United States Horticultural Exports to Asia
|U.S. horticultural exports to Asia during June/May 1999/2000 are up 4 percent in value from the preceding year but down 15 percent from the record set in 1996/97. Exports in 1999/2000 reached $3.2 billion compared to $3.7 billion in 1996/97. Exports to Japan, totaling $1.7 billion, accounted for 53 percent of all 1999/2000 U.S. horticultural shipments to Asia; followed by $405 million to Hong Kong, accounting for 12 percent; and $330 million to Taiwan, accounting for 10 percent Over the last five years, leading growth items are french fries, which increased by 30 percent to reach $282 million; potato chips, increasing 77 percent to total $131 million; and wine, which rose 104 percent to $102 million. U.S. exports of beer, which totaled $205 million in 1995/96, have declined steadily, reaching only $54 million in 1999/2000.|
Principal Export Markets
Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea account for over 82 percent of the value of U.S. horticultural exports to Asia. In value, Japan imports about 25 percent of its horticultural products from the United States and about 25 percent from China; South Korea imports about 32 percent from the United States and 28 percent from China; and Taiwan imports about 43 percent from the United States with Thailand being the second largest supplier, accounting for about 8 percent of horticultural imports.
Japan alone accounts for over half of U.S. horticultural product exports to Asia. U.S. exports to Japan in June/May 1999/2000 were $1.7 billion, down 11 percent from the 1995/96 level of $2 billion. Several factors are responsible for this decline: economic stagnation, an increase in exchange rates, and short U.S. crops in the principal export items of citrus fruit and tree nuts.
The yen to dollar exchange rate rose from 83 in 1995 to 148 in 1998, making imported U.S. items 78 percent more expensive to the Japanese consumer. The 1999/2000 average exchange rate is 109, which is 31 percent above the low point set in 1995.
Hong Kong is traditionally a strong market for U.S. horticultural products, but shipments during the last two years have fallen off by 33 percent. About 75 percent of this decline is attributed to reduced shipments of oranges, grapes, pistachios, beer, apples, and one basket category, which includes food preparations not elsewhere specified in the export schedule. These reduced shipments are due to a weak economy, a crackdown on transshipments to the Chinese mainland, and to reduced U.S. supplies of citrus fruit, tree nuts and grapes.
U.S. exports to Taiwan and the Philippines remained strong during the last 5-year period, and exports to South Korea, while showing some weakness in 1997/98 and 1998/99, rebounded.
The Asian economic downturn affected several other markets in the region, notably Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore; however, exports to these markets regained the levels set in 1995/96.
Three items stand out as consistently strong exports for the 5 year period from 1995/96 through 1999/2000. These are french fries, which increased $65 million from $217 to $282 million; potato chips, which increased from $74 million to over $131 million; and wine, which has increased from $50 million to $102 million. Both french fries and potato chips have become increasingly popular in many Asian countries.
Japan accounted for almost all of the increase in U.S. wine exports to Asia. However, the United States still accounts for only 8 percent of Japans total wine imports.