 10,600 tons to 167,000 tons. Since the beginning of the canned fruit regime, the EU's share of world exports increased from 30 to 76 percent. Now other producing countries are beginning to voice concern over excessive EU practices and some major EU producers are publicly indicating that it may be time to implement some real reform.
U.S. orange exports to Korea in 1997 are expected to reach a record 40,000 tons. U.S. oranges account for virtually all of Korea's orange imports. Under the terms of the Uruguay Round Agreement, the import quota for oranges was 15,000 tons in 1995, 20,000 tons in 1996 and will increase to 25,000 tons during the first 6 months of 1997 with full liberalization on July 1, 1997. Orange imports are expected to total 25,000 tons in the first half of 1997 with trade sources expecting imports to reach an additional 15,000 tons during the second half of the year. The first 25,000 tons of oranges entering Korea in 1997 will be subject to a tariff of 50 percent. Beginning on July 1, 1997, over-quota imports will be allowed to enter subject to a tariff of 88 percent. The tariff rate quota increases after 1997 until it reaches 57,000 tons in 2004, and the over-quota tariff gradually declines until it falls to 55% in 2004.