US agricultural exports to North Africa have declined by 11 per cent to $1,470 million in 1994, from $1,660 million in 1993, according to a report by the economic research service of the US Department of Agriculture. The decline stemmed from sharp reductions in exports to Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia.

The biggest drop in exports came in Morocco where the agricultural sector has recovered after a two-year drought in 1992-93. Total exports to Morocco declined by 46 per cent to $166.8 million, after peaking at $310 million in 1993. Wheat exports fell 56 per cent to 866,000 million tonnes from 1.97 million and soyabean oil exports fell by 45 per cent to 31,563 tonnes.

Exports to Egypt, which dropped 19 per cent to $613 million in 1994, have been affected by lower wheat prices, and the loss of cotton and tobacco sales. The drop in exports to Tunisia, which fell 39 per cent to $82.4 million, was largely due to a decision by the Tunis government to wait for a drop in prices before placing orders. Only Algeria bucked the trend, with exports reaching $608 million in 1994, up from $458 million in 1993.

The report says that exports should rebound sharply in 1995, rising by about $150 million in Egypt on the back of larger wheat and corn sales. However, the report warns that any increases in 1995 are unlikely to match of those of the EU whose exports to North Africa will total about $9,700 million in 1994. EU countries benefit from trade with Libya, export subsidies, lower shipping costs and fewer legal barriers, the reports says.