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Growing demand for poultry fuels increasing global imports

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Globally, poultry is the most imported livestock commodity by volume. Rising incomes, growing populations, and increasing urbanization all contribute to increasing poultry consumption, especially in markets where local production is often unable to keep pace with accelerating demand. Historically, Asia has been the largest importer of chicken meat by volume. In 2022, the region imported more than 3.4 million metric tons. The Middle East was the second largest importer of chicken meat in 2022, with imports of nearly 2.0 million metric tons, followed by Europe with 1.7 million metric tons. Over the past two decades, however, Africa has become an increasingly important market for global poultry trade. Africa’s poultry imports grew by more than 850 percent from just under 0.2 million metric tons in 1999 to more than 1.5 million metric tons in 2022. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service report, Evaluating the Effects of Nontariff Measures on Poultry Trade, May 2024.

Exports expand market for U.S. food and agricultural goods

Monday, May 20, 2024

Export markets are an important sales outlet for U.S. food and agricultural production. Since 2008, an average of 20 percent of the value of all U.S. agricultural output has been shipped to destinations in other countries. The export market is a growing one for U.S. non-manufactured products, a group including commodities such as grains, oilseeds, and produce. In the past 10 years, the export of these commodities has increased as a percent of production at a rate of 1.4 percent annually. For commodities such as food grains, exports make up about 65 percent of the production value. Fruits and tree nuts exports make up 44 percent of the production value. In contrast, the United States exports a lower share of the value of manufactured goods—a group including sweeteners, bakery products, and dairy products. This overall share has been declining since 2012, indicating that a greater percentage of the value of U.S. production is retained domestically for consumption. Nearly 40 percent of all U.S. agricultural export value comes from bulk commodities, whose unit prices are typically low and fluctuate widely from year to year. In contrast, manufactured goods typically are higher in value per unit compared with bulk or intermediate goods, and prices are relatively steady from one year to the next. This chart was drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) dataset U.S. Export Share of Production, Import Share of Consumption (2008-2022). It also appears in the ERS publication Selected Charts from Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, 2024.

U.S. agricultural exports contributed $412 billion to the U.S. economy in 2022

Thursday, May 16, 2024

U.S. farm and food product exports create substantial value and generate widespread economic activity both within and outside of the agricultural sector. In general, increased exports of agricultural products lead to higher demand for transportation services, packaging materials, or financial services, creating additional economic activity and employment opportunities. USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates the additional value of economic activity generated annually by agricultural exports using an agricultural trade multiplier model. This model measures the employment and output effects of trade in farm and food products on the U.S. economy. In 2022, the value of U.S. agricultural exports, comprising both commodities and food products, reached $197.4 billion. In turn, these exports generated an additional $214.6 billion in economic activity. Included in this activity, the services, trade, and transportation sector generated an estimated $73.6 billion. On the farm, agricultural exports supported business activities valued at $70.4 billion. An additional $52.5 billion was created through other manufacturing activities, along with a further $18.1 billion associated with food processing. Including the value of the exports themselves, U.S. agricultural exports generated a total economic output of $412 billion in 2022. Put another way, every $1 of U.S. agricultural product exported generated a total of $2.09 of domestic economic activity, on average. This chart is drawn from the ERS Agricultural Trade Multiplier, May 2024.

Brazil’s lower production and marketing costs challenge U.S. competitiveness in the global soybean market

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

The United States and Brazil compete to satisfy the global demand for soybeans. Soybean exports contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy each year even as Brazil's exports have gradually eroded the U.S. share of the global soybean market. Researchers with USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) compared factors affecting the two countries’ competitiveness, including costs of both production and marketing. They determined that, on average, production costs per acre for soybeans in Brazil were 22.5 percent lower than U.S. costs from 2010/11–2021/22. Lower capital and land costs accounted for most of this difference. Brazil’s farmers largely hire out services to provide equipment and labor for field operations, whereas U.S. farmers tend to own their machinery. Land costs were also higher in the United States, where one crop is typically harvested per marketing year. Brazil’s abundant land resources and its capacity to grow two crops per year increase both the output and revenue generated per unit of land. On aggregate, U.S. costs to produce an acre of soybeans increased 2.6 percent annually from 2010/11–2021/22, while Brazil’s costs increased 0.5 percent, not adjusting for inflation. Factors driving the increase in U.S. costs per acre were higher fertilizer, pesticide, machinery, repair, and land costs. In Brazil, rising fertilizer and pesticide costs represented the bulk of the increase. In both countries, transportation of soybeans to ports adds to the cost of soybeans paid by overseas buyers. However, Brazil’s investments in overland transportation infrastructure have reduced the relative marketing cost for exporting soybeans. Average inland transport costs per metric ton in 2017/18–2021/22 in Brazil decreased by 21.4 percent compared with 2008/09–2012/13. More information can be found in the ERS report Soybean Production, Marketing Costs, and Export Competitiveness in Brazil and the United States, December 2023.

