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WORLD TRADE SITUATION AND POLICY UPDATES:
EXPORT NEWS AND OPPORTUNITIES:
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 FY1998 (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.