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Mar. 2015

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Page 10 of 23 THE JOURNAL OF COMMERCE 11A COOL CARGOES U .S. EXPORTS OF agricultural goods have outpaced imports since 1960, generating a surplus in the nation's farm trade and helping to "coun- ter the persistent deficit in nonagricultural U.S. merchandise trade," according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service. Much of the trade in this sector relies on an integrated global cold chain. The outlook for U.S. agricultural trade remains strong, which is good news for transportation providers in all modes, as well as cold storage providers and others whose products and services are tied to the global cold chain. Just how big is this import-export boom? For fiscal 2015 that ends Sept. 30, the U.S. Department of Agriculture fore- casts imports of farm goods to reach a record $116 billion — $6.8 billion higher than in fiscal 2014. Americans continue to crave diversification in their food and a stable, year-round supply of fruits and vegetables. Imports also mitigate rising food prices. Growth in real disposable personal income will continue to drive import demand in 2015. At the same time, the out- look for real personal spending for food and beverages is mixed. In the first three quarters of 2014, Americans' spending on food consumed at home declined, while spending on food away from home — at res- taurants, for example — grew 2.7 percent. In addition to increases in import val- ues of processed grain products, the USDA said the value of horticultural product imports is rising and projected to exceed $50 billion in fiscal 2015. Fresh fruits and vegetables, which make up more than one- third of total horticultural import value, are leading the growth, with wine, beer, and processed fruits and vegetables also TRADE GROWS ON AGRICULTURE Global cold chain plays supporting role for expanding imports, exports of farm goods By Lara L. Sowinski THE PROPOSED TRANS -PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP trade and investment agreement encompasses 12 countries and roughly 800 million people with a combined GDP of about $28 trillion. Japan and the U.S. account for a com- bined 80 percent of the TPP members' economies, and their ability to resolve lingering differences could make or break the outcome of the pact. Nonetheless, if the TPP is implemented, it would substan- tially ramp up agricultural trade, particularly for Japan and the U.S. As it stands, the TPP countries account for 42 percent of the global agricultural exports of the U.S. and 47 percent of its agricultural imports. If the TPP comes into force, the U.S. would likely supply 33 percent of the expansion in intrare- gional agricultural exports, equal to $2.8 billion, by 2025. In addition to the U.S. and Japan, the TPP negotiating countries are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. — Lara L. Sowinski THE TPP: ONE HUNGRY MARKET

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