U.S. horticultural product exports in fiscal year (FY) 1997 reached a thirteenth consecutive annual record, $10.6 billion, up 6 percent from FY 1996. Canada was the top U.S. market, with sales of $2.87 billion in FY 1997, 10 percent above FY 1996. Fresh vegetables were the largest U.S. horticultural export to Canada, accounting for 25 percent of the total. The European Union (EU) was second at $2.17 billion, up 1 percent from FY 1996. Edible tree nuts were the largest U.S. export to the EU, accounting for 32 percent of U.S. exports there. Exports to Japan, the third largest U.S. market, decreased 5 percent in FY 1997 to $1.83 billion, due primarily to the strong U.S. dollar. Fresh citrus and frozen vegetables were the largest exports to Japan, accounting for about 28 percent of total U.S. exports.
Rising incomes in many countries, tariff reductions around the world resulting from the Uruguay Round Agreement, and ongoing Market Access Program activities have continued to propel demand for U.S. horticultural products and diversified the number of large export markets. The share of U.S. horticultural exports to the top 3 markets decreased to 65 percent in FY 1997 from 72 percent in FY 1990, while the share of U.S. exports to all other countries increased to 35 percent from 28 percent during the same time period. Substantial increases since FY 1990 occurred, for example, to Hong Kong, the fourth largest U.S. market (up 127 percent); Mexico, the fifth top market (up 196 percent); Taiwan, the sixth market (up 108 percent); Korea, the seventh top market (up 268 percent); Brazil, the eighth market (up 601 percent); and the Philippines, the number 9 market (up 146 percent).