USDA raises 2008 ag export forecast to 108.5 billion
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has set its 2008 agricultural export forecast to $108.5 billion, an increase of $7.5 billion over its February's forecast for the year and up $26.5 billion over final 2007 exports.
'U.S. producers are on track to export a record 63 million tons of corn, and set new export volume and value records for pork,' said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, in a statement Friday. 'Export volumes and values are also up for many horticultural products with sales growth to Canada and the European Union being exceptionally strong.'
Asia continues to be a strong market for U.S. agricultural commodities. The USDA expects U.S. exports to China to reach a record $10.5 billion, up almost $3.4 billion from 2007 levels.
Canada and Mexico remained the United States' leading two agricultural export markets. U.S. agricultural exports to these two countries are forecast to reach $30.5 billion in 2008, about $5 billion over 2007, the USDA said.
Schafer used the quarterly forecast's release as an opportunity to blast Congress for not moving to approve the U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement.
'Unfortunately, Congress has not been acting in the best interest of the American farmer and rancher by stalling approval of the signed free trade agreement with Colombia, yet along with approving trade with Korea and Panama, Congress could provide three extremely important markets for expanding the trend of increased American export sales for years to come,' he said.
For a complete review of the USDA's latest quarterly Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade report, access on line either the Economic Research Service's Web site at www.ers.usda.gov or the Web site of the Foreign Agricultural Services at www.fas.usda.gov. The next quarterly report will be issued at the end of August.