According to USDA-ERS, November 30, 2010 Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade Report, the FY 2011 initial August 2010 export trade forecast was increased substantially for most U.S. commodities (except horticultural products) from the initial August 2010 estimate.

• The export forecast for grain and feed was raised $3.9 billion from August to $35.4 billion, the second highest on record.

• The wheat export forecast increased by $1.7 billion to $9.8 billion on sharply higher volumes and unit values.

• The forecast for oilseeds and products increased to $28.3 billion, up $6.3 billion. Soybeans account for three-quarters of the increase as record early season sales and a dramatic rise in unit values added $5.1 billion to the export forecast.

• Cotton exports are forecast up $2 billion to $8 billion due primarily to higher unit values.

• The export forecast for livestock, poultry, and dairy was raised $1.2 billion to $23 billion, with gains in all but poultry.

• The export forecast for horticultural products was lowered $200 million from the August forecast, but remains a record at $24.3 billion.

Increased Imports

USDA-ERS November 30, 2010 Outlook for Export Trade report also increased the import forecast to $85.5 billion, up 8.2 percent from FY 2010 as consumer spending for food and beverages has increased recently, as has disposable personal income. The projected import growth in 2011 reflects about 2 to 3 percent volume gain and a six percent increase in import unit values. Major commodities inflating the U.S. import value include coffee beans, cocoa beans, coconut oil, palm oil, rubber, and sugar.

While trade among North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trading partners weakened slightly in 2009 as the global recession slowed international trade, the trend of improved trade among NAFTA partners resumed this year.

U.S. export trade to NAFTA partners during FY 2010 at $30.5 billion was the second highest on record. The FY 2011 export forecast to NAFTA partners, Mexico and Canada, is up $2.6 billion from 2010.

Trade with our two NAFTA trading partners reached a record high in 2008 as the agricultural provisions of the agreement were fully implemented. During the implementation period, the agricultural sectors of Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. have become much more integrated.

While Mexico moved slightly below China to the 3rd largest export destination in the USDA-ERS November export forecast for 2011, Canada remains the largest export market for U.S. agricultural products.

U.S. agricultural exports to Mexico more than tripled since NAFTA was implemented in 1994 to about $16.0 billion in FY 2010, while exports to Canada increased about 360 percent, reaching $16.7 billion in FY 2010, up from $4.2 billion in 1990. Fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, snack foods, and other consumer foods account for close to three-fourths of U.S. sales to Canada.

Imports from Canada increased from $3.2 billion in 1989 to $15.682 billion in FY 2010.