According to the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, Mexico was responsible for 77% of US fresh fruit import volume and Canada for 11%. The Us Import Data report showed that the United States experienced a nearly 200 percent increase in fresh produce imports over the past 20 years, mainly from Mexico and Canada. Fresh produce imports outstripped exports by $7.6 Billion, nearly double what it was a decade ago.
A combination of US census data and export data from the US has revealed that Canadian and Mexican producers have outperformed the US import market. They offer organic and protected culture (or greenhouse) options and more options for American consumers. Although conventional, field-grown fresh produce remains America’s most important import source, organic and other green products have a growing market share.
The 2019 Census of Horticulture data shows that the US has seen a 508 percent increase in greenhouse pepper production since 2009. It grew from 2million to 11million pounds over a decade. The imports of bell peppers increased by 141 per cent from 366 millions to 881 million pounds in 2019, while the imports of cucumbers increased 175 percent to 38million compared to 141million. Despite the gains in US greenhouse production, imports still dominate the market.
Import competition has been a major problem for US warm-season fresh-season produce farmers for many years. USDA and ERS published studies that showed the extent of competition between Mexico, Florida, and the winter fresh produce market.
Also, the study found that fresh produce import volumes increase annually due to trade agreements. The United States-Mexico Canada Agreement allows fresh market produce to freely move within North American markets. This agreement was previously called the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Other trade agreements such as the US/Peru Free Trade Agreement or the Dominican Republic/Central America/United States Free Trade Agreement have also helped to increase fresh produce supply. This has resulted in a rise in bilateral trade with America and made Peru and Guatemala the top two fresh produce importers.
The USDA Economic Research Service study is focused on specific fresh produce markets. However, the authors state that import competition is a problem in the US fresh fruit industry. The factors contributing to an annual increase in fresh produce import volumes are market window creep, liberalized trade arrangements and relatively low foreign currency rates. As a percentage of total supply, fresh produce imports are expected to continue to be driven by long-standing trends.
The US trade deficit is shrinking sharply due to record exports
Tuesday’s Commerce Department report revealed that imports reached an all-time high. This was in addition a tightening labor marketplace, strong consumer spending, services and manufacturing activity. These factors indicate that the year will see growth accelerate.
As 2021 draws near, the trade deficit shrinks quickly and injects more fuel into our economy’s engine. This will result in stronger growth. Another indicator of strength and resilience is the brightening trade picture.
The USDA Economic Research Service study focuses on specific fresh fruit markets. Long-standing trends are expected to continue driving fresh produce imports as a percentage.