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U.S. to Become Net Food Importer

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Figures released at the end of 2004 by the Department of Agriculture showed that in 2005, for the first time in more than 50 years, the U.S. will have no trade surplus in food. In 2001, the U.S. had a $13.6 billion agricultural trade surplus. In 2004, that surplus was zero, and 2005 will likely see the U.S. become a net food importer.

The Department of Agriculture report attributed much of the falling surplus to increased U.S. demand for exotic spices and foodstuffs and such value-added products as beer and wine. The Department also notes that imports of beef, a traditionally strong American product, will rise to 47 percent of the U.S. beef market. In another example of the weakening U.S. position, Brazil reported that its soybean exports in the first 10 months of 2004 equaled projected U.S. exports for the entire year.

Doug Pibel is a contributing editor of YES!
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