Ag Export Destinations Shift Over Previous 25 Years

The U.S. is the world’s second-largest agricultural trader after the European Union. U.S. agricultural exports grew significantly over the last 25 years, from $46.1 billion in 1994 to $126.7 billion in 2019. It’s no surprise that Canada and Mexico are two of the top destinations. The elimination of agricultural trade barriers through the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, which was then superseded by the U.S.-Mexico- Canada Agreement in July 2020, almost quadrupled exports by value to Canada and Mexico. Coinciding policy developments, rising household incomes, and changing trade policies in developing East and Southeast Asia are driving U.S. export growth, especially for China. The Chinese share of U.S. agricultural exports more than quadrupled from three percent during 1994-2000 to 14 percent between 2010 and 2019. Meanwhile, there’s been a sharp decline in the share of American exports going to Europe and higher-income countries in East Asia, such as Japan. Of the $136.7 billion in 2019 exports, 29 percent went to East Asia and 29 percent to Mexico and Canada.