Hemp imports to the United States—consisting of hemp seeds and fibers often used as inputs for use in further manufacturing—totaled $67.3 million in 2017 (Table 1). Although hemp imports have declined from a record high of $78.1 million in 2015, U.S. hemp imports have steadily increased since 2005 when hemp imports totaled $5.7 million. This increase in trade followed the resolution of a legal dispute over U.S. imports of hemp foods in late 2004 (see “Dispute over Hemp Imports (1999-2004)”) and also prior prohibitions on U.S. domestic production.

"In 2017, nearly two-thirds (64%) of the value of all U.S. hemp imports were of hemp seeds, which were used mostly as inputs and ingredients for hemp-based products. Other ingredient imports—hemp oil, seed cake, and solids—accounted for another 28% of the value of total imports. Import hemp yarns and fibers accounted for about 8% of total import value in 2017 (Table 1). Trade data are not available for finished products, such as hemp-based clothing or other products including construction materials, carpets, or paper products.

"Canada is the single largest supplier of U.S. hemp imports, accounting for about 90% of the value of annual imports. Other leading country suppliers include China (about 3-5% of annual imports) and Romania (2-4%). Remaining imports are supplied by other European countries, India, the Dominican Republic, and Chile. Canada is the primary source of U.S. imports of food-grade hemp seed and oilcake, with supplies also from China and Europe. China and some European countries are major suppliers of raw and processed hemp fiber and yarn.

"Three forms of seed are imported:13 (1) dehulled seed, often referred to as hemp hearts, hulled seeds, or hemp nut, used in a range of food products; (2) nonviable whole seed, rendered nonviable through a sterilization process, usually through temperature exposure; and (3) viable whole seed, capable of germination under suitable conditions. Most hemp seed cultivars originate in Europe (France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, and Romania), Russia, Ukraine, and China."


Johnson, Renée. Hemp As An Agricultural Commodity. Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, June 28, 2018.