Aug 22, 2019US potato exports reach $1.827 billion for 2018-19
- The total value of exports was $1,827 million, up 1% from the previous marketing year. Total export volume was 1,733,023 metric tons (mt) up 2.3%.
- The fresh weight equivalent (fwe) volume was 73 million hundredweight (cwt).
- Frozen potato products, at 1,741,047 fwe mt, accounted for 53% of total exports but were down 0.1%.
- Dehydrated potatoes, at 842,446 fwe mt, were up 2.7% and accounted for 25% of the total.
- Fresh potatoes, made up of table-stock, chip-stock and processing potatoes, were up 6.2% to 508,626 mt and accounted for 15% of the total.
- Potato chip exports accounted for 6% of the total and were up 0.8% to 197,764 fwe mt.
The top market for U.S. exports was once again Japan at $359 million. Due to significant U.S. exports of fresh potatoes destined for processing into frozen products Canada was a close second at $319 million. Mexico was the third most important market at $239 million, but was down 13% due to a 21% decline in frozen exports. South Korea was the fourth largest market valued at $124 million with growth of 16%. The Philippines was fifth at $106 million up 13%.
A number of issues and situations held back U.S. exports from further increasing, despite strong growth in world demand and a short crop in the EU, the main competitor. One of the main reasons was the strong domestic demand for potatoes, particularly frozen and dehy and the static supply of these products in the U.S.. Another was the imposition of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products by Mexico and China. Mexico instituted a 20% tariff on U.S. frozen fries in June 2018. This resulted in a 25% decline in the volume (37,774 mt) and 21% decline in the value ($33,228,497) of frozen exports to Mexico for MY19. China implemented a 10% tariff on U.S. fries and a 25% tariff on U.S. dehy in September, these resulted in a 10% decline ($9,570,894) in frozen and 68% decline ($3,373,405) in dehy exports. The continued strengthening of the U.S. dollar, up 2.9% compared to the Euro for the marketing year, also contributed by raising the relative cost of U.S. potatoes.
U.S. potato exports have grown 9% over the past five marketing years and should be poised for further growth in the coming year. Additional frozen capacity has and is coming online in the U.S. and additional acres were contracted for by the processors. The impediments to growth will be increased competition from the EU as production is forecast to return to normal in 2019 and the new free trade agreements in place in major U.S. export markets for the EU and Canada.
— Potatoes USA