US seafood trade deficit hit USD 20.3 billion in 2023

A chart showing the U.S. seafood trade deficit.

The U.S. seafood trade deficit reached USD 20.3 billion (EUR 18.8 billion) in 2023, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

U.S. imports dipped sharply from USD 30 billion (EUR 27.8 billion) in 2022 to around USD 25.3 billion (EUR 23.5 billion) in 2023, while exports fell slightly from USD 5.1 billion (EUR 4.7 billion) in 2022 to approximately USD 5 billion (EUR 4.6 billion) in 2023, NOAA trade data showed.

The largest annual seafood trade deficit recorded by the United States over the last 28 years was USD 24.8 billion (EUR 23 billion) in 2021, followed by USD 24.6 billion (EUR 22.8 billion) in 2022.

In 2022, the top five suppliers of seafood to the U.S. were Canada, Chile, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam, which together accounted for 51 percent of U.S. total imports by value. Only the European Union at USD 33.3 billion (EUR 30.9 billion) imported more seafood than the U.S. in 2022. China imported USD 22.6 billion (EUR 21 billion), Japan imported USD 15.1 billion (EUR 14 billion), and South Korea ranked fifth globally with USD 6.6 billion (EUR 6.1 billion) in imports.

The United States ranked 10th in 2022 in seafood exports by value. China ranked first with USD 22.4 billion (EUR 20.8 billion) in exports, followed by Norway with USD 15.5 billion (EUR 14.4 billion), Ecuador at USD 9.2 billion (EUR 8.5 billion), Chile at USD 8.5 billion (EUR 7.9 billion), and India at USD 7.9 billion (EUR 7.3 billion). 

Since 1995, the value of U.S. seafood exports – when adjusted for inflation in 2022 dollars has ranged from a low of USD 4.2 billion (EUR 3.9 billion) in 1998 to a high of USD 7.2 billion (EUR 6.9 billion) in 2011, according to NOAA. The top destinations for U.S. seafood include Canada, China, Japan, South Korea, and the Netherlands, which cumulatively accounted accounting for 68 percent of U.S. seafood exports in 2022.

From 1995 to 2022, the value of inflation-adjusted U.S. seafood exports dropped by approximately 16 percent, while imports expanded by 130 percent, NOAA reported.

Simultaneously, U.S. per capita seafood consumption has increased steadily from 16 pounds in 1995 to 20.5 pounds in 2021, the latest year for which data is available.

“To meet rising consumer demand, the United States increasingly relies on global suppliers to supplement domestic production. About 80 percent of estimated U.S. consumption of seafood comes from abroad,” NOAA said. “From 1995 to 2023, the value of U.S. seafood imports, adjusted for inflation, trended upward, with notable exceptions related to the global economic recession and the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Image courtesy of USDA Economic Research Service


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