Over 25 Years, Ag Export Destinations Shift

The face of Ag trade in the U.S., and where American goods land have changed considerably over a quarter of a century. The United States is the world’s second-largest agricultural trader, trailing only the European Union.

American ag exports grew significantly over the last 25 years, from $46.1 billion in 1994 to $126.7 billion in 2019. The top two destinations for American products: Canada and Mexico. The elimination of agricultural trade barriers through 1994’s NAFTA, nearly quadrupled exports by value to Canada and Mexico. NAFTA was superseded last year by the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement or USMCA.

Currently the fastest growing markets for U.S. Ag are in SE Asia, let by China. The Chinese share of U.S. agricultural exports more than quadrupled from 3% during 1994-2000 to 14% between 2010 and 2019. Meanwhile, there’s been a sharp decline in the share of American exports going to Europe and higher-income countries in East Asia, such as Japan.

Of the $136.7 billion in 2019 exports, 29% went to East Asia and 29% to Mexico and Canada.

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