2022 Census of Agriculture: U.S. flower farms blossom amid growing traditional outdoor cultivation

Thursday, May 9, 2024

With Mother’s Day approaching, many will gift bouquets filled with blooms grown domestically and imported from abroad. Cut flowers and florist greens raised domestically were valued at nearly $763 million in 2022, according to the 2022 Census of Agriculture from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). About 10,800 commercial farms grew flowers and greens for use by florists that year, increasing by more than 50 percent from the previous census in 2017. Greenhouses and other protected-culture technologies make cultivation feasible in a wide variety of geographic locations and, in 2022, commercial flower farms spanned all 50 States. Growers throughout the country reported more than 158 million square feet of protected-culture flower and green production in 2022—the equivalent of almost 2,750 football fields. Despite the advantages to greenhouse production, growing flowers conventionally is on the rise in the United States. In 2022, more than 31,000 acres of flowers were grown in the open, an increase of 33 percent from the 2017 census. Domestic cut flower sales increased $90 million from the 2017 census, not adjusting for inflation. The value of imported flowers also increased over that time. Cut flower imports were valued at $1.9 billion in 2022, an increase of $783 million from 2017. This chart is based on data from the NASS 2022 Census of Agriculture and draws from the USDA, Economic Research Service Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade: February 2024.

Exchange rate values changing in top two markets for U.S. agricultural exports

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

China and Mexico are the top two markets for U.S. agricultural exports by dollar value. Exchange rates are one of several factors that can influence U.S. agricultural trade. All else being equal, a stronger foreign currency favors U.S. exports to that country, and vice versa. For the past 2 years, China’s yuan has depreciated (has become less valuable) relative to the U.S. dollar, implying a weaker value of U.S. exports to China. The opposite has been true for the Mexican peso. The U.S. dollar appreciated in value relative to the currencies of many countries, including China, because of U.S. Federal Reserve interest rate increases during this period. The Mexican peso was an exception to this, as the Bank of Mexico increased interest rates more aggressively and earlier than the Federal Reserve did for U.S. interest rates. In addition, the Mexican government’s comparatively smaller stimulus response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 and 2021 and optimism regarding nearshoring—in which U.S. companies relocate operations to neighboring Mexico from China—has helped strengthen the peso, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. From the perspective of U.S. farmers and agribusinesses, the decrease in the value of the yuan and increase in the value of the peso is generally associated with a decrease in export opportunities to China and an increase in export opportunities to Mexico. Not adjusting for inflation, U.S. agricultural exports to China decreased in value to $33.7 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2023 from $36.2 billion the previous year and are forecast to fall further to $28.7 billion in FY 2024. U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico increased in value from $28.0 billion to $28.2 billion from FY 2022 to 2023 and are forecast at a record high of $28.4 billion for FY 2024. This chart is drawn from USDA, Economic Research Service’s Agricultural Exchange Rate Data Set, February 2024.

U.S. agricultural import values outpaced export values in fiscal year 2023

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The U.S. agricultural trade balance measures the difference between the values of exported farm goods and those imports from other countries. For nearly 60 years, U.S. agricultural trade maintained a surplus, but in fiscal year (FY) 2019, the balance shifted to a deficit, where it has stayed 3 out of the last 5 fiscal years. In FY 2023, U.S. agricultural imports exceeded exports by $16.6 billion. Imports have largely followed a stable upward trend, while exports have had relatively wide swings. From FY 2013 to 2023, import values increased at a compound annual growth rate of 5.8 percent, and exports grew at a rate of 2.1 percent. Although the U.S. agricultural trade balance is closely watched, it reflects changing consumer tastes, a robust economy, and a strong dollar, and is not an indicator of export competitiveness or import dependence. The U.S. consumer’s growing appetite for high-valued imported goods—such as fruits and vegetables, alcoholic beverages, and processed grain products—has contributed to the expanding trade deficit. Those goods often include products that can’t be easily sourced in the United States, such as tropical products or off-season produce. In contrast, nearly 40 percent of U.S. exports are bulk commodities, whose prices respond more rapidly to global markets. This chart also appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service report Selected Charts from Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials, 2024.

