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Ongoing trade wars and strong dollar causes for concern

US potato export sales trending up

In a press release, Potatoes USA states that US potato exports of frozen, dehydrated and fresh products have all posted modest gains through the first three quarters of MY July 2018 – June 2019.

Potatoes USA says that these increases reflect the ever-increasing international demand for potatoes and potato products. The impact of the very small 2018 crop in the EU is further increasing demand for US products.

However, the organization warns that the ongoing trade wars and retaliatory tariffs have limited US exports, as has the strong US dollar. Strong domestic demand in the US has also constrained available supplies for export.

The volume of Frozen exports to the world is up less than one percent. The 20% retaliatory tariff on US fries entering Mexico has resulted in a 26% decline to what had become the second largest export market for the US

The 10% retaliatory tariff on US fries entering China has yet to create a decline to this market, but the additional 5% tariff set to be implemented and the recovery in EU supplies could result in declines in US exports to China. Strong exports of fries to Japan (5%), Korea (9%) and other Asian (6%) markets have offset the losses to Mexico.

The volume of dehydrated potato exports is up 2%, driven by increases to non-traditional markets. This is an area where the short EU crop is providing new opportunities for US exports, though tight supplies in the US have limited the growth. Established markets such as China (-68%), Japan (-7%), Malaysia (-4%), and the Philippines (-44%) are all down.

However, increased exports to Europe (6%) and North (14%) and South America (149%) have made up for these losses. Fresh potato exports are up 1%, led by increases to Mexico (7%), Canada (3%), Korea (33%) and Central America (17%).

Fresh potato exports are not just for table-stock, but also include potatoes destined for processing into chips or fries. Declines in exports to Japan (-29%), the Philippines (-15%) and Taiwan (-26%) have tempered the gains.

According to an article on, it is expected that exports to Canada will continue to grow after a 102% increase in March as stocks of potatoes for chipping and frozen products are well below normal for this time of the year.

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