U.S. agricultural exports in 2017 totaled $138.4 billion. Approximately 15% of U.S. corn production and 50% of U.S. soybean production is exported. Recent trade news with tariffs and trade sanctions has increased uncertainty of the demand for U.S. Ag production and has contributed to the recent decline in U.S. grain prices.
The recent agricultural trade news includes China and the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) countries of Canada and Mexico.
China – 14% of U.S. Ag exports in 2017 were purchased by China for a total of $19.6 billion. China accounts for a whopping 57% of U.S. soybean exports or $12.4 billion. They also purchase from the U.S. 17% of cotton, 10% of pork, 11% of Dairy, and 78% of sorghum exports.
Canada – 15% of U.S. Ag exports in 2017 were purchased by Canada for a total of $20.5 billion. No single product dominates U.S. Ag exports to Canada. Most of Canada’s purchases are prepared food, fresh vegetables, fruit and snack foods.
Mexico – 13% of U.S. Ag exports in 2017 were purchased by Mexico for a total of $18.6 billion. Mexico is the largest purchaser of U.S. corn and accounts for 29% of these exports or $2.6 billion. They also purchase 7% of U.S. soybeans for $1.65 billion, 23% of pork, and 24% of dairy exports.
Other major destinations of U.S. Ag exports in 2017 are Japan ($11.8 billion), European Union ($11.6 billion), and South Korea ($6.9 billion).
Free trade allows each country to produce what they have a comparative advantage to produce, which allows everyone to be more prosperous. Past trade practices have not been totally free. Hopefully our differences can be resolved and we will all benefit.