U.S. wheat imports reach 6-year high

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

U.S. wheat imports are forecast at their highest in 6 years for the 2023/24 marketing year (July–June). Consecutive years of drought in key U.S. growing regions of hard red winter wheat, an ingredient used for making bread, Asian noodles, and flour, have tapered U.S. output, elevating domestic prices. Millers have sought less expensive sources, including competitively priced wheat from the European Union (EU). U.S. imports of hard red winter wheat, mostly from the EU, for 2023/24 are at 25 million bushels, a record high, and up from 5 million bushels from 2022/23. This trade flow is atypical. U.S. wheat imports are normally driven by hard red spring and durum wheat from neighboring Canada. In 2017/18, imports from Canada of both classes of wheat were elevated because of drought-related supply issues in the United States. While U.S. imports of hard red winter wheat are elevated in 2023/24, imports of soft red winter and white wheat are relatively close to normal levels. Related to tight supplies of this hard red winter wheat in 2023/24, U.S. exports of this class of wheat are forecast at their lowest level on record. This chart is drawn from the November 2023 Wheat Outlook, published by USDA, Economic Research Service.

Fruit and vegetable imports from Mexico continue upward trend as Mexico’s growers adopt U.S. food safety rules

Thursday, December 14, 2023

More than 88 percent of Mexico’s horticultural exports are destined for the United States. The strength of Mexico’s access to the U.S. market is, in part, due to efforts by Mexico’s horticultural growers to adapt to new U.S. food safety standards. In 2011, the United States passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which covers the safety of the entire U.S. food supply chain regardless of whether a company operates on U.S. soil or in a foreign country. In response to FSMA’s new requirements for food safety, Mexico’s horticultural companies made changes to equipment, invested in new infrastructure, and implemented new techniques for food testing. U.S. horticultural imports from Mexico have doubled in volume since FSMA’s implementation in 2011. From 2000 to 2021, these imports grew at a compound annual rate of 8 percent. Adjusting for inflation, the value of imports increased from about $3.5 billion in 2000 to about $17.6 billion in 2021, as expressed in 2021 dollars. By 2021, Mexico supplied almost two-thirds of U.S. vegetable imports and about half of U.S. fruit and tree nut imports. Although mandatory compliance with FSMA’s horticultural growing standards began at the start of 2018, many companies had initiated food safety programs before the laws were enacted in 2011. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service report, How Mexico’s Horticultural Export Sector Responded to the Food Safety Modernization Act, published in August 2023.

Pork exports to China surged as African swine fever curtailed China’s pork output

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The 2018 spread of African swine fever (ASF) to China had reverberations in the global pork market. ASF—a virus often fatal to swine—caused an estimated loss of 27.9 million metric tons in China’s pork output from late 2018 to early 2021 and led to a doubling of China’s domestic pork prices. These high prices attracted a surge of pork exports from four major suppliers—the European Union (EU), United States, Brazil, and Canada. While the EU was the top supplier, U.S. pork exports were sizable and reached a record high of more than 287,000 metric tons in the second quarter of 2020. After surging, exports by all suppliers began declining during 2021 as China’s domestic production rebounded and associated prices plummeted. According to a recent report from USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS), pork exports to China might have increased even more during the ASF outbreak if not for several factors. Specifically, China banned pork from some EU countries that also had ASF outbreaks. In addition, U.S. pork faced high retaliatory tariffs because of trade tensions, and China rejected some Canadian pork shipments. Also, during the COVID-19 pandemic, China launched stringent inspections of foreign meat suppliers and required decontamination of meat at Chinese ports. In aggregate, pork imports replaced about an estimated one-fifth of the domestic pork supplies lost in China during the ASF epidemic. Official data indicate that China’s pork production returned to its pre-ASF level in 2021. While exports to China are down from their peak, China is still one of the top 3 overseas markets for U.S. pork, with sales in the first 6 months of 2023 exceeding annual totals posted in years before ASF hit China. This chart first appeared in the ERS report How China’s African Swine Fever Outbreaks Affected Global Pork Markets, published November 2023.

