Japan Imports of U.S. Oranges Expected to Grow Modestly


The new U.S.-Japan trade agreement will deliver a tariff reduction and higher safeguard levels for U.S. orange shipments, and that should translate to a moderate increase in U.S. orange exports to Japan in 2020.

In a new U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service report on Japanese citrus, the agency said overall citrus acreage in Japan continues to decline, influenced by decreasing consumption and an aging rural population. The report said 77% of Japanese fruit growers are reported to be over 60 years old, with less than 1.5% less than 40 years old.

For the 2019-20 marketing year, the USDA report said Japanese mandarin production is forecast to drop to a historic low of 740,000 metric tons. Meanwhile, the report said Japan’s rising demand for lemon-like citrus will be met through increasing imports and land use transition from mandarin to lemon production.

The USDA said the U.S. is the leading citrus supplier to Japan, particularly for fresh oranges and lemons.

The report projects:

Japan’s 2019-20 fresh tangerine/mandarin imports will increase by 1.8% to 19,000 metric tons in 2019-20, of which 13,000 metric tons will be from the U.S.;
Japan’s 2019-20 marketing year orange imports will increase by 3.2% to 94,000 metric tons; U.S. fresh orange imports for 2019-20 are projected to increase by 3.8% to 52,000 metric tons. The report said U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement implementation prior or during the U.S. orange export season may further increase the U.S. orange import volume;

Fresh grapefruit imports to Japan fell by 9% to 64,329 metric tons in the 2018/19 marketing year, and the U.S. accounted for 18,516 metric tons of that total. For 2019-20, the USDA expects another year of decline in Japan’s grapefruit imports. The report said Japan’s total imports of grapefruit in 2019-20 are expected to drop by 6.8% to about 60,000 metric tons; and

In 2018-19, Japan’s imports of fresh lemons increased 11.6% to 56,839 metric tons. The U.S. is the top supplier, and shipments to Japan in the 2018-19 season increased 12.2% to 33,457 metric tons. Because of continued anticipated growth in demand, the USDA report forecast a 5% increase in Japanese lemon imports to 60,000 metric tons in 2019-20; the U.S. import share is expected to increase to 35,000 metric tons.

By The Packer