Posts Tagged “North American Free Trade Agreement”
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.
While a good portion of the trucking industry opposesd NAFTA, particularly as it relates to the safety of Mexican trucking operations, as well concerns over rates being adversely affected, this information relates to the year around produce availability under NAFTA.
It wasn’t that many years ago when you would walk through the produce section of your supermarket you’d never have seen items like fresh raspberries or green beans in the dead of winter.
This time of year Mexican grown accounts for a lot of fresh produce eaten by Americans, and it’s the result of the North American Free Trade Agreement — NAFTA — which took effect 20 years ago last month.
In the years since, NAFTA radically changed the way we get our fruits and vegetables. For starters, the volume of produce from Mexico to the U.S. has tripled since 1994.
One reason for this growth is NAFTA eliminated tariffs on items such as cantaloupes, which used to have a 35 percent tax on them when they crossed the border. No tariffs meant lower prices.
Another reason is NAFTA encouraged investment. This mean U.S. companies linvesting hundreds of millions of dollars in Mexican farms. That has helped create year-round supply and demand for U.S. and Canadian customers.
For example 20 years ago, you did not have 365-day distribution of tomatoes from Mexico to the United States. Now you’ll find Mexican tomatoes in U.S. supermarkets every single day of the year.
A big emphasis has emerged in recent years on locally grown fruits and vegetables. Many retailers are buying locally grown as often as they can. The claim is locally grown has been been shipped long distances, or has been bred to produce product that has a longer shelf life, with less taste.
However, the produce industry has made great strides in packaging and shipping more flavorful fruits and vegetables from Mexico.