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Food Export Blog

Export Outlook: Top Markets and Products Going into 2021

Oct 28, 2020

In our recent live webinar, Food Export Helpline™ Counselor Dennis Lynch gave an overview of the current export outlook for U.S. suppliers.  We highlight some of the information he covered in the blog below.  To view the webinar in its entirety please click here.

Check out our Q & A with Food Export Helpline™ Counselor Dennis Lynch at the end of this blog!

We are all aware of the massive and ongoing effect that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on our daily lives as well as the U.S. and international economy. Some people would assume that because of all the disruptions in the world that the opportunities for exporting would be limited during this time.  That simply isn’t accurate.

No matter how much an individual nation is impacted by the effects of COVID-19, the good news is that they still need to eat. Which means they need to keep the trade lines open and continue to import products.  There is still plenty of economic and export potential to go around for U.S. suppliers.  It might just take some new creative marketing ideas and diversifying your target markets or products to reset.

Below we highlight 15 of the current top international markets for U.S. agricultural exports. Take a look to see which markets are doing well and might be worth exploring for you!

Top 3 Markets for U.S. AG Exports


Canada - #1 Export Market for U.S. Ag Products
FAS Profile Page - Canada
Free Trade Agreement - USMCA
Canada Flag

  • Market is holding steady
  • U.S. Ag Exports down only 1% to $13.8 billion
  • 79% of total exports is consumer-oriented products
  • High growth items:
    • pet food
    • soup
    • distilled spirits
    • processed egg products
    • tree nuts 
    • beef and products

Mexico - #2 Export Market for U.S. Ag Products
FAS Profile Page - Mexico
Free Trade Agreement - USMCA
Mexico Flag

  • U.S. Ag Exports down 9% YTD to $11.5 Billion
  • 45% of that total is consumer-oriented products
  • High growth items:
    • egg products
    • meat products
    • fats and oils
    • bottled drinks
    • cheese
    • baby food  


China - #3 Export Market for U.S. Ag Products
FAS Profile Page - China
Free Trade Agreement - Phase One Agreement
China Flag

  • U.S. Ag Exports up 13% to $9.1 billion
  • 34% of that total is consumer-oriented products (that is a growth of 85% from last year)
  • High growth products were all historically very difficult if not impossible to export because of China’s regulatory restrictions on products with any sort of animal products
  • The Phase One Agreement with China appears to be working as they have promised to reduce the barriers including facility registration and inspection as well as lifting bans and being more transparent about compliance issues.

Top U.S. AG Export Markets Forecast for a Milder Recession

 

Australia
FAS Profile Page - Australia
Free Trade Agreement - Australia
Australia Flag

  • US Ag Exports down only 1% to $927.4 million
  • 77% of that total is consumer-oriented products
  • High growth items:
    • dairy
    • non-alcoholic beverages
    • fruit and vegetable juices
    • syrups and sweeteners 
    • beer and wine
    • spices  


Chile
FAS Profile Page - Chile
Free Trade Agreement - Chile
Chile Flag

  • US Ag Exports down 6% to $657.9 million
  • 63% of that total is consumer-oriented products
  • Their beef and poultry imports are way down which caused the consumer oriented total to decline 13% this year 
  • High growth items:
    • beer (Chile is the 2nd largest beer market)
    • dog and cat food
    • fats and oils
    • processed fruit
    • processed egg products
    • baby food 

Colombia
FAS Profile Page - Colombia
Free Trade Agreement - Colombia
Colombia Flag

  • US Ag Exports up 4% to $1.8 billion
  • 20.4% of that total is consumer-oriented products
  • Due to a decline in the import of most U.S. meats the consumer-oriented total decreased this year
  • High growth items:
    • fats and oil
    • processed fruit
    • syrups and sweeteners
    • soups
    • prepared/preserved seafood  


Dominican Republic
FAS Profile Page - Dominican Republic
Free Trade Agreement - CAFTA-DR
Dominican Republic Flag

  • US Ag Exports are up 3% to $869.4 million
  • 43% of that total is consumer-oriented products
  • High growth items:
    • dairy
    • pork meat
    • fruit and vegetable juices
    • processed fruit
    • breakfast cereal
    • dog and cat food 


Egypt
FAS Profile Page - Egypt
Egypt Flag

  • US Ag Exports up 20% to over $1.1 billion
  • 29% growth in consumer-oriented products
  • Double digit growth:
    • dairy
    • tree nuts
    • food preparations
    • chocolate and cocoa
    • non-alcoholic beverages
    • baby food  


Indonesia
FAS Profile Page - Indonesia
Indonesia Flag

  • US Ag Exports down 5% to $1.8 billion
  • Value added products has increase 25% now totaling $431 million
  • High growth items:
    • dairy
    • food preparations
    • syrups and sweeteners
    • fruit and vegetable juices
    • sauces and condiments
    • poultry meat
    • prepared/preserved seafood  


