World Horticultural Trade and U.S. Export Opportunities
U.S. Horticultural Exports Up 6 Percent in First 10 Months of Fiscal Year 1997
WASHINGTON, Oct. 1, 1997--U.S. exports of horticultural products to all countries in July totaled $886.4 million, up 8 percent from the same month a year earlier. Eleven out of 15 categories registered increases. Categories with the most significant increases in July were wine (up $14.7 million or 61 percent), frozen vegetables (up $8.4 million or 28 percent), fresh non-citrus fruit (up $36.9 million or 23 percent) and fresh vegetables (up $18.3 million or 22 percent). Categories with the most significant decreases were tree nuts (down $28.5 million or 35 percent), and fruit/vegetable juices (down $5.7 million or 10 percent). During the first 10 months (October-July) of fiscal year 1997, the total value of U.S. horticultural exports was $8.8 billion--6 percent above the same period last year.
Mexicos avocado production in 1997/98 is forecast at a record 800,000 metric tons, 26 percent above the previous years weather reduced harvest. Mexicos fresh avocado exports in 1997/98 are also forecast at a record, 60,000 tons, 27 percent above the previous years shipments, based on expected higher exports to the United States. This higher export forecast would make Mexico the worlds largest avocado exporter, ahead of Israel. Mexico will begin exporting fresh avocados to the northeastern United States in November 1997. France is Mexicos top export market, and the United States is expected to become the second largest market in 1997/98. Although U.S. avocado imports from Mexico are expected to increase, it is not clear whether other foreign suppliers or U.S. producers will be affected most. In 1996/97, U.S. fresh avocado imports accounted for about 12 percent of total U.S. consumption.
Almond production in selected countries in 1997/98 is forecast to increase 31 percent to a record 431,000 metric tons, based on substantially larger harvests in the United States and Spain, the worlds two largest producing countries. Selected country exports in 1997/98 are forecast to rise about 12 percent to a near record 235,000 tons. Reduced world prices are likely in 1997/98 as larger quantities of almonds reach the market. U.S. almond exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 195,000 tons--12 percent above the previous season's shipments. The total value of U.S. almond exports in 1996/97 was a record $925 million, up 6 percent from last seasons record.
Hazelnut production (in-shell equivalent) in four selected countries in 1997/98 is forecast to increase 5 percent to 630,000 tons, with increases expected in all countries except Turkey. Total exports from selected countries in 1997/98 are forecast to fall 10 percent to 419,000 tons. An expected sharp fall in Turkish and Italian exports account for this decrease. A high domestic support price may make Turkish exports less competitive and increase stocks and domestic consumption. Reduced supplies, due to last seasons drawdown in stocks, may result in lower Italian exports. Strong international demand for high quality U.S. hazelnuts should maintain U.S. exports in 1997/98 close to the previous years level.
The first container of California table grapes to be exported to Chile cleared quarantine inspection on August 22 and went on sale in Santiago supermarkets the following day, according to the Agricultural Attache in Santiago. While U.S. imports of table grapes from Chile exceed $250 million annually, Chilean quarantine regulations until recently excluded the import of most fresh fruits from the United States.
New Zealand plant quarantine authorities announced on September 9 the finalization of an Import Health Standard which clears the way for the entry of U.S. mangoes. The favorable decision on mangoes follows last Januarys action by New Zealand to approve imports of U.S. asparagus and Florida citrus. New Zealand represents a growing market for U.S. horticultural products. During the first six months of 1997, U.S. exports of fresh fruits and vegetables were valued at $7 million, up 40 percent from the same period last year.
According to the U.S. Agricultural Counselor in Ankara, Turkey, the rainiest August in the past 42 years has damaged Turkeys 1997/98 industrial tomato (tomatoes intended for processing) crop. Turkeys tomato paste production forecast for 1997/98 has been reduced by about 35 percent, to 180,000 tons (28-30 degrees brix). A shortage of tomatoes has caused the cancellation of numerous export contracts, particularly at the quality end of the market. Processors are also under considerable financial pressure, since Turkey exports 70 percent of its production.
On September 8, the European Commission decided to ban all imports of Iranian pistachios following the discovery of some shipments of Iranian pistachios entering the European Union contaminated with aflatoxin B1, a known carcinogen. This temporary restriction on imports of Iranian pistachios will be reexamined in one month and then, if necessary, in two months. The ban will remain in effect until at least December 15. The Iranian Agriculture Ministry suggested that the aflatoxin B1 detected in shipments of Iranian nuts could have resulted from contamination in a third country or bad storage.
Mexico announced on September 1 in its preliminary anti-dumping finding that it has imposed, effective immediately, a provisional compensatory duty of 101.1 percent on imports of U.S. Red and Golden Delicious apples. This duty is likely to severely restrict U.S. apple exports to this important market, which grew from $9 million in calendar year (CY) 1990 to over $70 million in CY 1994 before the peso devaluation, and subsequently recovered to $42 million in CY 1996. Red and Golden Delicious apples comprise approximately 75 percent of total U.S. apple exports to Mexico.