The US increases its dependence on imported fruits and vegetables

The United States has increased its dependence on external fruits and vegetables in the last decade, especially of avocados, asparagus, and pumpkins, among other products, according to data from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

From 2007 to 2016, imports of asparagus compared to the total supply of the US market went from 78 to 96%, while the percentage for avocados, in this same ratio, increased from 65 to 86 percent.
One of the comparative disadvantages that the United States has in the production of these agricultural products is its climate, as it has limited production areas, which are concentrated mainly in California and Florida, and practically no tropical zones.

Cucumber imports, compared to the total supply of the US market, climbed from 52 to 74%, while peppers increased from 48 to 60%; tomatoes went from 41 to 57%, and blueberry imports went from 44 to 57 percent.

Total imports of fresh fruits accounted for 32% of all the supplies of this segment in the United States in 2007, excluding bananas, and increased to 38% in 2016.

In turn, imports of fresh vegetables accounted for 20% of all US supplies in 2007, and increased to 31% in 2016.

According to an analysis made when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) entere into force, this sector presented asymmetries for Mexico against the United States so, therefore, it would be dismantled and present imbalances.

However, there has been a heterogeneous advance. Vegetable and fruit crops have boomed and their exports have increased. Meanwhile, Mexico's production of basic grains and oilseeds continues to be deficient, as it has large underdeveloped agricultural areas.

Despite this, the agricultural trade balance went from negative balances between 1996 to 2014 to surpluses since 2015, even though this is also because Mexico had better harvests and more favorable weather conditions than in previous years.

Between January and August of 2017, Mexico achieved a positive balance of 2,644.2 million dollars, with an export total of 10,646.1 million dollars.

Under NAFTA, US agricultural and food exports to Canada and Mexico grew by 450 percent. In 2015, the United States had a 65% market share in agricultural products in the NAFTA region and, in 2016, it exported nearly $43 billion dollars in food and agricultural products to Canada and Mexico, making both partners the major consumers of American agricultural exports.


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