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From Connecticut to Maine, New England produces agricultural products that
are exported worldwide. In 2008, the region's total cash receipts from farming
reached $2.8 billion. The region's agricultural exports were estimated at $711
million in 2008, accounting for almost 25 percent of New England’s farm economy.
Agricultural exports help boost farm prices and income, while supporting about
8,235 jobs both on the farm and off the farm in food processing, transportation,
The region's top exports in 2008 were wheat, tobacco leaf, vegetables, fruits
and planting seeds.
World demand for agricultural products is increasing, but so is competition
among suppliers. If New England industries are to compete successfully for
export opportunities in the 21st century, they need fair trade and
more open access to growing global markets.
How Trade Agreements Benefit New England Agriculture
New England is one of the nation's larger commercial apple-growing regions.
Under the U.S. – Chile FTA, U.S. deciduous fruits gain preferential access, as
the 6-percent import tariff is immediately eliminated. If Congress ratifies the
US – Dominican and Central American FTA in its current form, U.S. fresh apples
which are subject to 15 percent import tariffs in all five Central American
countries (and a 20 percent tariff in the Dominican Republic), will gain
immediate duty-free access. U.S. exporters annually shipped on average $13
million worth of fresh apples to all six countries combined from 2001 through
Australia generally applies lower tariffs of around 5 percent on most
processed foods. If Congress ratifies the U.S. – Australian FTA in its current
form, U.S. processed foods and beverages will immediately receive duty-free
tariff treatment. From 2001 through 2003, U.S. suppliers annually shipped to
Australia on average: breads, cakes, and pastries valued at $4.6 million; soups
and broths valued at $80,000; wines valued at $1.1 million; distilled spirits
valued at $56 million; and chocolate bars valued at $1.3 million.
Under the U.S.-Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR),
a two-track approach will be established for dairy products with the objective
of achieving free trade within 20 years. The first step is the establishment of
reciprocal duty-free tariff rate quotas (TRQs). The second and concurrent step
involves the immediate elimination of in-quota tariffs on dairy products. U.S.
dairy products shipped to Central America face a range of different TRQs and
import tariffs as high as 65 percent. From 2001 through 2003, U.S. suppliers
annually shipped on average 17,880 metric tons of dairy products valued at $44.1
million to all six countries combined.
Export Success Stories
New England seafood industries benefited from recent big international trade
show sales. U.S. companies, exhibiting in the US Pavilion at the 2004 European
Seafood Exposition in Brussels, Belgium, reported on-site sales of more than $55
million. About 30 U.S. suppliers participated in the show, offering a wide range
of fish and seafood products, including mackerel, live lobsters and lobster
meat, shrimp, scallops, oysters, squid and octopus.
The U.S. Apple Export Council (USAEC) passed a major milestone by shipping
its first loads of fresh apples to Mexico in the 2002/2003-season. This capped
the industry’s three-year effort to gain access to this potentially large market
for "USA Apples." In the 2003/2004-season, exporters shipped about 17,000
cartons of apples to Mexico. The USAEC is a committee of the U.S. Apple
Association that manages the export promotion program for the apple industry in
10 states, including the New England states of Connecticut, Maine,
Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.