President Scoffs At U.S. Wheat Exports To Japan, Growers React

Wheat Takes Center Stage 081519

President Trump talked about the need to shrink the trade deficit with Japan during a rally in Pennsylvania this week.

The President compared auto trade to wheat in his comments at the rally.

"[Japan] sends us thousands and thousands, millions of cars,” said President Trump. “We send them wheat. Wheat. That's not a good deal. They don't even want our wheat. They do it because they want us to at least feel that we are OK.”

The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) responded on Twitter with a message:

“Mr. President, Japan is the #1 market for US wheat exports on average, where we hold just over 50% of the market. They don’t buy our wheat because “they want us to feel okay.” They buy it because it’s the highest quality wheat in the world. That’s not fake news.”

According to the U.S. Trade Representative Website, U.S. goods and services trade with Japan totaled an estimated $297.5 billion in 2018. Exports were $120.4 billion; imports were $177.1 billion. The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Japan was $56.8 billion in 2018.

The trade deficit is a little different when it comes to agriculture. The U.S. exports far more farm goods to Japan than the U.S. imports (according to 2018 data).

According to USTR’s website, U.S. total exports of agricultural products to Japan totaled $13 billion in 2018, our 3rd largest agricultural export market. Leading domestic export categories include: corn ($2.8 billion), beef & beef products ($2.1 billion), pork & pork products ($1.6 billion), soybeans ($947 million), and wheat ($698 million).

U.S. total imports of agricultural products from Japan totaled $725 million in 2018. Leading categories include: wine and beer ($72 million), snack foods ($65 million), tea, including herb ($64 million), other vegetable oils ($47 million), and processed fruit & vegetables ($34 million).