Most U.S. butter and cheese is consumed domestically, while most dry skim milk products are exported

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The United States is a large producer and exporter of dairy products. Some dairy products are exported more than others. Exports-to-production ratios, which indicate the share of total U.S. production destined for export each year, show that U.S. dry skim milk products are increasingly exported. In 2022, U.S. exports of dry skim milk products (nonfat dry milk, skim milk powder, and dry skim milk for animal use) were equivalent to 69 percent of production by volume. Since 2000, the exports-to-production ratio of dry skim milk products has increased, more than tripling from 2000 to 2022. By contrast, U.S.-produced cheese and butter mostly are kept for use in domestic markets. Though the exports-to-production ratios of butter and cheese also have trended upward, U.S. exports of butter equated to less than 9 percent of 2022 production, and exports of cheese were equivalent to about 7 percent of production. Differences between exports of butter and cheese and exports of dry milk products partly can be explained by shelf stability and ease of transport. Dry skim milk products are much easier to ship internationally and have a lower risk of spoilage than fresh and/or refrigerated dairy products. Although relatively low proportions of U.S. cheese are exported, in 2022 the United States was the second largest exporter of cheese by value worldwide, with total cheese exports estimated at nearly $2.3 billion. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service report U.S. Trade Performance and Position in Global Meat, Poultry, and Dairy Exports published in April 2023.

India’s recent export restrictions expected to reduce global rice trade in 2023 and 2024

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Global rice trade is projected to decline in 2023 and 2024 after India, the world’s largest rice exporter, implemented additional export restrictions on rice in July and August 2023. India accounted for more than 40 percent of global exports in 2022, supplying more rice than each of the next four largest suppliers—Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, and the United States. In summer 2023, India placed a ban on export sales of regular-milled white rice while imposing tariffs and additional restrictions on other types of exported rice. Global prices for rice then rose by 12 to 14 percent by the end of July. Prices continued to surge in August, reaching their highest since 2008, dropping slightly by mid-September as panic buying slowed. The impact is felt by many of the world’s food-insecure countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, India’s largest export market. This region is expected to import less rice in 2023 and 2024 even as Thailand, Vietnam, and Pakistan pick up additional sales, despite tight supplies in Thailand and Vietnam. This chart is drawn from the October 2023 Rice Outlook, published by USDA, Economic Research Service. Also see the August 2023 and September 2023 Rice Outlook.

Lower income countries spend much higher share of expenditures on food than higher income countries

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Consumers in low-income countries spend a greater proportion of their budgets on food than those in higher income countries. As incomes rise with economic development and urbanization, the share of income spent on food tends to fall while discretionary spending on household goods, education, medical services, and recreation tends to increase. In low-income African and South Asian countries, spending on food accounted for more than 40 percent of total consumer expenditures in 2022. In Nigeria, Kenya, Burma, and Bangladesh, more than 50 percent of consumer spending went toward food. In the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala, spending on food accounted for more than 30 percent of total consumer spending. This contrasts with higher income economies in Latin America, including Argentina, Colombia, and Mexico, where an average of about 22.5 percent of budgets was spent on food. In emerging markets such as Brazil, India, and China, where incomes are rising, the share of discretionary income spent on nonfood categories has increased. In higher income economies, including the United States, Switzerland, Australia, and Canada, disposable incomes remain larger and the food share of consumer expenditures is smaller than those in countries where urban communities are still expanding. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service topic page International Consumer and Food Industry Trends.

Global food security improves in 2023 with higher incomes, lower vegetable oil prices

Thursday, September 21, 2023

USDA’s International Food Security Assessment (IFSA) model estimates how food prices and incomes affect food demand and access in 83 low- and middle-income countries. Food security is then evaluated by estimating the share of a country’s population that is unable to access sufficient calories to sustain a healthy and active lifestyle. In IFSA countries in 2023, almost 229 million fewer people are estimated to be food insecure compared with 2022, a 16.8-percent decrease. That improvement stems from average annual income growth of 3.7 percent for countries included in the IFSA. In 2023, the average per capita Gross Domestic Product—a proxy for income—for the IFSA countries was $2,415, higher than the $2,253 average for 2020–22. In addition, the drop in the price of vegetable oils contributes to food security improvements in 2023. Vegetable oil is a common component of many foods and, according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, makes up about 10 percent of calories consumed in a day in low-income countries. The year-to-year reduction in food insecurity indicates recovery from factors that continue to affect the global economy, including the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, high inflation rates for food and farm production inputs, and the ongoing Russian military invasion of Ukraine. This chart appears in the USDA, Economic Research Service report International Food Security Assessment, 2023-33, published in August 2023.

