U.S. Potato Exports Register Slight Increase Through Three Quarters
U.S exports of frozen, dehydrated and fresh potatoes have all posted mild gains through the first three quarters of the July 2018 – June 2019 marketing years, according to a press release issued by Potatoes USA and cited by Capital Press.
The marketing organization, which brings together 2,500 commercial potato growers, said the results reflect growing international demand.
According to the information, the increasing demand was aided by a small 2018 crop in the European Union, although ongoing trade wars and retaliatory tariffs have limited U.S. exports, as has the strong U.S. dollar. What’s more, strong domestic demand in the U.S. has also constrained available supplies for export.
The number of metric tons exported from July through March is said to have totaled 758,107 in frozen products, 93,456 in dehydrated and 357,470 in fresh, as per Global Trade Atlas figures.
The press release reveals that frozen potato exports during the period increased by less than 1%. The 20% retaliatory tariff on U.S. fries entering Mexico is said to have resulted in a 26% decline in what had become the second largest export market in the U.S. Export gains of 5% to Japan, 9% to South Korea and 6% to the other Asian markets offset the losses recorded in Mexico.
While the 10% retaliatory tariff on U.S. fries entering China has yet to have an impact, an additional 5% tariff set to be implemented and the recovery of EU supplies could result in an overall decline of U.S. exports to China.
Dehydrated-potato export volume in the first three quarters increased 2% mostly due to higher demand for nontraditional markets. According to the association this is an area where the short EU crop is providing new opportunities for U.S. exports, though tight supplies in the U.S. have limited the growth. While export volumes dropped 68% in China, 7% in Japan, 4% in Malaysia and 44% in the Philippines, these losses were offset by gains of 6% to Europe, 14% to other Northern American countries and 149% to South America.
Fresh potato exports were up 1% for the period. Increases of 7% to Mexico, 3% to Canada, 33% to Korea and 17% to Central America were mostly offset by declines of 29% to Japan, 15% to the Philippines and 26% to Taiwan. This category includes table stock as well as potatoes destined for processing into chips and fries.