CIRCULAR SUMMARY Press Release
World Horticultural Trade and U.S. Export Opportunities
Foreign Agricultural Service
September 1998 Issue
U.S. Horticultural Exports for June Up 3 Percent From a Year Earlier
WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 1998--U.S. exports of horticultural products to all countries in June totaled $905 million, up 3 percent from the same month a year earlier. Eight out of 15 categories registered increases. Categories with the most significant increases in June were tree nuts (up $20.1 million or 37 percent), fruit/vegetable juices (up $15.3 million or 24 percent), wine (up $10 million or 27 percent), and frozen vegetables (up$5.3 million or 14 percent). The categories with the most significant decreases were fresh non-citrus fruit (down $17.9 million or 11 percent) and miscellaneous products (down $8.4 million or 4 percent). For fiscal year (FY) 1998 to date (October-June), the total value of U.S. horticultural exports was $7.9 billion--1 percent below FY 1997 during the same time period.
Wine production in 1998 for the selected Southern Hemisphere countries (Argentina, Australia, Chile, and South Africa) is forecast at 35.3 million hectoliters (hl), up 3 percent from the previous year. Higher wine production forecasts for Australia, Chile, and South Africa are expected to offset a 7-percent decline in Argentina=s wine production because of adverse weather. The selected Southern Hemisphere countries are investing in improving wine production as part of their efforts to expand their export potential by the year 2000. Wine exports for the selected countries are forecast at 7.6 million hl in 1998, up 18 percent from 1997. Australia and Chile are expected to account for the majority of the increase in Southern Hemisphere wine exports.
A combined record output of fresh asparagus in 5 selected countries in 1998 is forecast at 343,500 tons, up about 1 percent from the previous year. Peru, the world=s largest producer, accounted for 42 percent of the total, followed by Spain and the United States. Asparagus exports in 1998 from the selected countries are forecast at 162,500 tons, about 1 percent above the previous year=s level. Peru, the world=s top exporter of fresh asparagus, is expected to once again dominate exports, with shipments forecast at 93,000 tons, down 4 percent from 1997.
Yen depreciations in Japan, reduced disposable incomes, and higher-priced imports have led to reduced imports of horticultural products in 1996 and 1997. Further currency devaluations are forecast to reduce imports of U.S. horticultural products by more than 10 percent in 1998. Calendar year 1998 imports of U.S. horticultural products are forecast at $1.8 billion, down from a high of $2.5 billion in 1995. With the exception of grape wine and fresh vegetables, 1998 imports of most U.S. products are down from previous year=s levels. Categories forecast for the most significant decreases for 1998 are fresh citrus, fruit and vegetable juices, tree nuts, beer, and cherries.
On August 3, meetings between the U.S. Agricultural Office in Bonn and German representatives produced favorable results relating to restrictions on U.S. wines because of fluoride levels. Specifically, the Federal Ministry for Nourishment, Agriculture, and Forestry agreed to draft a change to Article 2 of the Wine Import Examination Regulation to accept imported wines, which exceed Germany=s fluoride tolerance level of 0.5 ppm, provided they are: (1) accepted in the country of origin; (2) accepted in other European Union member states; (3) accepted for import and sale in Germany; (4) pose no health risk; and (5) produced using normal oneological practices with no substances added. The regulatory changes should become effective by December 1998.
On July 27, South Africa agreed to lift the ban on U.S. table grapes imposed on July 16, following successful meetings between the Foreign Agricultural Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and South African officials. However, an entry-point inspection will be conducted on table grapes in South Africa for identified quarantine organisms. South Africa is also in the process of notifying the World Trade Organization=s Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee that it plans to withdraw current published phytosanitary import requirements, for, inter alia, fresh fruits and vegetables. A new Pest Risk Assessment has already begun. South Africa is a small but growing U.S. table grape export market. U.S. table grape exports to South Africa reached $350,000 in calendar year 1997, up 83 percent from 1996.
Following the recent Yemeni government decision to officially open its market to a number of fresh fruits and vegetables, the first shipment of U.S. pears has successfully entered the country, according to trade sources. Yemen is believed to hold significant potential for certain U.S. horticultural products, notably fresh fruit, as direct imports are permitted. Yemeni government officials have indicated that a second tranche of fresh fruit and vegetable products will be liberalized on Jan. 1, 1999, with the market opening completely to all fruits and vegetables by Jan. 1, 2000.
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