Ag Import Values Outpaced Export Values in 2023

USDA’s Economic Research Service reports U.S. agricultural imports exceeded exports by $16.6 billion in fiscal year 2023. For nearly 60 years, U.S. agricultural trade maintained a surplus, but in fiscal year 2019, the balance shifted to a deficit, where it has stayed three out of the last five fiscal years.

Imports have largely followed a stable upward trend, while exports have had relatively wide swings. From 2013 to 2023, import values increased at a compound annual growth rate of 5.8 percent, and exports grew at a rate of 2.1 percent. Although the U.S. agricultural trade balance is closely watched, it reflects changing consumer tastes, a robust economy, and a strong dollar, and is not an indicator of export competitiveness or import dependence.

USDA says the U.S. consumer’s growing appetite for high-valued imported goods—such as fruits and vegetables, alcoholic beverages, and processed grain products—has contributed to the expanding trade deficit.