WASHINGTON, May 28, 2015 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today made the following statement on the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's third quarter Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.
"The strong pace of American agricultural exports continues, with a trade surplus of more than $23 billion, a $1 billion increase from earlier projections for fiscal year 2015. Fiscal years 2009 to 2014 represent the strongest six years in history for U.S. agricultural trade, with U.S. agricultural product exports totaling $771.7 billion. For many American products, foreign markets now represent more than half of total sales. U.S. agricultural exports now support more than one million jobs here at home, a substantial part of the 11.7 million jobs supported by exports all across our country. Expanded U.S. trade overall has added roughly $13,000, on average, to every American family's income. Fiscal year 2015 exports are now forecast to be the third-highest on record, led by a strong performance in bulk commodities such as grains, animal feeds, and oilseeds.
"This most recent forecast also underscores how free trade agreements have benefitted the American economy through farm goods. In the combined 20 countries where the United States has free trade agreements, agricultural exports have remained relatively steady so far this fiscal year. Exports to countries where the United States lacks the assurances offered by trade agreements have declined this year, highlighting why it is so important for Congress to act and pass strong trade promotion authority legislation.
"Every day without trade promotion authority, American agriculture suffers as competitors negotiate their own agreements and lower global standards when it comes to environmental impact, consumer safety, and working conditions. USDA will continue to fight to get the best deal for farmers and ranchers, but our ability to open new markets and create new customers is limited without Congressional action."
Link to Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.