CIRCULAR SUMMARY Press Release
World Horticultural Trade and U.S. Export Opportunities
Foreign Agricultural Service
November 1997 Issue
U.S. Horticultural Exports Up 6 Percent for First 11 Months of Fiscal Year 1997
WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 1997--U.S. exports of horticultural products to all countries in August totaled $841 million, up 9 percent from the same month a year earlier. Eleven out of 15 categories registered increases. Categories with the most significant increases in August were fresh vegetables (up $15.7 million or 29 percent), fruit and vegetable juices (up $11.7 million or 23 percent), and fresh non-citrus fruit (up $18.3 million or 13 percent). Categories with the most significant decreases were fresh citrus (down $2 million or 8 percent) and dried fruit (down $2 million or 6 percent). During the first 11 months (October-August) of fiscal year 1997, the total value of U.S. horticultural exports was $9.7 billion--6 percent above the same period last year.
Apple production in selected Northern Hemisphere countries in 1997/98 is forecast at 32.8 million metric tons, up 2 percent from the previous year's output. A larger Chinese apple crop will likely more than offset reduced production in the European Union (EU). Northern Hemisphere apple exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 3.1 million tons, down 1 percent from the previous season's shipments based primarily on likely lower U.S. exports. A stronger U.S. dollar vis-a-vis other countries' currencies and the recent implementation of Mexico's anti-dumping duty on U.S. apples are expected to slow U.S. apple exports in 1997/98. U.S. apple exports in 1996/97, on the other hand, increased 19 percent to a near-record 666,857 tons. Strong demand from leading customers, such as Taiwan, Mexico, and Canada, boosted U.S. apple sales overseas in 1996/97.
EU canned fruit exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 440,000 tons, 31 percent below the previous season's shipments. Lower canned peach exports account for the bulk of the decrease in canned fruit exports. Sharply reduced European peach and pear crops, due to frosts, is the reason for the expected sharp drop in exports. Greece, the world's largest canned peach exporter, is expected to reduce exports by 47 percent, due to the reduced supplies. U.S. cling peach production in 1997/98, on the other hand, is the second largest in the last 16 years, and production of canning pears is expected to be the second largest ever. U.S. canned peach imports are expected to be much lower than in previous years, and exports are expected to increase in 1997/98, due to the reduced European supplies. Growers in Europe and the United States are already receiving higher prices for their fruit, due to the tighter world supplies.
Table grape exports from selected countries in 1997 are forecast at 1.63 million metric tons, 3 percent below record 1996 shipments. A sharp reduction in Chilean grape exports and likely lower exports from Europe will likely more than offset expected record shipments from the United States. Unfavorable growing conditions have reduced the table grape production estimate for Chile, the world's second largest table grape exporter. Frosts and heavy rains in Italy, France and Spain have also reduced crop prospects in those countries. U.S. exports are forecast at a record 235,000 tons in 1997, based on an expected larger harvest, the opening of new markets, and reduced exports from competitors.
Walnut exports from selected countries in marketing year 1997/98 are forecast to increase 5 percent to a record 211,500 metric tons (in-shell basis), as U.S. exports are forecast to rise 10 percent. U.S. walnut exports reached record levels in both quantity and value in 1996/97. The volume exported in 1996/97 exceeded 112,000 tons, up 6 percent from the 1995/96 record. Meanwhile, the export value reached $195 million, 8 percent above the previous year's level. Expanded U.S. sales to the European Union and Japan accounted for most of this increase.
U.S. pistachio production in 1997/98 is forecast at a record 80,300 metric tons. U.S. pistachio exports (in-shell equivalent) in 1997/98 are also forecast at a record 55,000 tons, 39 percent about the previous year's shipments. A possible sharp decrease in the Iranian pistachio harvest and likely reduced Iranian exports, combined with the current European Union ban on pistachio imports from Iran, should increase U.S. export opportunities. Major U.S. export markets include Hong Kong and the European Union.
Under a phytosanitary agreement signed in Beijing on May 12, California table grapes now have official access to China's market, and direct commercial shipments have commenced. On October 16, the first container of California table grapes cleared customs in Nanjing. Exports of California grapes to China were previously prohibited because of phytosanitary concerns, such as the Mediterranean fruit fly. With this agreement, California table grapes join Pacific Northwest apples and Washington State cherries as the only fresh fruits which can be officially exported to China.