Philippines
FAS Profile Page - Philippines
Philippines Flag

  • US Ag Exports up 10% to $2 billion
  • 34% of that total is consumer-oriented products (that is an increase of 6% YTD)
  • High growth items:
    • dairy
    • pork and products
    • dog and cat food
    • sausages
    •   non-alcoholic beverages
    • breakfast cereals 

Singapore
FAS Profile Page - Singapore
Free Trade Agreement - Singapore
Singapore Flag

  • US Ag Exports up 10% to $693.3 million
  • 46% of that total is consumer-oriented products
  • High growth items:
    • dairy
    • food preparations
    • dog and cat food
    • snack foods
    • breakfast cereals
    • pork and pork products

South Korea
FAS Profile Page - South Korea
Free Trade Agreement - KORUS
South Korea Flag

  • US Ag Exports down only 2% to $5.1 billion
  • 58% of that total is consumer-oriented products
  • High growth items:
    • dairy
    • beer and wine
    • poultry meat
    • dog and cat food
    • breakfast cereals
    • processed egg products 


Taiwan
FAS Profile Page - Taiwan
Taiwan Flag

  • US Ag Exports down 10% to $2 billion
  • 55% of that total is consumer-oriented products
  • High growth items:
    • dairy
    • poultry meat
    • non-alcoholic beverages
    • fruit and vegetable juice
    • pasta
    • soups

Venezuela
FAS Profile Page - Venezuela
Venezuela Flag

  • This country belongs in the the ‘you never know’ category
  • US Ag Exports up 221% to $258 million (this is the biggest increase of any market in 2020)
  • 35% of that total is consumer-oriented products (up 284% YTD)
  • High growth items are plentiful and include:
    • food preparations
    • fats and oils
    • chocolate and confectionery
    • pasta
    • cereals
    • snack foods
    • dairy
    • dog and cat food
    • prepared/preserved meats
    • beer and wine
    • distilled spirits and other alcoholic beverages

Vietnam
FAS Profile Page - Vietnam
Vietnam Flag

  • US Ag Exports only down 4% to $2.2 billion
  • Double digit growth:
    • dairy
    • syrups and sweeteners
    • prepared/preserved meats
    • baby food
    • processed egg products
    • breakfast cereals
    • poultry meat
    • pork and products

Looking Ahead to 2021

Unfortunately, Venezuela is forecast to be in recession next year as well as is Pakistan, but to a much lesser extent. Other than those two, all countries are forecast to grow, some getting back most or all of what they lost in 2020!  Other markets look like they will take a year or two more to recover.

Of course, these forecasts are dependent on some return to a new ‘normal’ and the ability to carry on business, travel, and entertainment as close to possible as in the past.  With the unknown longevity of COVID-19 these forecasts could change in the future.

High growth markets are mostly the same as they were pre-pandemic, and they are all also top U.S. food export markets as well!

They include:

  • China
  • Guatemala
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Q & A with Dennis

FEA-0049

Q - Dennis what advice would you give a U.S. supplier in general for 2021 considering all the challenges that 2020 has had?  

I would not count on much foreign travel or attending trade shows or most events in the U.S. But…to many travel seems to hold most their interest. Backing away from export because of a lack of travel is not in your company’s best interest. Buyers are adapting and their countries are mostly in better shape. Even if they do hold trade shows the U.S. passport may not be welcome for some time, so make the adjustments needed to continue to develop business without travel or face to face meetings. 

Q - Are there any special developing markets that you would recommend suppliers to keep an eye on?

The U.S. began negotiations with Kenya on a Free Trade Agreement this summer.  It might take a while but it would be only the 2nd on the continent after Morocco, and first in sub-Saharan Africa. Kenya’s medium-term prospects are positive. Assuming a gradual recovery of the global economy through 2020-21, growth should improve to 6.1% in 2021 and moderate to around 5.8% per year in 2022-2027. And although not a “developing” market it is possible the U.S. may have a trade agreement with the U.K before the end of 2021. The timing would be right and it makes perfect sense.  

Q - What do you think the long-term effect of COVID-19 will be on international trade?

For the U.S., I think the worst is yet to come sorry to say, but most of the world is doing much better than us.  In late October we have 4.25% of the world’s population and 20% of the fatalities, nowhere near stability. Other countries consumption patterns changed in the spring just like ours did with a lack of foodservice options and the HRI sectors we relied on for food exports cratered. They are returning now as we dine out more as well, so as their economies recover they should be importing more. Based on the data above it is not even a bad year for us, the declines are actually normal as a pattern. I would think the future of international trade will be individualized on a company and industry basis but I am quite positive we will begin to grow as the global economy does.