Department of Agriculture
Trade and U.S. Export Opportunities
U.S. horticultural product exports in fiscal year (FY) 1998 totaled $10.3 billion, down 3 percent from FY 1997. The strong U.S. dollar, Japans economic recession, and the economic crisis in other Asian countries are reasons for the lower exports. Record sales to Canada and Mexico partially offset lower exports to Japan and other Asian countries. Sales to Canada, the top U.S. market, reached a record $3.05 billion in FY 1998, 6 percent above FY 1997. Products showing the largest gains to Canada in FY 1998 were fresh vegetables, up 10 percent to $719 million, and fruit and vegetable juices, up 12 percent to $261 million. Sales to the European Union (EU), the second largest market, totaled $2.17 billion, or about the same as the FY 1997 value. Higher fresh fruit and wine sales to the EU offset lower exports of tree nuts. Exports to Japan, the third largest U.S. market, decreased 8 percent in FY 1998 to $1.68 billion, due to the strong U.S. dollar and weak Japanese economy. This is the third straight year that U.S. exports to Japan decreased. Essential oils and fresh citrus accounted for the largest reductions in exports to Japan. Sales to Mexico, the fourth largest market, reached a record $555 million in FY 1998, 17 percent above the previous years value. Products with the largest gains were dried and dehydrated vegetables (up $32 million) and potato chips (up $13 million). U.S. horticultural product exports in FY 1999 are forecast at $10.1 billion, 2 percent below the FY 1998 value. A slowdown in sales to Canada is possible because the U.S. dollar has appreciated against the Canadian dollar. Furthermore, the continued economic recession in Japan and the continued weakness in other Asian economies will hamper exports to Asia. On the positive side, horticultural exports continue benefitting from the Uruguay Round and NAFTA tariff reductions, USDAs Market Access Program activities, and export credit guarantees.
Approved by the World Agricultural Outlook Board/USDA