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The US imports 60 percent of the fresh fruit and 40 percent of the fresh vegetables available to US residents. Mexico is the leading supplier of fresh fruit and vegetable imports.
The import share of US fresh fruits and vegetables has been rising
Mexico. Mexico provided 64 percent of US vegetable imports and 46 percent of US fruit and nut imports in 2021. Mexico is the leading supplier of imported tomatoes, avocados, raspberries, bell peppers, and strawberries, many of which are produced under protected culture structures in greenhouses and plastic-covered tunnels rather than in open fields. Almost all Mexican horticultural exports, including 90 percent of Mexican fruit exports and 95 percent of vegetable exports, go to the US.
Mexico is the major foreign supplier of US fresh fruits and vegetables
There are several reasons for the upsurge in Mexican exports of horticultural commodities to the US, including free trade agreements such as NAFTA-USMCA and an improving infrastructure that can truck Mexican produce to the US quickly using the same highways that are used to transport goods made in Mexico, including autos and auto parts. Mexico’s farm labor costs are 10 to 20 percent of US farm labor costs, and Mexican farms that export fresh produce to the US have latecomer advantages, including producing fruits and vegetables under protective structures.
The real value of Mexican hort exports to the US quadrupled from less than $4 billion to almost $18 billion between 2000 and 2021