U.S. agricultural exports to reach $59 billion in fiscal year 2004
U.S. agricultural exports are expected to reach a near-record $59 billion this fiscal year, ending Sept. 30.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this projection is $2.8 billion above fiscal year 2003 export values, but shy of the fiscal year 1996 export record of $60 billion.
USDA officials blame the country’s inability to break the 1996 record on the disruption of the $3.81-billion beef export market caused by a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy and of the $2.3-billion poultry export market due to an outbreak of avian influenza. USDA hopes to reopen key overseas beef and poultry markets soon.
“Mexico and Canada markets have reopened for more than 90 percent of many beef products,” said U.S. agriculture secretary Ann M. Veneman in testimony to the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday. “We are making significant progress with Japan, and are continuing to work with Korea.”
U.S. agricultural exports made positive gains in Canada and Mexico, and should reach $17.6 billion in fiscal year 2004, more than double the sales to Japan, once the top U.S. agriculture export market, Veneman said.
Japan remains the second-largest overseas market for U.S. agricultural goods, with sales expected to reach $7.8 billion in fiscal year 2004. The European Union, the fourth-largest market, has forecast sales of $6.7 billion, up from $6.1 billion last year.
USDA is hopeful that American agricultural commodity shippers can take advantage of the Chinese consumer market. Last year, China became the fifth-largest overseas market for U.S. agricultural goods with sales at $3.5 billion. Sales to China for this fiscal year are expected to reach a record $5.4 billion.
“Every additional billion dollars in exports supports another 15,000 jobs on farms facilitating trade, in processing and manufacturing, and transporting commodities and food products,” Veneman said.