Oakland not hindered by US-China trade war

Port of Oakland Asian markets outside China have accounted for most of the growth in Oakland agricultural exports. Credit: Port of Oakland
Industry Database

The Port of Oakland has said that agricultural exports to Asia are robust and exports to China rose 5% over last year in the first quarter of 2019, despite the US-China tariff standoff, but warned caution should still be exercised.

It added that farm good shipments in the first quarter of 2019 have increased 12% over last year. In 2018, Oakland’s worldwide agriculture exports declined 10%.

“It’s too soon to declare victory in this segment given the trade outlook,” said Port of Oakland maritime director John Driscoll. “But our performance so far this year shows two things: there’s continued demand for U.S. farm goods and growers are resourceful when it comes to finding markets for their products.”

Through April, the port said it had exported the equivalent of 108,724 20-foot-containers loaded with farm products.  That was up from 97,376 containers in the same time frame last year.  According to port data, most of those shipments went to Asia.

The port said Asian markets outside China accounted for most of the growth in Oakland agricultural exports. Among the leading destinations were Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan.  The port said US producers have turned to those destinations since China imposed tariffs on American farm goods, making them more expensive for overseas buyers.

Agricultural commodities account for about 37% of all international exports shipped from Oakland, the port said. The farm goods range from containerised rice to dried fruits, nuts and refrigerated beef.  Approximately 11% of Oakland’s agricultural shipments have gone to China so far, this year.

By Rebecca Jeffrey

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