Tequila from Mexico drove boost in U.S. imports of alcoholic beverages in 2022

Thursday, September 7, 2023

The United States imported $26.6 billion in alcoholic beverages in 2022. Total U.S. imports of distilled spirits, beer, and wine accounted for 14 percent of all U.S. agricultural imports. Distilled spirits were the largest and fastest growing segment of these products, accounting for almost half—$12 billion—of U.S. alcohol imports. Tequila from Mexico led the growth among distilled spirits, while imports of products such as whiskey and vodka, which traditionally are higher, decreased. Adjusting for inflation, between 2014 and 2019, tequila imports increased from $1.1 billion to $4.9 billion. While the United States is the largest market for Mexico’s tequila, international demand, especially in Europe, also has been strong. Drought in key agave-growing regions as well as a less favorable currency exchange rate have led to a reduced U.S. forecast for distilled spirit imports in 2023 and 2024. In 2022, total U.S. beer import values reached $6.7 billion, and wine imports reached $7.8 billion, both of which are expected to cool in 2023 and into 2024. The United States also exported $3.9 billion of alcoholic beverages in 2022. U.S. exports of distilled spirits, largely bourbon, have grown, while wine and beer exports have remained flat. This chart is drawn from the Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade published by USDA’s Economic Research Service in August 2023.

Global wheat prices cooling with larger exporter supplies expected in 2023

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

After reaching historic highs in May 2022, U.S. and global wheat prices have since cooled as supply concerns for many key wheat exporters have abated. Wheat export prices for the United States, Russia, and France in July 2023 are all well below the peaks observed in May 2022 as an effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Ample wheat supplies expected in the 2023/24 marketing year (July–June) in the European Union, of which France is a member, and Russia are contributing to low prices for those exporters. Markets recently reacted to the July 17 expiration of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which had sustained Ukraine’s exports through the Black Sea for nearly a year. Russia’s subsequent attacks on Ukraine’s port infrastructure were further reflected in global wheat prices. However, Ukraine is expected to continue shipping some commodities via alternative routes, so price changes were relatively minimal compared with more extreme swings at the start of the conflict. Prices for other suppliers, such as France, were up slightly from May 2023 but 27 percent lower than in July 2022. U.S. hard red winter wheat export prices decreased 10 percent in July 2023 from July 2022 and were 34 percent lower from May 2022. Even so, they are higher compared with other key exporters, partly driven by ongoing drought in major U.S. growing regions. This chart is drawn from the USDA, Economic Research Service Wheat Outlook, August 2023.

Imports make up growing share of U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable supply

Monday, July 31, 2023

Imports play a vital and increasingly important role in ensuring that fresh fruit and vegetables are available year-round in the United States. Since the 2008 completion of the transition to tariff- and quota-free trade among Mexico, Canada, and the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable imports have increased with few interruptions. Between 2007 and 2021, the percent of U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable availability supplied by imports grew from 50 to 60 percent for fresh fruit and from 20 to 38 percent for fresh vegetables (excluding potatoes, sweet potatoes, and mushrooms). The import share increased by more than 20 percentage points during this period for 10 crops: asparagus, avocados, bell peppers, blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, raspberries, snap beans, and tomatoes. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), implemented on July 1, 2020, continues NAFTA’s market access provisions for fruit and vegetables. In 2022, Mexico and Canada supplied 51 percent and 2 percent, respectively, of U.S. fresh fruit imports, and 69 percent and 20 percent, respectively, of U.S. fresh vegetable imports in terms of value. This chart is drawn using data from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) data products Fruit and Tree Nuts Yearbook Data and Vegetables and Pulses Yearbook Data. Also refer to the ERS report, Changes in U.S. Agricultural Imports from Latin America and the Caribbean, published in July 2023, and ERS’s Amber Waves feature, U.S. Fresh Vegetable Imports From Mexico and Canada Continue To Surge, published in November 2021.

