World Horticultural Trade and
U.S. Export Opportunities
Foreign Agricultural Service, Press Release,
U.S. Horticultural Exports Up 7 Percent in December From a Year Earlier
WASHINGTON, Mar. 2, 1998--U.S. exports of horticultural products to all countries in December totaled $844 million, up 7 percent from the same month a year earlier. Eleven out of 15 categories registered increases. Categories with the most significant increases in December were fresh non-citrus fruit (up $20.1 million or 26 percent); fresh vegetables (up $17.5 million or 22 percent); fruit and vegetable juices (up $9.6 million or 22 percent); and wine (up $8.0 million or 32 percent). The categories with the most significant decreases were miscellaneous products (down $11.6 million or 6 percent) and tree nuts (down $5.8 million or 5 percent). From October to December 1997, 5 of the top 10 U.S. markets showed increases. Canada registered the largest increase for the first 3 months of fiscal year (FY) 1998 (up 13 percent over the same time period a year ago) followed by Mexico (up 16 percent). The largest decrease for the top 10 markets was for the Republic of Korea (down 20 percent). For FY 1998 to date (October-December), the total value of U.S. horticultural exports was $2.82 billion--1 percent above FY 1997. The horticultural product export forecast for total fiscal year 1998 has been reduced $400 million to $10.8 billion, based on reduced sales to Asian countries due to the financial crisis and currency devaluations in that part of the world. This is still above FY 1997's record total of $10.6 billion.
Apple production in selected countries in 1997/98 is forecast at 44.7 million metric tons, up 1 percent from the previous year's output. Larger apple crops in major producing countries, such as China, Argentina, and Chile, are likely to offset reduced production in the European Union (EU), Poland, Russia, and the United States. Selected countries' apple exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 4.3 million tons, 1 percent below the previous season's shipments. Reduced exports from the United States will likely offset higher exports from South America, the EU, and China. U.S. apple exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 510,000 tons, 24 percent below last season's shipments.
Pear production in selected countries in 1997/98 is forecast at 5.7 million metric tons, down 6 percent from 1996/97. The downturn mainly reflects a sharp reduction in EU pear production, especially in Italy. Selected countries' pear exports in 1997/98 are expected to decrease 5 percent from the previous season's shipments, based primarily on reductions in the EU pear crops. U.S. pear exports in 1997/98, on the other hand, are forecast to increase 30 percent to a record 155,000 tons. Increased production of good quality fruit in Washington, California, and Oregon and the related decline in U.S. pear prices, combined with smaller EU exportable supplies, have boosted U.S. pear export prospects in 1997/98. U.S. principal pear customers are Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Taiwan, in that order.
Grape exports from selected countries in 1997 are estimated at 1.7 million tons, down marginally from 1996. Chilean table grape exports declined 12 percent because of a late spring drought, which reduced supplies. U.S. table grape exports in 1997 reached 268,846 tons, up 25 percent from 1996, based on higher production and the opening of new markets, such as China and Chile. Canada, Hong Kong, and Mexico were the top three export markets for U.S. grapes.
Prune production in selected Northern Hemisphere countries in 1997/98 declined by an estimated 18 percent to 225,500 tons. Selected country Northern Hemisphere exports are forecast to increase 7 percent in 1997/98 to 92,200 tons, based on expected strong international demand boosted by promotional campaigns. U.S. prune exports in 1997/98 are forecast at a record 70,000 tons, based on expected strong sales to Japan and the Netherlands Antilles.
Wine production in 1997 in the selected Northern Hemisphere wine producing countries (France, Italy, Spain, and the United States) is estimated at 164.4 million hectoliters (hl), down 3 percent from the previous year. Production is estimated down because of lower production levels in France and Italy. U.S. wine production is estimated to reach a record 25 million hl in 1997, 32 percent above the previous year's output. U.S. wine exports (including cider, fermented beverages, and must) in 1997 reached a record $415 million, the 13th consecutive record-breaking year, and a 30 percent gain from the previous year. The major U.S. wine export markets were the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan.
Macadamia nut production and exports continue to grow due to strong international demand. Macadamia exports by selected countries in 1997/98 are forecast to increase 9 percent to 39,335 metric tons (in-shell basis). Australia remains the world's largest exporter of macadamias, accounting for more than 40 percent of the world total. Kenya ranks as the second largest exporter of macadamias, and the United States third. Although the United States is the world's largest producer of macadamias, it is also a significant importer in order to meet domestic needs.
Selected country kiwifruit production declined by 11 percent in 1997/98 due to severe frosts in Europe. Production in the Northern Hemisphere was down 20 percent, due principally to a 33-percent decline in Italian output. Selected country kiwifruit exports in 1997/98 are forecast to decline by 12 percent to 565,950 tons. Italy is expected to account for most of the decrease in exports. U.S. kiwifruit production in 1997/98 is forecast to increase 24 percent, to 35,381 tons. U.S. exports in 1997/98 should approximate last year's level of 5,438 tons. U.S. kiwifruit imports in 1997/98 are expected to decrease based on the larger harvest.
U.S. and Taiwan negotiators signed a market access agreement on February 20 in Washington, DC, which will provide improved access for a number of horticultural commodities. The agreement, which includes both immediate and phased-in commitments, was presented as a key step toward the eventual accession of Taiwan to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Tariffs were reduced on a number of products. For example, the tariff on frozen french fries was reduced from 17 percent to 15 percent, with a further cut to 12.5 percent scheduled for January 1, 2000. The duty on grapefruit was reduced from 25 percent to 20 percent for the period January-September, with a further cut to 15 percent to occur in the year 2000. Taiwan authorities agreed to establish an annual import quota of 5,000 metric tons for fresh potatoes from the United States at the current tariff rate of 25 percent. The quota is to be valid for product shipped between April 1 and November 30, and will be filled on a first come, first served basis with no import license required. The agreement also provides for an overhaul of Taiwan's import reference price system, a policy which has hampered market access for certain U.S. horticultural products, notably kiwifruit. The agreement establishes immediate steps to be taken by Taiwan to improve the system's transparency and provide exporting countries the opportunity to input into the reference price-setting process.