U.S. potato exports reach record levels in value and volume
At the fresh weight equivalent (FWE), this represents the movement of 71,837,331 hundredweight of potatoes out of the U.S. market, about 20 percent of U.S. potato production for the marketing year.
These levels were achieved despite serious challenges in the international marketplace.
First and foremost, the continuing expansion of potato production and processing in the European Union, all geared for export, has resulted in the EU’s gaining significant market share.
Exporters in Europe gained footholds in the U.S. target markets in Asia as a result of the West Coast port slowdowns in 2014 and 2015.
Another challenge has been the strengthening of the U.S. dollar both against competitor currencies and in relationship to the currencies of customers.
Finally, competitors are moving forward with free trade agreements such as those between Australia and Japan in 2015 and Australia and China in 2015 and the EU’s ongoing free trade agreement talks with the Philippines, Vietnam and Japan.
For the recently completed marketing year, fresh potato exports were up 9 percent, potato chip exports were up 5 percent, and frozen product exports were up 3 percent.
Exports of dehydrated potatoes were down 10 percent. ■