WASHINGTON, DC, US — While the United States remains the world’s top corn exporter, it continues to lose export market share in wheat and soybeans, according to a recent report US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

“Over the last decade, the United States lost its position in the global wheat market as the European Union, Russia and Ukraine gained market shares,” the report said. “Similarly, Brazil and Argentina continue to pose a challenge to US soybean exports.”

The ERS noted that while the United States’ involvement in trade agreements, particularly with emerging markets, contributes to its export competitiveness, it did not establish any new free trade agreements (FTAs) from 2012 to 2020, potentially limiting export opportunities in some emerging markets. Meanwhile, export competitors signed multiple FTAs during that same period.

Among the study’s findings:

  • The United States remains the world leader in corn exports, though competition from Brazil, Argentina and Ukraine has increased in the last decade. US corn exports were valued at over $9.2 billion in 2020 and $18.7 billion on 2021.
  • Soybeans continue to be the most valuable commodity exported by the United States, valued at $25.5 billion in 2020 and $27.4 billion in 2021. Though US soybean trade has trended upward since 2000, it faces competition from Brazil and Argentina. China remains the largest market for US soybeans, accounting for more than $50 billion in exports from 2016-20. The ERS noted that “a potential threat to US soybean exports is the heavy dependence on China for purchase.”
  • Although the United States remains one of six major global wheat exporters, its market share has trended lower since 2000. In 2021, US exports of wheat were valued at $7.7 billion. Major US wheat export destinations have shifted since 2000, with exports to Egypt declining and shipments to Mexico and the Philippines increasing. The report said drought and producer preference for higher value crops, such as corn and soybeans, may reduce US wheat production and exports in the coming years.