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The USITC published its report on the effect of imports on the US seasonal pumpkin market

Mexican pumpkin is competitive without subsidies

Last week, the US International Trade Commission (USITC) released its report on the effect of imports on the US seasonal pumpkin market. The report was commissioned by the United States Trade Representation on December 7, 2020, to assess whether pumpkin imports to the United States represent a serious threat or danger to the US pumpkin industry.

As requested, the USITC evaluated the effect of imports on the domestic seasonal pumpkin market, with a particular focus on the production and competitiveness of pumpkin grown in the southeastern US. One of the conclusions of the report is that Mexico is competitive in the production and export of pumpkin without currently allocating subsidies for it.

97% of all US pumpkin imports in 2020, which were worth $473 million, came from Mexico. According to the USITC analysis, Mexican yields were nearly 25% higher than US domestic yields and 67% higher than yields in the southeastern United States.

"This happens because Mexican growers tend to harvest more frequently, have lower pest pressures, and face fewer weather issues as they grow their pumpkin in a semi-arid climate," the Commission said. Yield-enhancing production practices are also quite common among zucchini and yellow pumpkin growers in Mexico, including the use of trellises and shade structures.

In contrast, US growers face increased weather risks (for example, excessive rainfall) and pest pressures that contribute to reduced yields.

Most of the production in the United States is usually carried out in the ground without using trellises, so producers do not benefit from the yield gains from vertical growing practices. In addition, US growers tend to harvest less frequently than Mexican producers.

"The US has lower productivity because of these weather risks, pest pressures, and different growing practices. US productivity stands at 18.1 tons per hectare nationwide and 13.5 tons per hectare in the Southeast," they added.

The Association of Fresh Products of the Americas highlighted that the growth of Mexican agriculture, including pumpkin, has been financed mainly with private investments, not with subsidies from the Mexican government.

Any previous subsidies from the Mexican government for protected pumpkin agriculture were declared non-distorting ("green box") and have been discontinued.

To read the full USITC report click here.



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