U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk has announced important progress with Japan on a range of trade and regulatory issues as well as on new areas of joint cooperation. Working through the U.S.-Japan Economic Harmonization Initiative Kirk says Japan has improved the business environment and expanded access for a broad range of U.S. goods and services. These goods include agricultural products.
Ambassador Kirk welcomed the progress which expands job-supporting business and export opportunities for American entrepreneurs, workers, manufacturers and service providers. Kirk says addressing issues of concern and working closely together to advance new areas of cooperation will further deepen the United States' relationship with Japan, a strong ally and the nation's fourth largest export market. The EHI, launched in November 2010, aims to contribute to U.S. economic growth by promoting cooperation to harmonize approaches that facilitate trade, address business climate and individual issues and advance coordination on regional issues of common interest.
In related trade news, USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service's Global Agricultural Information Network reports that Mexico has become one of our largest and fastest-growing trading partners. The report shows exports of consumer-oriented products to Mexico reached almost $6.5 billion in 2010, making the country the United States' third-largest export market. U.S. agricultural and food exports to Mexico have been climbing at an average rate of almost 10% per year.
During the first 10 calendar months of 2011 U.S. exports to Mexico were up 27% while Mexican exports to the United States were up 17% from the previous year. At the same time, the U.S. market accounts for 75% of all Mexican exports, while the United States provides Mexico with 61% of its imports. Fresh fruit and vegetables account for the largest share of Mexican imports to the United States at 42% of the total.
According to the GAIN report, in terms of value, beef is America's top consumer-oriented food export to Mexico. Even without full market access for some products, such as ground beef, in 2010 the U.S. exported 1.64 million metric tons of beef valued at $644 million to the country. The five-year annual growth rate in beef exports to Mexico is 25%. Still, poultry tops beef in volume of exports to Mexico, 2.5 million metric tons in 2010, but at a lower value total of $595 million.