The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its fourth Outlook for U.S. Agriculture Trade in fiscal year 2013 today. USDA projects $139.5 billion in agricultural exports in FY 2013, which if realized would be a new record. Since 2009, U.S. agricultural exports have climbed from $96.3 billion in 2009 to the most-recent forecast of $139.5 billion.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement:
"Today's report is promising news that keeps American agriculture on track to continue the strongest period of exports in our nation's history. Agricultural exports are an important part of our economy, supporting more than 1 million jobs - and as a part of the president's National Export Initiative to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014, USDA has worked hard to open new markets for quality U.S. agricultural products. We've helped achieve new trade agreements with countries around the world, helped organic producers export more products through new equivalency agreements, broken down hundreds of unfair barriers to trade and utilized trade promotion programs that have helped more than 1,000 U.S. businesses and organizations promote agricultural products abroad. Today, we're looking ahead to the next big achievements - particularly a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with Asian nations, and a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union."
Peter Orwick, executive director for the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), commented, "ASI has met with congressional and administration trade officials as well as formally commented on both agreements. While the United States has no import barriers to lamb products coming into this country, as is proven by the volume of lamb imports, neither do we have access for American lamb into Japan or Europe. U.S. lamb companies are increasingly interested in overseas trade and these agreements ought to be the leverage needed to reopen markets to American lamb. Wool is traded into Europe and Asia; however, the agreements, if done correctly, can eliminate any unnecessary standards that disrupt this trade as well."