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TOBACCO INDUSTRY'S WORLDWIDE COMPETITIVENESS GROWS IN 1992; REMAINS THE SIXTH LARGEST POSITIVE CONTRIBUTOR TO THE U.S. TRADE BALANCE

 PRINCETON, N.J., March 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. tobacco industry closed the 1992 calendar year with a trade surplus of $4.85 billion, an increase of $62.4 million, or 1.3 percent, when compared to 1991's trade surplus of $4.79 billion, according to the Tobacco Merchants Association (TMA).
 Exports of American-made cigarettes reached a record high for the sixth consecutive year, as U.S. cigarette manufacturers exported a record 205.6 billion cigarettes in 1992, up from the previous record of 179.4 billion cigarettes set in 1991. The export value of these shipments, however, was down to $4.19 billion as compared to $4.23 billion in 1991. "Price hedging, associated with the stronger U.S. dollar, coupled with the price flexibility needed to penetrate financially strapped new American-blend markets with flagship brands, yielded a lower average export price per 1,000 cigarettes," said Farrell Delman, president of the TMA.
 "At $4.85 billion the U.S. tobacco industry's trade surplus was the sixth largest contributor, of all U.S. industries, to the positive side of the nation's trade ledger," Delman said, "and nearly the fourth largest contributor given the declines in the competitive performance of the corn and industrial machine industries." As in the past several years, airplanes and airplane parts remained the top contributor at $28.42 billion followed by: chemicals (all), $16.27 billion; scientific instruments, $6.76 billion; corn, $4.87 billion; specialized industrial machines, $4.85 billion; and tobacco, $4.85 billion. While these industries had positive trade balance contributions, the U.S. imported overall some $84.34 billion more than it exported, up from $65.39 billion in 1991, the first deterioration in the U.S. trade balance in five years.
 In 1992, the following 10 destinations, none of which are classified as developing nations, accounted for over 84 percent of U.S. cigarette exports: Japan (28 percent of total); Belgium (25.9 percent); Hong Kong (8.6 percent); Russia (4.3 percent); Saudi Arabia (3.7 percent); Turkey (3.7 percent); United Arab Emirates (3.3 percent); Lebanon (2.8 percent); South Korea (1.9 percent); and Cyprus (1.9 percent). Delman noted that countries like Belgium and the United Arab Emirates serve as trans-shipment points for eastern Europe and the Middle East, respectively.
 U.S. cigarette exports have increased dramatically in recent years due to the opening of the key Asian markets of Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Thailand, deeper penetration within pre-existing cigarette markets in the Middle East, and recent access to markets in Turkey and Eastern Europe, in particular the former Soviet Union. "U.S. cigarette exports are now permitted to compete in growing markets formerly dominated by a single state monopoly," Delman said. "In order to compete against U.S. cigarettes, known for their high quality the world over, our competitors are now required to use higher quality ingredients, including U.S. tobacco leaf," he added.
 At over 260.5 million kilograms, direct shipments of American-grown leaf tobacco rose 34.1 million kilograms, or 15 percent, in 1992 as the value of these exports increased $108.3 million to $1.65 billion, when compared with 1991. Despite a 21.5 percent increase in imported leaf tobacco, to 325.1 million kilograms, valued at $948.9 million, the $701.7 million net gain on the surplus leaf tobacco side of the trade balance was up nearly 61 percent.
 Founded in 1915, the TMA is the oldest tobacco trade association supported by companies and organizations in all sectors of the tobacco industry including growers, manufacturers, suppliers, leaf dealers, tobacco product distributors, securities firms, and management consultants. The TMA said it is the foremost source for factual information on the worldwide tobacco industry.
 TOP 10 POSITIVE CONTRIBUTORS TO THE U.S. TRADE BALANCE
 Industry 1992 Rank 1991 Rank
 ($ billions) ($ billions)
 Airplanes &
 Airplane parts $28.42 1 $26.90 1
 Chemicals (all) $16.27 2 $18.79 2
 Scientific
 Instruments $ 6.76 3 $ 6.73 3
 Corn $ 4.87 4 $ 5.10 5
 Specialized Industrial
 Machines $ 4.85 5 $ 5.65 4
 TOBACCO $ 4.85 6 $ 4.79 6
 Coal $ 3.90 7 $ 4.41 7
 Soybeans $ 4.40 8 $ 3.97 8
 Wheat $ 4.30 9 $ 3.28 9
 Animal feeds $ 3.18 10 $ 2.86 10
 Source: U.S. Department of Commerce FT (92-12)
 U.S. Merchandise Trade December 1992
 U.S. TOBACCO INDUSTRY TRADE BALANCE COMPARISONS, 1990-92
 YEAR PERCENT CHANGE
 92 91 90 92/91 91/90
 (millions of $)
 LEAF EXPORTS 1,650.6 1,427.6 1,440.5 +15.6 -0.9
 LEAF GENERAL IMPORTS 948.8 991.4 696.7 -4.3 +42.3
 LEAF BALANCE 701.7 436.3 743.8 +60.8 -41.3
 PRODUCTS EXPORT 4,507.9 4,571.9 5,038.0 -1.4 -9.3
 PRODUCTS GEN. IMPORTS 359.6 220.9 121.2 +62.8 +82.3
 PRODUCTS BALANCE 4,148.2 4,351.0 4,916.8 -4.7 -11.5
 TOTAL INDUS. BALANCE 4,849.9 4,787.3 5,660.6 +1.3 +15.4
 Source: TMA Tobacco Trade Barometer Part 1:
 Balance of Trade Summary, Various Issues.
 /delval/
 -0- 3/10/93
 /CONTACT: Michael Marion of the Tobacco Merchants Association of the U.S., 609-275-4900/


CO: Tobacco Merchants Association of the U.S., Inc. ST: IN: TOB SU: ECO

LJ -- PH010 -- 8530 03/10/93 10:47 EST
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