U.S. and California International Trade in Food Products
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), trade with China and proposed new multilateral trade agreements have been the focus of much policy discussion in Washington, D.C. in recent months. International trade is very important to the food industry in California and in the U.S. Total U.S. exports of agricultural and food products in 2016 was estimated at $129.7 billion. USDA estimates that one million jobs in the U.S. are directly or indirectly connected to agricultural exports. NAFTA participants Canada ($20.3 billion) and Mexico ($17.7 billion) combined account for 29.3 percent of total U.S. exports. The European Union imports $3.9 billion of U.S. food products, and China is the third-largest market, importing $19.2 billion.
California farmers and processors export a total of about $21 billion per year, accounting for more than 16 percent of total U.S. exports. NAFTA countries collectively account for $4.8 billion in California exports, about 23 percent of total trade. Other major markets are the European Union ($3.9 billion), China ($2 billion) and Japan ($1.6 billion). Almonds, walnuts and dairy products are the top three California exports, processed tomatoes rank sixth and raisins 12th.
By Rob Neenan, CLFP President & CEO