Friday, March 30, 2018

Washington agriculture, exports and China

Hector Castro
WSDA Communications 

For farmers, ranchers and those producing food and drink in Washington, international markets are crucial to maintaining a robust agriculture industry.

Washington exports about 30 percent of the food and agricultural products produced here, and the third largest market for our products is China. This is one reason WSDA is closely following developments regarding increased tariffs proposed on some imports from China, followed by the response from China to impose higher tariffs on 128 U.S. products.

Eight Washington agricultural products are on the list China has marked as subject to higher tariffs. Together, those products generated $120 million in revenue in 2017 in exports to China alone. Statistics in both charts below are based on the calendar year and are estimates based on data from World Trade Atlas.

Washington ag products possibly subject to higher tariffs by China

2017 value in export to China 
Sweet Cherries                         
$99.7 million
Fresh Apples                           
$17.6 million
$1.6 million
Fresh Pears                             
Dried Fruit                               
Frozen Fruits & Berries           
Fresh Cranberries                   
Fresh Plums                             

Two of the products listed, sweet cherries and fresh apples, are also among Washington’s top 10 ag exports to China. In fact, China is now the number one market for Washington sweet cherries. All told, Washington ag and food exports to China generated $594 million in export revenue in 2017. 

Top 10 exports to China in 2017

Dollar Value
Fish and Seafood                              
$154.5 million
#2 market
$103.6 million             
#3 market
Sweet Cherries                      
$99.7 million
#1 market
Frozen French Fries                  
$54.4 million                
#3 market
White Wheat                              
$45.1 million               
#5 market
Dairy Products                           
$25 million                  
#5 market
Fresh Apples                             
$17.6 million                
#10 market
Seeds (fruit, veg, forage)           
$12.3 million                
#2 market
Frozen Vegetables                    
$10.5 million                
#2 market
$10.3 million                
#1 market
Like others in the agriculture industry, WSDA will continue to monitor the developing tariff situation. The negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the recent completion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement without U.S. involvement are also expected to affect the agriculture industry, both in Washington and around the county.

With trade being so crucial, WSDA will continue to work with the agriculture industry and our federal partners to make sure that the voice of farmers, ranchers and food producers is heard.

Work also continues on maintaining and developing export markets for our state. Members of the WSDA International Marketing Program are already scheduled to participate in two trade activities involving China - one in May and another in June.