USDA report projects ag trade deficit; Boozman critical
|U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal year 2023 are projected at $184.5 billion, down $5.5 billion from the November forecast, while imports are expected to be $199 billion, unchanged from that forecast, resulting in a trade deficit, the Agriculture Department said in a report released Thursday in conjunction with the USDA’s Agricultural Outlook Forum.|
USDA Chief Economist Seth Meyer attempted to cast the new report in a positive light. In a speech at the forum, Meyer said that the strong dollar makes it harder for the United States to export while the strong dollar also makes it cheaper to provide a variety of imported foods to American consumers.
|But Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., the ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in a news release, “U.S. farmers have been able to point to their positive trade balance in agriculture as a source of pride for the better part of the last 50 years as they worked to feed, clothe and fuel the world.”|
“The negative trade balance of a record $14.5 billion projected today is disappointing to see, but unfortunately not surprising given the lack of attention the Biden administration has placed on trade.
“Global agricultural markets are highly competitive. Our farmers and ranchers need the administration to actively engage and aggressively advocate for them on the world stage. Congress can help by dedicating resources to trade promotion programs in the next farm bill, but that is inconsequential if the White House and USDA continue to consider this to be a low priority.
“Our producers deserve an administration that is focused on, and serious about, opening new markets, expanding existing ones and ensuring our trade partners are following the rules of our agreements,” Boozman said, “With the continuance into the next crop year of record high input costs and rising interest rates, reduced global trade of U.S. produced agriculture and food products only worsens the economic standing of farmers and ranchers.”