U.S. agricultural exports could hit new record in 2021


WASHINGTON, DC, United States – U.S. agricultural exports in 2021 are expected to break the previous record of $ 154.5 billion in 2014, according to a report on international agricultural trade released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Exports in the first four months of 2021 hit a record high of $ 59 billion, surpassing the 2014 record of $ 5 billion. The USDA attributed the increase to robust global demand, high commodity prices and increased US competitiveness. Maize, sorghum, beef, prepared food and other products hit record highs while soybeans, soybean meal, wheat and dairy saw strong increases.

An August 2020 report from the World Trade Organization examining the impact of COVID-19 on agricultural trade described the resilience of the sector as a whole and highlighted the essential nature of food as the main driver. U.S. agricultural exports during the pandemic reinforce this idea. While the export value of a few products like nuts, beef, and cotton declined in 2020, total exports increased significantly.

According to the USDA, all other major export commodities performed as well or better than in 2019. In the first four months of 2021, exports of major commodities reached, exceeded, or in some cases , significantly exceeded the same period’s exports in 2020, contributing to an overall increase of over $ 12 billion.

Many upward trends from 2020 continued into the new year. Global demand is on the rise, due in part to record purchases by China as it rebuilds its pig herd from African swine fever and demand for animal feed. The signing in early 2020 of the Phase 1 agreement between the United States and China paved the way for U.S. producers to step in and meet demand for both pork, beef and poultry products. as well as the growing demand for animal feed. Production deficits reduced competition from South American feed exporters, which also had a significant effect on trade in the first months of 2021, according to the USDA.

The combination of increased global demand and reduced supply has resulted in price increases over the past year that appear to be benefiting US exporters.

Two other major trade agreements were implemented in 2020. The trade agreement between the United States and Japan entered into force at the start of the year, providing for tariff reductions for a wide range of agricultural products, including beef, pork and dairy products, as well as a preferential market. access arrangements for others, including wheat and wheat products. While tariffs on many products were removed immediately, others will be gradually reduced in the years to come. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) came into effect in mid-2020, containing provisions to expand market access for U.S. exporters of dairy, poultry, eggs and more. , while strengthening trade rules and other scientific processes. These agreements and the phase one agreement with China serve to facilitate trade with four of the United States’ major trading partners and will have lasting positive benefits for agricultural producers in 2021 and beyond.

Not only are year-to-date exports up in all product groups, they are up in almost all major US partners as well. For each of the top 10 markets for US products in 2020 (China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, European Union, South Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan, Philippines, Colombia), total exports are higher in January-April 2021 compared to at the same time in 2020, the USDA said. For 9 of these 10 markets (outside the European Union), this is an export record over four months. This diversity of potential markets is a source of strength and stability and is an indicator of the high overall competitiveness of US products in 2021. This performance is reinforced by trade agreements with several of these major partners, including recent agreements with the United States. Canada, Mexico, Japan, and China, as well as with South Korea and Colombia.

Based on current performance, US producers should expect a bright 2021 for agricultural exports. Global demand is high and consumption patterns for products that have been affected by COVID-19 will continue to normalize.

If U.S. exports continue to be as competitive as they were in the first few months of the year, 2021 has a good chance of becoming a record year, paving the way for more records to come, according to USDA. As global incomes rise and more customers emerge, farmers, ranchers and those employed in industries that drive agricultural trade should expect that much of global demand will be met. by the United States, fulfilling its role as one of the world’s largest suppliers of food and agricultural products.


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