WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — U.S. agricultural exports are projected to total $141.5 billion in fiscal year 2019, while agricultural imports are expected to total $127 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Services’ (ERS) latest outlook for U.S. agricultural trade.

The $14.5 billion surplus projected for fiscal year 2019 is the lowest since fiscal year 2007, when the United States exported $12.2 billion more in agricultural goods and services than it imported. Unlike overall U.S. trade in goods and services, U.S. trade in the agricultural sector consistently runs at a surplus.

us trade chart

While agricultural exports have increased in value since 2016, the value of imports has risen at a slightly faster rate, leading to a declining trade balance.

“The forecast value for U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2019 reflects a $3 billion decrease from the previous forecast and a $1.9 billion decrease from fiscal year 2018,” the ERS said. “At the regional level, exports to East Asian countries are forecast to decline by $6.7 billion — the result of an expected decrease of $7.3 billion in agricultural exports to China from the 2018 total of $16.3 billion. Chinese demand for U.S. soybeans is expected to drop sharply because of China’s retaliatory tariffs, which also curb demand for other products, including sorghum, pork and products, and dairy. The decline in export value to China is being countered by higher expectations for exports of wheat and horticultural products like fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. Those products are expected to increase in value by $3.2 billion relative to fiscal year 2018.”