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Japan catastrophe affects ag trade

OMAHA (DTN) – U.S. agricultural exporters and analysts will be watching closely in the next several days to gauge the long-term impact of the major earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan on Friday, March 11, killing hundreds and devastating major port and industrial cities in the northern part of the island.

Japan is the fourth-largest importer of U.S. agricultural products, totaling $11.8 billion in calendar year 2010. Almost every major agricultural sector of the U.S. ships to Japan. The top commodities were coarse grains at $2.9 billion, red meats at $2.2 billion and soybeans at $1.1 billion.

Also being monitored Friday were the tsunami effects on western U.S. ports and harbors, the vast majority of which were closed as the waves hit Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington.



In a press conference Friday, President Barack Obama said that as someone who grew up in Hawaii and who is familiar with the Japanese culture, he was heartbroken by Friday’s catastrophe, which he said “remind us of just how fragile life can be.” He added that the U.S. is going to stand by and help Japan recover.

“Obviously, when you have a tsunami like this as well as an earthquake, you have huge disruptions both in the infrastructure – you have boats and houses and cars that are washed into main thoroughfares, and that requires heavy equipment. And so, any assistance that we can provide, we will be providing.”



The U.S. Navy was mobilized, as was the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. A USDA spokesman said Friday the department had begun to assess possible actions in response to the tsunami. The first step for federal agencies is life-saving activity, followed by a more coordinated response for life-sustaining activities.

OMAHA (DTN) – U.S. agricultural exporters and analysts will be watching closely in the next several days to gauge the long-term impact of the major earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan on Friday, March 11, killing hundreds and devastating major port and industrial cities in the northern part of the island.

Japan is the fourth-largest importer of U.S. agricultural products, totaling $11.8 billion in calendar year 2010. Almost every major agricultural sector of the U.S. ships to Japan. The top commodities were coarse grains at $2.9 billion, red meats at $2.2 billion and soybeans at $1.1 billion.

Also being monitored Friday were the tsunami effects on western U.S. ports and harbors, the vast majority of which were closed as the waves hit Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington.

In a press conference Friday, President Barack Obama said that as someone who grew up in Hawaii and who is familiar with the Japanese culture, he was heartbroken by Friday’s catastrophe, which he said “remind us of just how fragile life can be.” He added that the U.S. is going to stand by and help Japan recover.

“Obviously, when you have a tsunami like this as well as an earthquake, you have huge disruptions both in the infrastructure – you have boats and houses and cars that are washed into main thoroughfares, and that requires heavy equipment. And so, any assistance that we can provide, we will be providing.”

The U.S. Navy was mobilized, as was the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency. A USDA spokesman said Friday the department had begun to assess possible actions in response to the tsunami. The first step for federal agencies is life-saving activity, followed by a more coordinated response for life-sustaining activities.


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