Mexican imports of cucumbers and squash cost U.S. growers dearly, trade agency says

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The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) said imports of cucumbers and squash from Mexico are reducing sales by domestic producers, with revenue losses totaling about $ 95 million from 2015 to 2020.

From 2008 to 2020, Mexico’s cucumber exports grew 23.6% and Mexican squash exports by 31.6%, with the majority going to the United States, the USITC said. At the same time, import prices for cucumbers and squash were often lower than those for cucumbers and squash grown in the United States at the point of shipment.

“The hypothetical removal of above-average increases in imports from 2008 to 2020 would have had positive effects on US production, revenues and operating revenues from 2015 to 2020,” the USITC said in its survey released on Friday.

In such a scenario, lower import volumes of cucumbers and squash would have resulted in higher import prices and a shift towards consumption of domestic varieties, the investigation concluded.

The findings of the investigation have been forwarded to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which may decide whether or not to impose tariffs on cucumbers and squash imported from Mexico.

The United States is the world’s largest importer of cucumbers and squash, with 994,741 metric tonnes in 2020 and 493,832 metric tonnes of total imports in 2020, respectively. The majority of cucumbers and squash imported from the United States come from Mexico, followed by Canada.

The USITC initiated the imported cucumbers and squash investigation in December 2020 at the request of then-US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who had received complaints that US growers were undercut by imports from Mexico.

“Because Florida’s fruit and vegetable industry shares the same growing season as Mexico, our growers have faced the crippling impacts of increasing volume and dragging prices down. We need quick relief if our country is to continue to feed Americans with domestically grown fruits and vegetables through the fall, winter and spring months, ”said Mike Joyner, President of Florida Fruit. and Vegetable Association, at a USITC hearing on the effect of imported cucumber. and squash in April 2020.

The largest US cucumber producing states by volume are Michigan, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and California. The main gourd producing states are California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Michigan.

Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas, told the USITC at the same hearing that American producers “reflexively blamed Mexican imports for all their woes, saying it’s unfair, unfair, unfair. In fact, many of the problems encountered by these producers have nothing to do with Mexican imports, but everything to do with the inability of American producers to supply the domestic market.

Most cucumbers and squash originate from the Mexican states of Sonora and Sinaloa and are exported to the United States through the ports of entry in Nogales, Arizona, and Laredo, Texas.

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