FEEDGRAINS EXPECTED TO LEAD US RISE IN GRAIN EXPORTS

FEEDGRAINS EXPECTED TO LEAD US RISE IN GRAIN EXPORTS

Feedgrain shipments for fiscal 1990 were expected to lead a forecast rise in U.S. agricultural exports, said F. Paul Dickerson, general sales manager and associate administrator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service here Tuesday.

In a speech to the U.S. Feed Grain Council's 30th annual board of directors meeting, Mr. Dickerson said U.S. agricultural exports for the year were seen at $38.5 billion, up $500 million from the last forecast in November. The jump was due mostly to a 3-million-metric-ton increase in feedgrain exports.However, the anticipated export value in 1990 was still over $1 billion less than the fiscal 1989 total, he said. Lower prices for grains and oilseeds were expected to offset gains in export volume.

Agricultural exports were pegged at 148.5 million tons - 3 million more than in November and nearly 2 million more than last year's volume.

The export estimate for U.S. coarse grains has been raised to 66.5 million tons, up 3 million from the November forecast, Mr. Dickerson said. The gain reflects an increase in the expected imports of Mexico, Korea, Eastern Europe and several other markets, combined with a decline in competitor exports.

The new estimates pushed coarse grain exports up 5.5 million tons from 1989, the highest level since fiscal 1981, he said.

Export programs, GSM-102 and 103, the export bonus program, Targeted Export Assistance and PL-480, had a direct effect on more than $8 billion worth of farm exports in 1989, about 20 percent of all U.S. agricultural exports, Mr. Dickerson said. He then gave a status report on these programs.

The use of export credit guarantee programs reached a record level in fiscal 1989, he said. About $4.8 billion in export sales were registered under the GSM-102 program out of $5 billion made available.

The GSM-102 program provides all-risk credit guarantees to U.S. banks financing agricultural sales on credit terms of up to three years.

Feedgrains accounted for about $900 million, or nearly 20 percent of the total allocation under GSM-102 in 1989, Mr. Dickerson said.

The Foreign Agricultural Service is optimistic about the potential for increased exports of feedgrains through GSM-102, he said. As a country develops economically there is generally an increase in the consumption of animal protein, and imports are an obvious answer for a shortage of space,

soils and climate to meet the demand.

The export bonus program continues to be an "exceedingly" important instrument for maintaining U.S. market shares overseas, Mr. Dickerson said. Studies have shown that U.S. exports are larger because of the program, export bonus initiatives cut EC export sales and increased EC budget pressures and it helped spur progress in the agricultural portion of the Uruguay round of trade talks.

The Targeted Export Assistance program strengthened the overall ability of U.S. agriculture to compete in foreign markets, he said. The FAS expects either a renewal of the program or the development of a similar export- promotion program in the 1990 U.S. farm bill.

Funding for PL-480, the U.S.'s main instrument for humanitarian food aid and long-term concessionary commodity sales, in fiscal 1990 remains at nearly $1.5 billion, Mr. Dickerson said. The administrative goal is to provide about 6 million tons of commodities each year under PL-480.