The first quarter of the July 2018 – June 2019 marketing year saw significant declines in U.S. potato exports compared to the same time frame the previous marketing year. The volume of frozen potato product exports dropped 6%, with values down 5%. Dehy export volume and value are both down 7%, while the volume of fresh exports declined 12% with value off 10%. These declines reflect the impact of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. potatoes put in place by Mexico and China. Additionally, competitor products from the EU continue to reflect the low prices from the 2017 crop. It is hoped that the roughly 18% shortfall in the European crop this fall and resulting increase in prices will help to correct the U.S. export performance as the year progresses.
U.S. Frozen exports to Mexico face a 20% retaliatory tariff in response to the section 232 tariffs on U.S. imports of steel and aluminum from Mexico. This has led to a 21% decline in U.S. exports to this market, with both Canada and the EU picking up significant market share. Frozen exports to the largest U.S. market, Japan, are down 3% as the EU continues to gain share in this market. Exports to Malaysia are off 19% with exports to Thailand down 18%.
The decline in Dehy exports is due to a 29% drop to Japan, 51% decline to China and a 62% decline to the Philippines. The 20% decline in Fresh exports to Canada, the largest market, has created the overall drop in exports, despite an increase of 39% to Mexico, 46% to Central America and 114% to South Korea. Significant declines of fresh exports to the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand have also contributed to the overall reduction.
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