U.S. Agricultural Trade: Trends, Composition, Direction, and Policy [July 29, 2011]   [open pdf - 451KB]

"U.S. agricultural exports, imports, and the agricultural trade surplus are expected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to reach record levels in FY2011. FY2011 U.S. farm exports are forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reach $137 billion, while agricultural imports are expected to reach $93 billion. The agricultural trade surplus is projected to be $44 billion. Exports of high-value products (e.g., fruits, vegetables, meats, wine and beer) have increased since the early 1990s and now account for 60% of total U.S. agricultural exports. Exports of bulk commodities (e.g., soybeans, wheat, and feed grains) remain significant. [...] Most U.S. agricultural imports are high-value products, including fruits, nuts, vegetables, wine, and beer. The biggest import suppliers are NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] partners Canada and Mexico, and the EU. Together these three are forecast to provide more than 50% of total U.S. agricultural imports in FY2011. Brazil, Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, and Colombia are also important suppliers of agricultural imports to the United States. According to estimates by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States provides the third-lowest amount of government policy-generated support to its agricultural sector among OECD countries. The United States' average applied tariff for agricultural products is estimated by the World Trade Organization to be 8.9%, a little more than twice the average applied tariff for non-agricultural products. Export subsidies, export credit guarantees, and market development programs are among the programs used by the United States to promote U.S. agricultural exports. The United States also provides U.S. agricultural commodities to developing countries as food aid for emergency relief or use in nonemergency development activities."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, 98-253
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Press Centers: http://fpc.state.gov/
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