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Tennessee produces agricultural products and exports them worldwide. The
State's farm cash receipts totaled $3 billion in 2008, and Tennessee's
agricultural exports reached an estimated $1.3 billion. Agricultural exports
help boost farm prices and income, while supporting about 15,057 jobs both on the
farm and off the farm in food processing, storage, and transportation. Exports
are increasingly important to Tennessee's agricultural and statewide economy.
Measured as exports divided by farm cash receipts, the State's reliance on
agricultural exports was 43 percent in 2008.
Tennessee's top agricultural exports in 2008 were:
soybeans and products -- $324 million
wheat and products -- $225 million
cotton -- $193 million
feed grains and products -- $105 million
World demand is increasing, but so is competition among suppliers. If
Tennessee's farmers, ranchers, and food processors are to compete successfully
for opportunities of the 21st century, they need fair trade and more
open access to growing global markets.
How Trade Agreements Benefit Tennessee Agriculture
Tennessee benefits under NAFTA with new rules of origin that increase demand
for U.S. textiles in Canada and Mexico. Mexico’s 10-percent tariff on cotton has
been eliminated. This tariff reduction supports U.S. cotton exports to Mexico,
which rose from 558,000 bales to 2.2 million bales from marketing year 1995 to
2002. U.S. industry estimates that the Caribbean Basin Initiative and Africa
Growth and Opportunity Act will increase annual cotton sales by 100,000 bales.
As a soybean producer, Tennessee benefits under the Uruguay Round agreement
as South Korea reduced its tariffs on soybean oil by 14.5 percent from 1995 to
2004. Thus far, the tariff reduction has supported a threefold increase in
export volume. The Philippines reduced its tariffs on soybean meal from 10 to 3
percent during the same period. China’s accession to the WTO has helped to raise
our exports of soybeans to that country by over six fold from 1999 to 2004,
surpassing $2.4 billion this year.
Export Success Stories
Since its launch in 2000, Cotton Council International (CCI) and Cotton
Incorporated’s COTTON USA Sourcing Program, funded by FMD and checkoff
resources, has dramatically enhanced the level of U.S-made cotton textile
exports to the Caribbean Basin. Cotton yarn exports to the region increased from
$30 million in 1999 to $205 million in 2003. Meanwhile, knit fabric exports
skyrocketed from $21 million to $618 million. CCI and Cotton Incorporated
achieved these results by partnering the two organizations and their respective
marketing and technical strengths, and by market development outreach to the
supply chain and retail industries in the United States and supplying countries.
The resulting business contacts have now become established trading
relationships that compete favorably with products from anywhere in the world.