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Key Economic Trends

  • A higher rate of growth in U.S. exports than in U.S. imports helped to increase the U.S. trade surplus in agricultural products by 214 percent in 2008, to $24.8 billion.
  • U.S. exports increased by $25 billion (26 percent) to $121.1 billion. The large increase in U.S. exports of agricultural products was the result of higher commodity prices, and in the first half of 2008, the depreciation of the U.S. dollar against other major currencies, which helped offset the impact of higher transportation costs and slowing world economic growth. The largest absolute trade shift in U.S. imports of agricultural exports in 2008 was the $7.8-billion (37 percent) increase in U.S. exports of cereals (food and feed grain).
  • U.S. imports of agricultural products increased by $8.1 billion (9 percent) to $96.2 billion. The rise in the value of U.S. imports was driven by higher prices of many agricultural products. The largest absolute increase in U.S. imports in 2008 was of animal or vegetable fats and oils which rose by $1.9 billion (57 percent).

Trade Shifts in 2008 from 2007

  • U.S. trade surplus: Increased by $16.9 billion (214 percent) to $24.8 billion
  • U.S. exports: Increased by $25.0 billion (26 percent) to $121.1 billion
  • U.S. imports: Increased by $8.1 billion (9 percent) to $96.2 billion

Selected Product Shifts

USITC Publications

Global Beef Trade: Effects of Animal Health, Sanitary, Food Safety, and Other Measures on U.S. Beef Exports, Pub. 4033, September 2008.

Certain Vegetables and Grape Juice: Probable Economic Effect of Accelerated Tariff Elimination for Certain Goods of Chile, Pub. 4017, June 2008.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Factors Affecting Trade Patterns of Selected Industries, Second Annual Report Publication No. 3989, April 2008

Other Government Resources

U.S. Department of Agriculture

2008 Overview

Sector Shifts

Country Shifts

Frequently Asked Questions

General Contacts

Project Leader
Phone: 202.205.3190


Assistant Project Leader
Phone: 202.205.3313

Media Contact

Public Affairs Officer
Phone: 202.205.1819