Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer announced Friday that the latest quarterly forecast of agricultural exports for fiscal year 2008 has been revised to $108.5 billion, up $7.5 billion from February and more than $26 billion above 2007.
"America's increased export volume in bulk commodities like corn, other animal feeds and soybeans make agriculture the bright spot in the overall balance of trade," said Schafer. "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. Export volumes and values are also up for many horticultural products with sales growth to Canada and the European Union being exceptionally strong."
While agricultural imports in two-way trade with the United States will also increase — to a record $78.5 billion forecast by USDA — the $108.5 billion in export sales by American farmers and ranchers will net a positive agricultural trade surplus of $30 billion for the United States.
"Trade agreements have a significant impact on our ability to sell America's agricultural products in world markets," said Schafer. "Canada and Mexico, our two North American Free Trade Agreement partners, currently buy 28% of the value of America's agricultural exports, up from 20% purchased 15 years ago when trade began under NAFTA."
While Mexico and Canada are still largest markets for U.S. ag products, Schafer emphasized the growing importance of the Asian market. Chinese imports of U.S. agricultural goods will more than double in 2008.
The summary and full report of USDA's "Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade" may be accessed from the Economic Research Service Web site at http://www.ers.usda.gov.