The final numbers are in for the last seasons pecan deliveries, exports and domestic market consumption and Asia has once again become the largest export market for American pecans. Pecan growers from around the US began marketing in Asia over a decade ago. While the start was sluggish, China quickly acquired a taste and a market for pecans and in 2009 pecan exports to China began a steady climb.
Pecan exports to Asia, largely mainland China through various routes, continued to set new records as Chinese buyers continued to purchase pecans as gifts during the Chinese New Years. Growers began to see the vast potential of this market and have been working to incorporate pecans into everyday diets in China and not just during the holidays.
In 2018 exports to China plummeted as the US-China trade dispute quickly escalated pushing tariffs on US Pecans to unaffordable levels. US Pecans to China fell from a high of 120 million pounds shipped in the single month of November 2017 to the following November shipping only 5.6 million pounds of pecans to China. The trade dispute escalated quickly and continues today. While pecan tariffs are still higher than pre-trade war levels, the tariff reduction has allowed for companies to apply for lowered tariffs bringing tariffs low enough to make pecans attractive to Chinese consumers again.
The 2020-21 season from September to August of 2021 has seen the largest amount of pecans shipped to China since the trade dispute began. The American Pecan Council released final numbers for the season showing China taking the lead for pecan exports once again. Exports to Asia were larger than any other export market for American Pecans. The domestic market is still the biggest driver behind increased consumption, but China is once again becoming a major buyer with exports to Asia reaching nearly 47 million pounds for the season. The next closest export market was Europe reaching 40 million pounds. This is the first season since the trade war that China has taken the lead in the Export markets. On the farm pecan prices have started the season higher than in previous years, likely due to China’s increased demand for in-shell pecans. Hopefully this trend will continue and growers can keep pace with increasing domestic and export markets.