U.S. FRUIT AND VEGETABLE
- This is a brief overview of the U.S. fruit
and vegetable import situation in 1998.
- The fresh fruit category accounts for
about 20 percent of all U.S. horticultural product
imports, while the fresh vegetable classification
accounts for about 15 percent.
- Although the United States has maintained
a positive balance on fresh fruit trade, fresh vegetable
trade is in deficit.
- Imports of fruits and vegetables reached
record levels in CY 1998. Exports of fruits decreased 12
percent, while shipments of fresh vegetables remain
LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES SUPPLY MOST
OF THE U.S. IMPORT MARKET FOR FRUITS
- U.S. imports of fresh fruits reached a
record $2.7 billion in CY 1998.
- Fruits from Western Hemisphere countries
continue to supply most of the U.S. import demand for
- Trade agreements, such as the Caribbean
Basin Initiative, have improved overall U.S. fruit trade
with Latin American countries.
- Moreover, the fruit industries in many
Latin American countries have continued to expand and
have become far more organized and accustomed to U.S.
regulations and market requirements.
TROPICAL FRUITS ACCOUNT FOR MORE
THAN 50 PERCENT OF TOTAL U.S. FRUIT IMPORTS
- Tropical fruits, such as bananas, mangoes,
pineapples, and plantains account for the bulk of U.S.
fruit import demand.
- Bananas are by far the leading fruit
imported. U.S. banana imports were valued at $1.1 billion
in CY 1998, more than 40 percent of the total value of
- Ecuador (about 30 percent), Costa Rica
(about 30 percent), and Guatemala (15 percent) supply
most of U.S. banana imports.
- Besides bananas, grapes ($438 million) and
mangoes ($132 million) continue to be the other major
- Chile is the major supplier of fresh
grapes, while Mexico is the largest supplier of mangoes.
MEXICO DOMINATES THE U.S. VEGETABLE IMPORT MARKET
- U.S. fresh vegetable imports reached a
record $2.1 billion in CY 1998, almost 30 percent more
than imports in CY 1997.
- Mexico, at $1.5 billion, continues to be,
by far, the dominant supplier of U.S. vegetable import
- Other important suppliers include Canada
and the Netherlands.
TOMATOES LEAD U.S. VEGETABLE IMPORTS
- U.S. fresh tomato imports were valued at
$758 million in CY 1998, up 17 percent from CY 1997,
because of higher Mexican and Canadian sales.
- Mexico, at $567 million (up 10 percent)
and Canada, at $100 million (up 70 percent) supplied
close to 90 percent of U.S. tomato import demand in 1998.
- Besides tomatoes, U.S. vegetable imports
consisted mostly of peppers ($356 million, up 39
percent), cucumbers ($159 million, up 56 percent), and
onions ($150 million, up 18 percent).
U.S. TRADE BALANCE IN FRESH FRUITS CONTINUES POSITIVE
- U.S. fresh fruit exports reached $1.8
billion in CY 1998, 12 percent below shipments in CY
1997. A stronger U.S. dollar vis-a-vis other
countries currencies and the economic problems
faced by countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia, and
Latin America and the associated disturbance in world
currency values hampered overall U.S. fruit exports in
- Oranges, apples, and table grapes
comprised half of U.S. fresh fruit exports.
- Excluding trade on noncompetitive items,
such as bananas, the United States has maintained a
surplus on fruit trade. However, this surplus eroded in
CY 1998, decreasing to $250 million.
- U.S. fresh fruit imports also continue to
U.S. TRADE BALANCE IN FRESH VEGETABLES CONTINUES NEGATIVE
- Contrary to trade in fresh fruits, the
United States has maintained a deficit on fresh vegetable
trade, which in CY 1998 increased sharply to more than $1
- U.S. fresh vegetable exports reached $1.1
billion in CY 1998, unchanged from CY 1997.
- Lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and broccoli
are the major exported items, accounting for about 45
percent of total U.S. fresh vegetable exports.
- U.S. fresh vegetable imports increased
sharply in CY 1998 to a record $2.1 billion.
For more information, you
may contact the author, Sam Rosa, on (202) 720-6086.
Last modified: Thursday, April 06, 2000