WASHINGTON – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced Monday an updated quarterly forecast for U.S. agricultural exports, which are expected to reach a record $108.5 million for fiscal 2008.
According to a report on the American Meat Institute Web site, the revision is a $7.5 billion increase from February's previous record forecast and $26.5 billion above the final 2007 exports. Grains and animal products account for two-thirds of the export gains. U.S. beef and pork exports are up 34 percent in the first quarter of 2008.
Asia continues to be an important growth market for U.S. agricultural commodities, the report said. U.S. exports to China are forecast to reach a record $10.5 billion, up almost $3.4 billion from 2007 levels. Canada and Mexico remain the United States' top two markets worldwide with exports forecast to reach $30.5 billion in 2008 - some $5 billion above 2007.
While agricultural imports in two-way trade with the United States will also increase to a record $78.5 billion, the $108.5 billion in export sales by American farmers and ranchers will net a positive agricultural trade surplus of $30 billion for the United States, according to the AMI.