China remains the world’s largest meat importer despite recent declines

Thursday, July 27, 2023

China has been the world’s largest meat importer since 2019. Despite recent reductions in imported meat volumes, the country remains in the top spot. In 2022, China imported 43 percent more than the second largest meat-importing country, Japan. Issues such as disease, tougher laws addressing environmental issues, and an exodus of small-scale farmers have constrained China’s meat supply, boosting domestic prices and incentives to import. As China’s most consumed meat, pork tends to dominate its meat supply and demand. China surpassed Japan to become the top meat importer after an African swine fever epidemic sharply reduced China’s pork supply in 2019. Pork output rebounded and meat imports dropped, but China remained the top meat importer in 2022. Meanwhile, beef imports have been on the rise. Longer beef production cycles, lack of grazing land, and chronic disease have constrained China’s cattle production, preventing it from meeting domestic demand. Poultry consumption also is rising, as chicken tends to be the least expensive meat for consumers to purchase, but rising feed costs and disease have increased domestic prices and boosted poultry imports. China’s meat consumption showed signs of peaking after 2014, but statistical model projections show that consumption will continue to grow through 2031 based on trends such as dietary change and moderate growth in Chinese income and prices. In the short term, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting economic slowdown in China weakened consumption and associated import prospects during 2022. In addition, factors such as ongoing disease risks and high feed costs—which reduce profitability for China’s livestock producers—continue to play a role in the market. This chart first appeared in the USDA, Economic Research Report, China’s Meat Consumption: Growth Potential, released in July 2023.

United States reclaims status as one of Japan’s top beef suppliers after 2004 import embargo

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

The United States has long been a top supplier of beef to Japan. U.S. market share collapsed in 2004 after a single case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), commonly referred to as “mad cow disease,” was detected in a cow shipped from Canada to the United States. In response, Japan placed an embargo on all U.S. and Canadian beef products. Japan reduced its imports of U.S. beef to almost zero in 2004 after importing 267,000 metric tons the previous year. During those two years, the U.S. share of Japan’s beef imports fell from 46.4 percent in 2003 to nearly zero in 2004, and Japan increased its imports of beef from Australia, which had never reported a case of BSE. In 2006, Japan began phasing out the ban on U.S. beef and fully lifted it in May 2019. Over this period, U.S. beef imports rebounded nearly to pre-ban levels, shipping 233,000 metric tons to Japan in 2021. Even so, Australia still supplied most of Japan’s beef imports (40.7 percent), followed by the United States (39.8 percent), Canada (8.5 percent), New Zealand (4.7 percent), and Mexico (3.3 percent). Recently ratified trade agreements between Japan and these partner countries are expected to contribute to changes in Japan’s market for imported beef. Researchers at USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimate that by 2033, annual scheduled reductions in Japan’s import tariffs will increase imports of U.S. beef by 27 percent, or $413.8 million, from 2018 levels. This chart first appeared in the ERS report, The Impact of Japan’s Trade Agreements and Safeguard Renegotiation on U.S. Access to Japan’s Beef Market, June 2023.

U.S. vegetable oil imports surged to $10.9 billion in fiscal year 2022

Thursday, June 29, 2023

The United States imports vast quantities of vegetable oils for a wide array of end uses—from cooking oils to plastics. From fiscal years 2013 to 2020, imports ranged from total inflation-adjusted values of $6.3 billion (2019) to $7.4 billion (2017). In 2021, imports exceeded $8.0 billion before surging to $10.9 billion in 2022. Much of the increased demand in 2022 came from expanded production of biodiesel and renewable diesel—agriculturally based transportation fuels that often use vegetable oils as feedstocks. Production of these biofuels grew from 1.5 billion gallons in 2013 to 3.1 billion gallons in 2022. While biofuels and other industrial processes have increased demand for vegetable oils, imported vegetable oils are mostly used for food, with 70 percent of canola, 85 percent of palm, and 100 percent of olive oil consumed as food. These oils comprised the top three imports in 2022 led by canola oil at $3.6 billion, palm oil at $2.2 billion, and olive oil at $1.7 billion. U.S. vegetable oil imports originate from a few major suppliers. In 2022, 96 percent of canola oil imports came from Canada, 82 percent of palm oil came from Indonesia, and 78 percent of olive oil came from the European Union. USDA forecasts vegetable oil imports at $11 billion in fiscal year 2023. This chart is drawn from the Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade published by USDA’s Economic Research Service, May 2023.