The following Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) reports were released on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
Bulgaria is a small but growing market for U.S. food and agricultural products. In 2019, total Bulgarian food and agricultural imports were valued at $3.7 billion, of which nearly 1.8 percent, or $64.3 million, were sourced from the United States. During the first eight months of 2020, total food and agricultural imports increased by 7.5 percent over the same period in 2019. Despite COVID-19 and the resulting economic slowdown, U.S. food and agricultural imports grew by 3.4 percent during the same period. U.S. products are increasingly popular in Bulgarian hotels, restaurants, retail outlets, and among food processors. Consumer-oriented products with strong market potential include distilled spirits, tree nuts, groundnuts, dried fruit, wine, beef, fish and seafood products, craft beer, food preparations, and innovative food processing ingredients.
In line with historical trends, fresh citrus production and consumption are forecast to continue upward in MY2020/21 to 35.6 MMT and 34 MMT, respectively. However, looking ahead, the rate of production growth is expected to slow as prices drop and consumer demand reaches its saturation point. Demand for imported citrus in MY2020/21 is expected to remain soft, down 25% overall from pre-COVID levels, though will return as the economy rebounds. Lower frozen concentrate orange juice imports and production show domestic industry challenges and signal consumers’ changing preferences to juices made from fresh fruits. Chinese countermeasures for COVID-19 will continue to add complication and cost to cold chain imports, including citrus.
The Dominican Republic continues to be a strong market for U.S. bulk agricultural products (corn), intermediate goods (soybean meal), and high value consumer-oriented products (processed food products), reaching a total export value of $1.4 billion in 2019. Despite a 2015 law that explicitly states the need for mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) products that could potentially affect imports of GE raw materials, the law has yet to advance along the path to implementation and is not expected to do so in the short term.
Germany is home to more than 83 million of the world’s wealthiest consumers and is by far the largest market in the European Union. The German market offers good opportunities for U.S. exporters of consumer-oriented agricultural products. In 2019, total U.S. exports of agricultural and related products to Germany reached USD 1.9 billion. The largest segments were soybeans, tree nuts, fish products, wine, beef, condiments, and other consumer-oriented products. This report provides U.S. food and agriculture exporters with background information and suggestions for entering the German market. The COVID-19 related lock-down and physical distancing measures heavily impacted the German food sector. Effects will be visible in next year’s report when the data from 2020 is evaluated.
The planting of the winter rabi crops for the Indian crop year (ICY) 2020/2021 (July-June) is ahead of last year due to a timely harvest of the kharif (fall harvested) crops, accompanied by optimal soil moisture conditions and adequate irrigation water availability. FAS New Delhi (Post) is raising slightly India’s market year (MY) 2019/2020 rice export estimate to a record 12.6 million metric tons (MMT) based on the availability of revised official data. Post is similarly revising India’s MY 2019/2020 wheat ending stocks to 24.7 MMT based on newly available official data.
Post is adjusting its Marketing Year (MY) 2020/21 crude palm oil (CPO) production forecast down 100,000 metric tons (MT) to 19.6 million MT as labor issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to plague the industry. Post’s MY 2020/21 CPO consumption estimate has been adjusted down 150,000 MT due to increasing speculation that a nationwide shift from a 10 percent to a 20 percent biodiesel blend mandate (currently scheduled for mid-2021) won’t be realized until 2022. Post’s MY 2020/21 CPO export estimate has been adjusted up 400,000 MT based on media reports India recently reduced its customs duty on CPO imports. Also supporting increased Malaysian CPO exports in MY 2020/21 are reports from Indonesia indicating the country recently increased its CPO export levy.
Mexico has not approved any biotechnology food or feed products since May 2018 and there is no official indication when approvals will resume. In 2019, Mexico stopped approvals of glyphosate imports and rejected all permit applications for cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) cotton, citing the precautionary principle. Cotton is the only GE crop planted in Mexico. In 2020, the denial of cultivation permits, together with the lack of GE seeds, low glyphosate stocks, and reduced global demand for textiles and clothing, resulted in an estimated 36 percent annual decrease in the area of GE cotton planted in Mexico. Mexico is one of the world’s largest importers of GE corn and soy.
Exports from the United States of agricultural and related products to Mexico totaled $20 billion in 2019. Mexico is still one of the largest and most consistent markets for U.S. agricultural products. With the geographical advantage of a long land border and a new Foreign Trade Agreement that has eliminated duties on all agricultural and food products, Mexico is a natural market for U.S. exporters.
Poland opposes of the use of genetic engineering (GE) in agriculture. Although the current regulatory framework technically allows GE seeds to enter commerce, the law stipulates they cannot be planted. Poland’s 2006 Feed Act includes provisions banning livestock feed containing GE ingredients. In December 2020, the Government of Poland (GOP) issued a two-year postponement of the provisions which ban GE feed ingredients, including U.S. soybean meal, until January 01, 2023. These provisions have never been enforced and have been postponed several times previously since 2006.
Poland is Central and Eastern Europe’s largest market for food and beverage products. With its population of over 38 million people, Poland is a growing and viable market for U.S. food and agricultural. Following the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020 and subsequent control measures, food and beverage distribution and consumer demand changed dynamically. While Poland’s hospitality and restaurant sectors have struggled throughout the pandemic, the food retail sector, especially its on-line sales and delivery platforms, has surged. According to food sector experts, most businesses will start to recover from the pandemic in 2022. Poland’s total 2019 imports of food and agricultural products were valued at over $26 billion, with U.S. imports accounting for $514 million. U.S. products with strong sales potential include fish and seafood, distilled spirits, wine, tree nuts, dried fruit, and innovated food ingredient products.
The United Kingdom (UK) is approaching the end of the transition phase of departure from the European Union (EU). On January 1, 2021, the UK will be responsible for risk assessing and approving new applications for products of genetic engineering. The UK has retained all EU regulation pertaining to cultivation of “Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)” and imports of “GMO” food and feed products. However, recent statements from Cabinet level politicians indicate a willingness to explore a more proportionate approach to regulation of products derived from simple genome editing