Background

The Department of Agriculture reports that U.S. agricultural exports totaled $140.5 billion in fiscal year 2017, climbing 8.5 percent from FY 2016 to the third-highest level on record.

The USDA also found that the agricultural sector’s trade surplus climbed nearly 30 percent in FY 2017 to $21.3 billion and that this sector has run an annual trade surplus for more than 50 years. Agricultural producers could use this information to support their arguments against the U.S. withdrawing from NAFTA, which the Trump administration has threatened to do in part because of the trade deficit the U.S runs with Mexico.

They might also highlight USDA statistics showing that Canada and Mexico are the second- and third-largest markets for U.S. agricultural exports, taking in $20.4 billion and $18.6 billion worth, respectively, in FY 2017. Other top export markets included China ($22 billion), Japan ($11.8 billion), the European Union ($11.6 billion), South Korea ($6.9 billion), Hong Kong ($4 billion), Taiwan ($3.4 billion), Indonesia ($3 billion) and the Philippines ($2.6 billion).

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