Despite some of the most popular confections being produced in the United States, the imports of chocolates and candy still represent nearly $9 billion in value annually.
For confection imports as well as the raw materials to produce them (HS 17 and 18), the first quarter is typically not considered a peak season for the number of shipments; however, traditionally, imports under these two chapters of the harmonized tariff schedule have the highest value and volume during this period as the early months of the year coincide with the end of both the sugar cane harvest (June-December) and cocoa harvest (October-March).
So far in 2019, the TEU Quantity (Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit) for sugar and cocoa (and their preparations) have seen record highs. Compared to 2018, TEU quantity has increased 8.4%, and an impressive 21.17% over 2017. Largely, this rise is due to the imports of sugar and sugar confectionary (HS 17), with an 18.83% increase in TEU quantity over 2018 and 32.05% compared to 2017.
Cocoa and Chocolate (HS 18), meanwhile, have held steady, dropping 1.8% compared to 2018 but realizing a 10.2% increase in quantity over 2017.
Countries of Origin
So far in 2019, the top five countries of origin for U.S. maritime imports of candies and confectionaries are Germany, Spain, Turkey, Belgium, and China with German chocolates and candy representing 26.86% of the total shipments into the United States.
However, this does not take into account raw sugar and cocoa imports. As mentioned above, the majority of popular confections are produced in the United States from imported raw materials. The top countries of origin for these raw materials include Brazil and other Latin American countries as well as much of West Africa.
With raw material imports taken into account, the top five countries for maritime imports of sugar and cocoa are the Ivory Coast, Brazil, Indonesia, Ghana, and Guatemala – with Germany being relegated to sixth place.
Trends To Watch
The most recent development impacting confection imports is the updated view of third-ranked importer Turkey as a developed economy. Confections from Turkey [HS170490] – including not just Turkish Delight, but gummy bears and worms, chewing gum and chocolates – had entered the U.S. duty-free under the General System of Preferences (GSP). The program allows for duty-free treatment of some 5,000 products (identified by 8-digit HS code) from developing economies. This March, the U.S. announced it was ending GSP eligibility for Turkey and India (read more on our blog). This updated status for Turkey ultimately results in increased import duties from the United States.
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