U.S. Walnut Exports Continue Record Expansion
U.S. walnut exports (in-shell equivalent) in marketing year 1996/97 (August-July) reached a record 112,000 metric tons and $195 million, up 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Higher prices due to a smaller U.S. walnut harvest and strong export demand, particularly in the European Union and Japan, helped boost exports. U.S. walnut exports could reach another record in 1997/98.
The 1997/98 U.S. walnut crop is estimated at 108,650 tons, 11 percent above the previous year due to increased production of the disease-resistant Hartley variety. The current crop is expected to be of above average quality. California accounts for nearly all U.S. walnut output, with more than half going for export. U.S. walnut exports in 1997/98 are forecast to increase 10 percent to a record 123,000 tons. The United States is the world's second largest walnut producer and the largest exporter, accounting for 35 percent of world production and 58 percent of world exports.
China's 1997/98 walnut production is forecast at 240,000 tons, up only 1 percent from the previous year. China's walnut exports in 1997/98 are forecast at 50,000 tons, unchanged from the previous year. China is the world's largest walnut producer and second largest exporter.
U.S. Export Demand
Walnuts are the second most important U.S. tree nut export, behind almonds. Principal markets for U.S. walnuts include the EU (mostly Germany, Italy, and Spain), Asia (mostly Japan), Israel, and Canada. Steady growth in demand for U.S. walnuts is the trend in European markets, while much stronger growth characterizes Asian markets.
Tariff reductions around the world resulting from the Uruguay Round agreement and various bilateral trade agreements have contributed to export growth. Further, the Market Access Program has assisted the California walnut industry for a decade in key markets.
For more information, contact William Janis at (202) 720-0897.