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U.S. Horticultural Trade with Members of the Proposed U.S./Central America Free Trade Agreement
Trade in horticultural products has become increasingly important between the United States and the Central American region. In FY 2001, horticultural products accounted for about 13 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports to the region. This figure compares with 10 percent in FY 1995. On the other hand, about 30 percent of all U.S. agricultural imports from the region were horticultural products in FY 2001. On January 16, 2002, President Bush announced that the United States would explore a free trade agreement with the countries of Central America, to enhance our economic relations in the region and advance free trade around the world.
U.S. imports of horticultural products from Costa Rica, Guatemala, El
Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua have almost doubled in the last 7 fiscal
years, excluding bananas. Likewise,
U.S. exports have increased. In
FY 2001, U.S. shipments of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables to
these countries were valued at $175 million.
imports of horticultural products from the proposed members were valued at
$597 million, excluding banana trade. It
is clear that the United States runs a horticultural trade deficit with the
5 proposed members of a U.S./Central America Free Trade Agreement.
This deficit reached a record $421 million in FY 2001.
Guatemala is the major export market among the proposed members. In FY 2001, total U.S. exports of horticultural products to Guatemala were valued at $45 million. On the other hand, Costa Rica is the main supplier of horticultural products to the United States, supplying $340 million in FY 2001, excluding bananas.
On average, processed horticultural
products account for about one third of total U.S. exports to Central
America (excluding Panama and Belize). The
value of processed fruits and vegetables exported to the region reached
nearly $80 million in FY 2001. Frozen
potato fries are the main processed vegetable exported.
Orange juice is the major processed fruit product shipped to Central
America. Apples are the main
fresh fruit exported.
The bulk of U.S. imports of horticultural products from Central America are composed of fresh fruits and vegetables, excluding bananas. The total value of U.S. imports of fresh horticultural products from the region reached $360 million in FY 2001. Some major fresh horticultural products imported included fresh melons ($135 million) and fresh pineapples ($131 million). Costa Rica is the major supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables from the region.