Two Decades of NAFTA has Huge Impact on Produce, Trucking

Two Decades of NAFTA has Huge Impact on Produce, Trucking

DSCN4483The first 20 years of NAFTA has had a big time impact on the fresh produce industry, and produce trucking.

Americans are now consuming twice the fruit and three times the vegetables from Mexico and Canada as they did before 1994, and it takes refrigerated equipment to deliver it to markets.

Likewise, U.S. growers and shippers more than tripled the amount of produce they export to Mexico during the first 19 years of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Part of the increase in Mexico’s produce imports from the U.S. is attributed to the rapid expansion of Mexico’s supermarkets.   As of November 2014, H-E-B had 43 stores in five Mexican states, and Wal-Mart had 2,114 stores in Mexico.

The U.S. is now importing more cucumbers and mushrooms from Canada than it exports.  Before NAFTA, the U.S. was a net exporter of those commodities to Canada.

“In 2011, Mexico and Canada combined supplied about 13 percent of the fresh or frozen fruit available in the U.S. and 17 percent of the available fresh or frozen vegetables.  In 1990, these shares each equaled 6 percent,” according to the USDA’s report.

Details on specific U.S. production and import/export of specific commodities are included in the report.  There are also discussions about retaliatory tariffs related to cross-border trucking requirements.