World Horticultural Trade and
U.S. Export Opportunities
U.S. Horticultural Exports for April Up 4 Percent From a Year Earlier
WASHINGTON, July 1, 1998--U.S. exports of horticultural products to all countries in April totaled $865.5 million, up 4 percent from the same month a year earlier. Nine out of 15 categories registered increases. Categories with the most significant increases in April were wine (up $21.1 million or 65 percent), fresh vegetables (up $15 million or 14 percent), tree nuts (up $12.7 million or 20 percent), and frozen vegetables (up $5.6 million or 16 percent). The categories with the most significant decreases were miscellaneous products (down $21.3 million or 10 percent) and fruit/vegetable juices (down $6 million or 10 percent). For fiscal year (FY) 1998 to date (October-April), the total value of U.S. horticultural exports was nearly $6.1 billion--1 percent below FY 1997 for the same period.
Favorable weather and higher market prices triggered a rise in output of processing tomatoes in selected countries. The production of processing tomatoes in 11 major producing countries in 1998 is forecast at 21 million metric tons, up 9 percent from 1997. The rise in production is the result of larger increases expected in Turkey, Israel and Portugal. Tomato paste exports in selected countries for 1998/99 are forecast to increase 16 percent from the previous year, with canned tomato exports forecast to increase less than 1 percent, due to higher consumption and reduced carryover stocks. U.S. tomato paste exports to date (July-April) 1997/98 totaled 115,000 tons, up 5 percent from the same period last year. Canada, Japan, South Korea, and Italy accounted for the lion's share of U.S. paste exports.
Fresh citrus production in selected countries in 1997/98 is forecast at 69.8 million metric tons, 2 percent below the previous year's output. An expected 3.8-million-ton decrease in Brazilian citrus production (all oranges) will more than offset larger harvests in Spain and the United States. The lower production is expected to reduce sharply the amount of oranges processed. The amount of citrus expected to be processed in 1997/98 is forecast at 27.8 million tons, down 10 percent from the previous year. Selected country fresh citrus exports in 1997/98, however, are forecast to increase 2 percent to a record 8.27 million metric tons. Increased exports from Spain, the world's largest citrus exporter, and Morocco will likely more than offset lower exports from the United States. The strong U.S. dollar and the weaker economy in Japan are adversely affecting U.S. exports.
Orange juice supplies in selected countries in 1997/98 (including 1998 production in Southern Hemisphere countries) are forecast at 2.83 million metric tons (65 degrees brix), 5 percent below the previous year's record 3.0 million metric tons. An expected sharp decrease in Brazilian orange juice production will likely more than offset record output and stocks in the United States. The United States is expected to surpass Brazil as the world's top orange juice producer for the first time since 1980/81. Orange juice exports from selected countries in 1997/98 are forecast at 1.33 million tons - - 12 percent below the previous season's shipments. Brazil, the world's largest exporter, is expected to reduce exports by 16 percent, more than offsetting likely higher exports from the United States and Mexico. U.S. orange juice exports are currently running slightly behind last year's record pace. Reduced U.S. shipments to date to Europe account for the decrease. However, U.S. exports are expected to increase as the season progresses.
According to the U.S. Agricultural Minister-Counselor's office in Seoul, Korea's government formally approved increased residue tolerance levels for a number of pesticides used commonly on fresh oranges effective May 16, 1998, a very favorable development for U.S. citrus exporters. In the past, Korea had rejected several shipments of California oranges due to violative levels of pesticide residues. In all cases, Korea's established tolerance levels for the pesticides in question (i.e., carbaryl and methidathion) were well below that of Codex, of which Korea is a member. FAS had formally requested that Korea raise its tolerance levels to match those of Codex and, in January, the Korean government publicly announced its intention to do so. The value of U.S. orange exports to Korea in calendar year 1997 topped $20 million, up from $14 million in the preceding year.
Yemen's government has issued a decree opening its market, effective immediately, to a range of fresh fruits and vegetables, according to a report from the Agricultural Trade Officer headquartered in Riyadh. Items that can now be legally imported under the recent decree include pears, kiwifruit, strawberries, cranberries, dates, figs, avocados, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, celery, eggplant, mushrooms, sweet corn, spinach, and sweet potatoes. Yemeni government officials have further indicated that a second tranche of fresh fruit and vegetable products will be liberalized on January 1, 1999, with the market opening completely to all fruits and vegetables by January 1, 2000.