Nov 10, 2020
US potato exports down 23% in volume during third quarter

Third-quarter exports of U.S. potatoes and potato products were down significantly as COVID-19 continues to affect demand, reported Potatoes USA Nov. 10.

The biggest year-over-year drops were in Southeast Asia and Central America, although the third quarter of 2019 was a record-high in those markets, so “the bar was set very high,” Potatoes USA stated.


Frozen exports were down 23% in volume; however, they were down only 14% in September, showing recoveries in some markets.

Frozen exports to Mexico are still well above 2019 when the retaliatory tariff caused switches to Canadian and EU products.

The least impacted markets are:

  • Korea, +2%
  • Taiwan, -6%
  • Japan, -12%

The biggest impacts were:

  • China, -62%,
  • Indonesia, -71%
  • The Philippines, -67%
  • Vietnam, -69%.


Dehydrated exports were down only 2% for the quarter and 5% for September. This reduction is more reflective of tight U.S. supplies than decreased demand. Some very positive results were recorded for Japan, +19%, Korea, +71%, Taiwan, +16%, and Saudi Arabia, +137%.


Exports of fresh potatoes, including tablestock and chipping, were down 6% for the quarter but up 10% in September. The decline is largely caused by a 16% drop to Canada, as the movement of raw potatoes for frozen processing was curtailed.

Exports to target markets in Asia, Central America and Mexico were either up or even with last year. Of note, the new year-round access to Japan resulted in a 306% increase, while the Philippines was up 30% and Taiwan up 42%. Exports to Mexico held steady and were up 3% in September despite the significant negative impacts of the virus on this country.

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